Mother’s Day: A Celebration of Every Identity

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Mother's Day

Mother’s Day can be bittersweet. Growing up in suburbia in the 1980s and ’90s, my friends mostly had two parents, so celebrating Mother’s Day wasn’t an issue. Today, however, I am keenly aware of how oversimplified the idea of Mother’s Day is. Some mothers are nontraditional. Some women who struggle with infertility find being a biological mother an impossibility. Some women who gave their eggs to bring a life into this world aren’t really mothers. Some women caretake animals but not people. Some people female identify but struggle with the idea of motherhood because biology made an unfortunate decision.

What I’m trying to get at is that mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and caretaking positions.

With this in mind, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate you. Yes, you. If you female identify and identify with any of the following requirements? I celebrate you today because you are a mother.

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worried about the health of another living being for whom you are responsible?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever had to nurture another living being for whom you are responsible into becoming the best version of themselves?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever felt the spark of life within you, even if that spark went out before its time?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve been in the position to put the welfare of another being for whom you are responsible ahead of yourself?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever taught a living being for whom you are responsible to be better than yourself to make the world a better place?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever given birth but were not capable of being responsible for that child so you did what you thought would be in the child’s best interests?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever wiped away the tears of a living being for whom you are responsible to calm them because of the way others treated them?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever had to provide a consequence to a living being for whom you are responsible despite the fact that watching their reaction to the consequence made you want to cry?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you were born biologically identifiably male but identify as female or gender non-binary and have a living being for whom you are responsible?

Happy Mother’s Day.

If you’ve ever done anything, basically, to promote the well-being of a living being for whom you are responsible and done it because it was best for them not you?

Happy Mother’s Day

Being a mother isn’t biological. Being a mother isn’t about giving birth. Being a mother isn’t as simple as having someone live in your home.

Being a mom is complicated. It’s messy. It’s contradictory. It’s caring about a living being–who may be human or not–and thinking about their well-being ahead of your own.

If you want to define being a mom as giving birth to a human child who lives in your house? Go forth!

If you want to define being a mom as taking care of a pet? Sure!

If you want to define being a mom as having gotten pregnant but having had a miscarriage? PLEASE DO!

If you want to define being a mom as adopting a baby? Why yes, go ahead!

If you want to define being a mom as having given birth, even if you had to give that baby up for adoption? No worries!

To narrowly define motherhood is to oversimplify the complex ways in which we all enact our parenting identities. Pretending that motherhood means that a human has breasts that fed and a womb in which a baby grew ignores the multitudes of ways we mother.

Assuming that being a biological egg donor to creating life makes someone a mother ignores the way in which some of those people neglect the emotional parts of motherhood.

A mother, mom, mama, mommy, madre, or whatever word you choose comes in as many forms as there are people identifying as such. Today is a day where should celebrate all the ways that people can enact their female gendered or non-binary parenting selves.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful people out there doing your parenting thing. We salute you and celebrate you today!

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