According to the National Retail Foundation, each year, consumers spend more than $20 billion on Mother’s Day. While that figure is staggering, it probably isn’t that surprising when you consider all the commercialization and promotion (just think of all the brunch planning, alone!) that surrounds the day. And if you’re someone who is struggling to become a mother, you are undoubtedly painfully aware of everything that’s associated with this one tiny day on the calendar. It can be very tempting to connect your value with this day; to think you only matter if you’re a mother. However, do you know how this whole celebration began, with what intentions, and by whom? The answers to these questions could be just enough to make you reconsider the day, and (hopefully) its effect on you.
The Mothers of Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day was made an official national holiday in 1908 by President Woodrow Wilson, due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis — an unmarried, childless woman. However, its origins date back to 1858 and Anna’s mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis. Having lost nine children herself, Ann Reeves Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to improve unsanitary conditions and the infant mortality rate in her area of West Virginia. In 1868, she also coordinated “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” a post-Civil War event that brought together veterans from the North and South to work toward reconciliation. Then, in 1870, abolitionist and early feminist Julia Ward Howe took up the cause to create “Mothers’ Peace Day.” Believing that war is preventable, she declared that mothers have a “sacred right” to protect the lives of their boys.
So this — community service, better health care, and peace — is what was originally at the heart of these early Mothers’ Days, without even a mention of brunch reservations. These are the ideas that Mother’s Day founder, Anna Jarvis, had in mind when (thinking of her own mother’s efforts) she suggested that the second Sunday in May, every year, be devoted to a simple acknowledgment of one’s own mother. This intimate focus is the reason the holiday is called “Mother’s Day,” with a singular possessive apostrophe. And it's the reason why Anna Jarvis spent most of her remaining days fighting against the rampant communalization and exploitation of the very holiday she had originally championed.
A Multitude of Motherhoods
We’re not saying we have anything against Mother’s Day, or the mothers (especially our own) it celebrates. We just believe that this little exploration of the day’s origins provides a good lesson for us all: not everything is as it seems, or as it was intended. It’s a notion we can apply to the idea of motherhood itself. It’s easy to think of motherhood in terms of a single scenario: a woman falls in love with a man, magically gets pregnant, a baby is born, and then she raises that baby to adulthood. Of course, we all know that’s only one possible definition of what it means to be a mother.
Today, we invite you to think about all the other situations in which someone becomes a mother. Many people choose to have a child independently. Some will raise their child with a partner of the same sex. Some will adopt a child. Others will “gain” a child once they marry and become that child’s stepmother. And it’s not hard to think of the women in our lives who — with zero biological or legal ties to us — have offered love and guidance equal to, or maybe even better than, that of our own mothers. Of course, there are also those whom Donor Egg Bank USA™ perhaps knows the best: people who have decided to use frozen donor egg to bring a child into their lives, so that they too can become a mother.
With all of these definitions of mothers before us, we have to ask, “Which one of these people deserves to be a mother more than everyone else? Which of these mothers is more valuable than the others? Which of these individuals loves their child more?”
The answers are easy.
First, everyone who wants to be a parent deserves the opportunity to do so. In fact, that tenet is at the cornerstone of what we do at Donor Egg Bank USA, helping people to create and grow their families, with quality frozen donor eggs, and dedicated support...just like you deserve and just like a mother would provide.
Finally, every person who is or has acted as a mother should be celebrated for all they do. Because a mother’s love is a mother’s love, regardless of how you arrive at the job of being a mom. And that love is a wonderful gift to both give and receive.
Ready to learn more about motherhood, the Donor Egg Bank USA way? Just visit us at www.donoreggbankusa.com, or call 240-778-6210 for more information.