Mother's Bill of Rights: Visibility
The Mother's Bill of Rights is a reclaiming of the rights that the current culture of sacrificial motherhood would strip from us. It is a commitment to ourselves and to our families that we will not diminish ourselves or them by placing these parts of us on the altar of motherhood. We will be whole human beings. This is the gift we give to ourselves, our children, and our world.
ARTICLE TEN: VISIBILITY
We don't see mothers, not really. We see the archetypes, we see the Facebook and Instagram feeds, we see the presentations of mothers. We make assumptions based on a few pictures or a few minutes in line at the grocery store. We judge mothers so harshly that it is scary for a mother to step out bravely into the truth of their motherhood journey and be seen. Visibility is a vulnerability, yes, but there is also power in it.
I see you, mama.
You have not faded away. You are not missing.
I see you.
On the days when you don’t remember who you are, I see you.
When you cannot get a moment to yourself, I see you.
When you are touched out and closed in, I see you.
When you don’t know what you need, you only know you need it desperately, I see you.
When you cannot believe that anyone is listening, I hear you.
When your boundaries have been crossed again, I see you.
When you don’t know how to reclaim your name, I will say it to you.
When you feel your dreams are out of reach I will light your path.
When you’re scared to be honest about your desires I will hold your hand.
Mothers have immense power. We can change the world. But first, we have to truly see ourselves and each other. We must each step out of the shadows and into the fullness of our selves.
We don’t have to agree to see.
We don’t have to understand to see.
We don’t have to like each other; this isn’t about us all being the best of friends.
I see you. I see your humanity. I see your wholeness. I see you as a mother and I see you as a person.
My commitment to all mothers is to stand with you and to fight with you so that each of us can lay claim to these rights.
We have been invisible for far too long – the work we do, the ways we are marginalized, our suffering, our hopes, our needs – we must become visible.
It is through visibility that we reclaim our power.
It’s time to act. It’s time to raise your hand and step forward and say, “I will no longer sacrifice my personhood on the altar of motherhood”. It’s time to be seen.
Every time we tell the truth about our journeys of motherhood, we make room for another mother to do the same. Every time we say what we need or we claim what we want, every time we set a boundary or insist upon respect, every time we refuse to introduce ourselves only as “__________’s mom” we show another mother what is possible.
And there is even more to visibility.
When you see another mother stepping forward, cheer them on. Let them know that they are seen and heard, accepted and respected for who they are. Remember that another mother’s truth is neither a judgment nor an attack on your life.
There is room for all of our truths.
We can all be seen.