My Mother's Day Wish

We could all use a little bit more funny in our lives around this time of year. Any time of year, really.

 I’m not very good at the funny, though. So go and watch Nikol Hasler’s very funny video with advice for what to get your mother for Mother’s Day. When you’re done, come on back over here for the enlightening and thought-provoking but perhaps not as funny.

You back?


Now let’s get to my thing, OK?

Here’s a little interesting factoid relating to Mother’s Day: every human being that was ever born and every human being that ever will be born came from a woman’s uterus. That will remain true until they create Baby-in-a-Can or Robo-Baby. Which, you know, they should have done by know. But then again we were supposed to have flying cars by now and look how that’s worked out.

Having a mother is way more universal than being a mother.

Think about it: there a lot of ways to become a mother, not all of which involve growing a human in your uterus. Many women who have been mothers never did gestate that child. Some women who have gestated a child are not mothers. Many women who have uteri are not mothers, don’t want to be mothers.

But every single one of us has or had a mother of some kind.

That’s probably why celebrations of mother-goddesses date back to — oh —- the beginning of civilization? Ever since religion was invented, we human beings have recognized the awesome power of our females to propagate the species, seemingly by magic.

It is thanks to mothers that we have a species to call our own! Without the willingness of a critical mass of mothers to carry babies, birth them, and ensure their survival up to reproduction age we would have no species! And it would be some Pteranadon with opposable thumbs writing this post.  

Even nowadays when every tiny detail of the gametes’ personal lives are understood and probably broadcast all over Facebook, how they actually come together to create a brand new human being is still magical. And what’s even more magical is that women (some of them anyway) sign up for this tour of duty by choice! More than once!

Obviously there’s a lot more to being a mother than the biology. There are plenty of women raising children out there who had very little do with their biological beginnings. This whole raising a child, thing? That’s the really hard part. Anyone who has had a child, or cared for a child, or sat next to a child in a restaurant knows that there are times when you just want to throw them out the window. Or trade them in for a quieter model.

Of course there are tragic cases of mothers who do throw their children out windows, or worse. But the majority of people grow up without having been tossed out on their heads, even when we deserved it. For that, we have our mothers to thank. (Our fathers, too, but they get their own day next month. Oh and other care-givers, too, and I think they should get a Day. Why don’t they?)

Here’s something you might not have known:

Our modern American incarnation of Mother’s Day started out as a pacifist proclamation against the Civil War. You know Julia Ward Howe, the one who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic? She also wrote a hymn called Mother’s Day Proclamation (1870) calling for peace and civility. Here’s a little tidbit:

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs

The person who was responsible for having Mother’s Day declared an official American holiday was never a mother herself — Anna Jarvis. She was, however, the child of a Civil War activist and a bit of a socialist rabble-rouser herself. After working for years to get Mother’s Day declared an official holiday, she spent the last half of of her life pissed off because it had become commercialized.

A juicy quote from Anna Jarvis:

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write
to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And
candy! You take a box to Mother–and then eat most of it yourself. A
pretty sentiment.

So here’s my wish for Mother’s Day:

I wish our sons (and daughters) would take to heart what we teach them of mercy and compassion, bringing an end to war and man-made suffering.

I wish we had more respect for our Mother Earth than we do for the profit margin.

I wish mothers would quit judging each other and look to learn from each other instead.

I wish every baby ever born was a wanted baby and that no woman would ever have to become a mother by force or accident.

I wish every mother had adequate respect, support, and resources so that they would not be so damaged by their lives that they turn on their own children.

I wish our corporate culture in America valued the participation of women, so that women with children wouldn’t constantly feel that they are failing someone.

I wish mainstream the mainstream media would be more truthful about pregnancy and childbirth. Do not believe ANYTHING you see on TV or in the movies about childbirth. Those scenes are all written by men.

So that’s all I want for Mother’s Day.

That, and one of those Pandora Charm bracelets.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask, do you?

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  • I have to introduce you to my favorite sci-fi series... uterine replicators figure prominently, and there's a whole cross cultural analysis of different implications for that. Yes, I am a ginormous nerd. Happy Mother's Day, C!

  • A very educational post! Not like anything I've read today. Happy Mother's Day. Hope you get all your wishes.

    Oh, and uteri. I love that word.

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