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Dear Big Ocean Women,

Many of us understand Mother’s Day can be fraught with personal feelings of longing, loss, guilt or disappointment. For many, the word “mother” might seem disjointed from their real-life experiences and situations. Yet despite this challenge, our growing maternal feminist collective continues to use and promote the word “mother” to describe ALL women who work to uplift, love, nurture, and protect the rising generation.

Why do we do this? Because we know the small daily acts of kindness, done with a bright hope for a better future, endow us with a “mother-heart.” The unity and strength that is born of our maternal tenderness for human life (and all life) enables us to do a mighty work that covers the globe and spans generations. The word “mother” is more encompassing than we can imagine because it not only describes a biological role, but it clearly encompasses a relational role as well. In this sense, “mother” is a verb. It’s something we do and participate in daily as we work to create a more harmonious world. Whether we are biological mothers to our children, or our children have come to us through adoption, or we were pregnant only briefly due to miscarriage, we are mothers. Whether the children whom we nurture are our nieces, nephews, students, neighborhood kids, or even strangers, we are mothers. Every time we slow down our lives to behold the wonder and wholeness of the children around us, and we create room for them to grow and thrive, we are mothersWe are mothers as we nourish those around us with the milk of human kindness through our words, deeds, and demeanor. We mother those around us when we choose to stand for the things that are dear and precious to us, such as our faith, our family, and our very identities as mothers. When we embrace this broad and deep understanding of our maternal identity and allow it to grow within us, we demonstrate the highest order of respect and fill ourselves and the world around us with hope. We see the goodness within ourselves and then reflect our light back toward the world, so it can shine brightly too.

These maternal gifts are something to celebrate throughout the year, but especially on Mother’s Day. We need this day to validate one another’s diverse stories. It’s critical that as a broad and powerful female collective we take a moment to acknowledge our gifts and to rejoice in our mutual accomplishments. We need this designated day to reaffirm the mighty and difficult work in which we are all engaged, so we can continue bearing our banner and rallying more to the work.  As we take this day to look deeply at who we are, what we do, and why we do it, we are strengthened and can continue moving forward with confidence.

True, there are moments when we feel that failure has overtaken us, when our physical or emotional circumstance leaves us feeling empty, like hollow shells, without the will to continue. It’s times like these that the thought of celebrating mothers seems like yet another painful blow. But it’s also times like these that we must remember that the umbrella of “mother” is much broader than we think, and we are truly doing far better than we think! It’s in the darkness of the trenches that we can find comfort and solace in each other. Let this Mother’s Day be a day when we can begin putting away the loneliness and emptiness that come from shame, guilt, and competition, and replace those feelings with thoughts of hope, peace, and gratitude.

Let us celebrate each other on Mother’s Day. Let us take a day to observe and honor our collective goodness, our light, and our powerful identities as mothers. Not only will we increase in respect and solidarity, but we will become a stronger and more courageous sisterhood. This is critical as we move forward in an increasingly challenging world. We need this respite day to gear up for days to come where it will take every ounce of courage and every spark of light to fill the darkness. Let us remember the small yet powerful ways we have uniquely contributed within our homes and communities. Let us take this day to marvel at our expansiveness and depth. Let us humbly appreciate all the ways in which we have done heroic things in the name of our faith, our family and motherhood.

This Mother’s Day, we wish to share a bit of each woman’s story as a mother. Struggles and victories alike are needed. Our stories will help the world understand that mother is a verb. Please join us this month and share our Mother’s Day campaign, #HerStoryMatters and #MotherIsAVerb. Please share a photo and a story of a special woman in your life who has mothered and shaped the world for good. Hashtag #BigOceanWomen and #MaternalFeminism so we can keep growing the movement!

Thank you for all the good you do! We see you, and we honor you!

With love,