Christy Turlington: ‘Women [need] to see the sisterhood in motherhood’

CT1

Of all the ‘80s models, I can’t really say that Christy Turlington ever made my top-five favorites. Christy is beautiful, no doubt, but she really wasn’t “fun” or scandalous. In fact, she was so uncontroversial that she ended up using her good-girl image to create a new model archetype, one that’s being used these days by the likes of Karlie Kloss and some others. Just FYI: my favorite model from that era was easily Linda Evangelista. Linda was an enigma, she was fierce, she was a mess. She was amazing.

Anyway, in the years since the model mania of the ‘80s and ‘90s, I’ve grown to respect Christy more and more. She’s always done her own thing and followed her own path. She’s currently the founder and face of Every Mother Counts, an “organization dedicated to raising awareness about issues women face in pregnancy and childbirth.” Christy covers the new issue of Red to raise more awareness. Some highlights:

Why she founded Every Mother Counts: ‘I experienced complications myself after I delivered my daughter, Grace, and I guess my own experience of childbirth was the epiphany. What I realised was actually how lucky I had been, that so many women don’t even get to choose when they become pregnant. They don’t get to choose how many children they have. They don’t get to choose whether they will be medicated, or have a natural birth. This is just how it is, and it’s not an ideal way to bring life into the world, I don’t think.’

The mortality rates for women giving birth: ‘If I have a goal, it’s for as many people as possible to be aware that this is an everywoman issue. For example, it’s shocking, but the US is actually one of eight countries around the world where maternal death rates are on the rise. So this is not just a problem in the developing world.’

She’s going to run her fourth marathon this year: ‘I actually feel stronger and healthier than ever. Giving birth was probably the most empowering thing I’ve ever done physically. I was like, now I can do anything. I can run a marathon… I can run three marathons!’

Sisterhood: ‘I think the most important thing is for women to see the sisterhood in motherhood. Sisterhood in being women, actually. It’s really the capacity to give birth that unites us, more than the experience itself. It’s about being there for each other.’

[From Red]

I’ve read some interesting accounts and attempts to explain why maternal death rates are on the rise in a country like the USA. I have my own theories, like inadequate sexual education, the glamorization of teenage motherhood and the no-epidural and home-birthing movements. But I don’t have any science to back up my theories, so I’ll just shut up. I believe every woman should be able to control her reproductive destiny and that includes deciding what birth plan is right for her. The problem, as Christy points out, is that so many girls and women don’t have those choices.

So here’s my question: do you want more Turlington stories? She gives interviews often enough but I usually ignore them. Her heart’s in the right place, but most of the time the interviews are boring or like this, sort of sad and depressing (but informative). Do you want more Christy?

CT2

Photos courtesy of Red.

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181 Responses to “Christy Turlington: ‘Women [need] to see the sisterhood in motherhood’”

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  1. Kaley says:

    Um…but if you don’t have children or want them? NO SISTERHOOD FOR YOU.

    Not even really sure you’re a woman…

    Good lord. I mean good on her for taking up a cause but women are not united by their ability to give birth. We are more than that.

    • Kaya says:

      I picked up on that, too. But the rest of her stuff was admirable and very interesting. I think she chose her words incorrectly, and probably meant to say it’s not just how, where and when you gave birth, but the journey of motherhood itself. Instead of fighting mommy wars and comparing your bodies to other women after birth. So that’s good. More, please!

      • Kaley says:

        Totally. I believe she meant well but the wording is pretty awkward.

      • lower-case deb says:

        ITA, i think it’s just poor wording. going by the sentence “sisterhood in motherhood” i think she’s talking/asking stop mommywars. stay at home moms, working moms, all are mothers. maybe that’s what she meant.

        altough the word “ability to give birth” throws me a bit. what about step moms who could not give birth and raising the children of her spouse from previous marriage whom she love just the same, for instance.

        what about step/foster transmom who wouldn’t have the ability to give birth but are moms nonetheless. or perhaps siblings who for all intents and purposes are moms to their family members.

        but i suppose, going by her interview, she’s talking about mothers in a reproductive rights framework?

        i dunno. just this kind of talk, even a faux pas, can open up opportunities for discussion, especially on a forum as knowledgeable as Celebitchy. so i vote: yes more Christy, and not just for her NGO work, but other more gossipy stuff too.

      • Bridget says:

        So you guys didn’t notice when she said “sisterhood in all women, actually”?

      • Kitten says:

        She said “sisterhood in being women, the capacity to give birth, rather than the experience itself.”

        …and I’m childfree, but I totally understood what she meant, and I thought she was speaking on a strictly biological level. I’m surprised at how many people have hurt feelings over this, especially when her message seemed like a positive one.

        I like her a lot.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @Bridget, it would have been fine if she had stopped there but she further qualified and limited it with that bit about that capacity to give birth being the unifying factor. As someone who lost that capacity due to other women’s health issues, I don’t think she was being deliberately insensitive or exclusionary but she was being insensitive and exclusionary. We are socialized, even in the first world, to connect our worth as people to giving birth. As her point is that many women can’t choose when, how many children, she should be aware that there is another side to that and that women who cannot have or do not want to be mothers are worthy too AND that we too can care about maternal health issues.

      • Ash says:

        I don’t think Christy meant that you’re not part of the sisterhood if you don’t have or want children. Definitely awkward wording.

        I’ve always liked her.

    • maev says:

      also, what about trans-women? or if a woman can’t have their own (biological) children?

      i know, she means well, but the concept “It’s really the capacity to give birth that unites us” is misogynic.
      being a women does not mean “walking around with a functioning uterus”.

    • ncboudicca says:

      Every Mother Counts, but I guess I don’t because I never had kids… I know she’s trying to promote that organization and she means well, but that makes no sense.

      • Courtney says:

        She didn’t say “Only Mothers Count”, she said “Every Mother Counts” instead of “Only Rich Mothers Count”, “Only American Mothers Count”, “Only Older Mothers Count”. Sheesh, give the lady a break.

      • Nicole says:

        “Every woman counts. Every mother counts.”

        Would that solve it for you? I’m legit asking.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Thanks, everybody. That stung me a little – I care about babies and children and their well being even though I will never be a mother. But I agree, her heart’s in the right place, and it’s a good cause.

      This gave me déjà vu somewhat. Didn’t we have this story a while back, or some version of it? Not that I mind, just feel crazy.

      • Kiddo says:

        Meh, it’s a little too much about uteruses and reproduction, for me. I read this as everything that empowers her stems from having given birth, and I think that the potential for giving birth in her statement, was an attempt at recovery to sound more inclusive, but she told her full truth in the first place. I give her credit for helping others in need. I took her original statement as one where a world really doesn’t exist outside of mommy-dom. It’s fine that that’s where her focus is. She didn’t need to wedge everyone else in. Women are much more than vessels capable of reproduction, just as men are more than squirt bottles of sperm.

      • ncboudicca says:

        “squirt bottles of sperm”, LOL, sounds like something I should be able to buy on Amazon and have delivered for free with my Prime membership. :-)

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        True Kiddo. I was trying not to take it personally, so it’s nice to see that even someone without my issues sees it as too mommy-centric.

      • Bridget says:

        I can certainly understand why it would sting you GNAT. But how did no one notice that 1) she didn’t qualify with “sisterhood in being a bio mom” – motherhood could easily include being a foster mom or a step mom; amd 2) she immediately followed that up with “sisterhood in being women”?

      • Bridget says:

        Also, are you guys actually familiar with her charity? The focus is on things like very basic healthcare and sanitation for expectant mothers. It’s really amazing work and I’m a little disappointed that her focus is being deemed too mommy-ish :(

      • Kiddo says:

        But then that presupposes that being female=being maternal, by nature. How about just addressing the lapse of focus in women’s healthcare in general, instead of reducing women to “It’s really the capacity to give birth that unites us, more than the experience itself”. It’s like Paltrow saying what we have in common is that we have bodies.

        ETA: Bridget how you market something is an integral part of a narrative. One that she may not be adept at handling since her bias is more geared toward the empowerment of motherhood. If she wants only financial support from women who are mothers then she is doing a perfectly fine job of it.

      • Bridget says:

        @Kiddo: I think you’re giving an overly basic distillization of her message. She’s specifically focusing on one massive lapse in healthcare in the developing world. Are charities and messages not valid because they don’t particularly speak to you?

      • Kiddo says:

        Bridget, not distilling it. Her statements are the raw form. Now do I think you should avoid the charity because she sees women as mothers? No. Do I think she is viewing the charity from a limited prism of being a mother and that ‘s how she really sees all women? YES.

        Another example:
        “The mortality rates for women giving birth: ‘If I have a goal, it’s for as many people as possible to be aware that this is an everywoman issue.”

        Not every woman gives birth. But that aside, why isn’t this just a human issue? Only women = mothers. See, her narrative is consistent throughout. Should we care about other women? Yes we should.

      • Bridget says:

        Not every woman gives birth, but a large majority do and the charity is called “Every Mother Counts” for goodness sake. It’s fine if her message doesn’t speak to you, but it doesn’t necessarily make her a poor communicator. Do you also complain that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society doesn’t include other diseases because all cancer is bad?

      • Kiddo says:

        Bridget, my first comment, when Gnat’s feelings were hurt, was in agreement that the promotion of the charity was stilted toward mothers.

        If the leukemia foundation exclusively spoke only to people who had leukemia to understand and contribute in solidarity of having the disease, I would think it wouldn’t be the best, most effective, way to elicit funding. Notice my first comment began with ‘meh’. My feelings were not hurt. It doesn’t speak to me personally, but it hurt Gnat’s feelings, and I believe that she wasn’t IMAGINING the bias in the promotion, it WASN’T IN HER HEAD. You, frankly, seem more offended that anyone could view the narrative differently than how YOU see it. I’m just here to tell you that what GNAT felt was not some overreaction based on personal experience and that the celeb’s appeal WAS mostly driven toward women AS the equivalent to motherhood. Take it as you will. I’m done.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Thanks, Kiddo. It did help me, and I appreciate you taking the time to say what you did. I didn’t take it as you bashing the charity at all, just pointing out the lack of inclusiveness in the wording.

      • MinnFinn says:

        GNAT & Bridget – Concern for *humanity is what I’d like to believe motivates anyone to donate time or money to this cause. Her message doesn’t speak to me b/c it seems sexist. She only addresses XX women, omits men and she hopes to motivate women with emotionally loaded sound bites like “sisterhood in motherhood” and “capacity to give birth”.

      • ISO says:

        I just know so many self centered sh%t for brains “mothers” that I just can’t band wagon. I used to idealize until I met the tribe of indifference and neglect. IMO it’s “every caring human being counts”. This lady is an hopeful idealist who hasn’t spent time in my kind of neighborhood where I fed and did easter for over 12 kids whose “mothers” were absentee. I “get ” that her charity balances poverty injustice, but her t shirt sends the wrong general message and not all breeders are my soul sisters.

    • Bridget says:

      Out of all she says, that’s what you zone in on? Sheesh. Her focus is on maternal-fetal health around the globe, and it’s a wonderful charity. When you criticize her words like that I just looks like you’re searching for something to complain about.

      • GingerCrunch says:

        If that’s your sensitivity I guess you would pick up on it. But I was like, WHERE did she even implicate that?

      • Kiddo says:

        “I think the most important thing is for women to see the sisterhood in motherhood.”

        It may be a wonderful charity but her words harken back to the attitude that women = mothers. I was not searching for anything. It was the VERY FIRST thing that she said. Maybe she’s not the best spokesperson.

      • Bridget says:

        She’s an amazing spokesperson. You’re reading a synopsis of an interview – and it was Celebitchy who chose to make “Sisterhood in Motherhood” the pull quote.

        This is a charity who’s focus is on maternal health in the 3rd world. It’s focus is on very, very basic needs for women who could otherwise die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. This isn’t a “Mommy support” charity. It’s trying to fill incredibly basic needs – have you ever heard of the supply packs that they send? A pack containing gloves, a sterile barrier, string, soap, and a razor.

      • Kiddo says:

        Bridget, see above, I did not once disparage the charity. Her narrative about the cause is what is based on preconceived notions about women, at least to the extent of the quotes here. She is rallying up the mothers almost exclusively. How about reproductive rights, rights to healthcare, instead of boiling it down to body parts and traditional roles. That is what I’m saying.

      • Bridget says:

        @Kiddo: Sorry I’m being redundant here. Apparently this one just hit a nerve with me.

        It’s a small charity, with a fairly specific focus. You’re complaining that a group called “Every Mother Counts” has a message that is about Motherhood. Is her charity supposed to be all things to all women? Just because it doesn’t speak to you doesn’t mean that she’s a poor communicator, it just means that it’s not the cause for you.

      • **sighs** says:

        Kiddo- I think it’s more that, every woman, *potentially* may very well give birth. Not that they all have to or want to or won’t have issues, but *potentially* if you are born with female reproductive parts, you may one day give birth, and her focus is on basic needs for those mothers.
        I don’t understand why she can’t have a focus to her charity. Most charities have a focus. That way they can do more. Not all charities can encompass every human. I don’t think her message is disparaging unless you’re really looking for something to be offended by.
        Should we all be offended by the ice bucket challenge because it doesn’t focus on any and all neurological diseases? I understand we need more work towards basic healthcare and reproductive rights for all women, but that is not her particular focus. It doesn’t mean the charity isn’t doing good work.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Bridget, you make a lot of good points. I try not to let my personal disappointments color my viewpoint on things like this, but sometimes they just do. That’s probably my failing, not hers. I think every mother deserves good pre and post natal care, and her cause is a good one, as I said above. I wish she would acknowledge that everyone should care about these things, though, and not make it sound as though my failure to reproduce renders me incapable of caring about children and other women, or that I can’t share in sisterhood with other women because I didn’t have children. However, I agree with you that the good outweighs the awkward, perhaps insensitive wording, and one can’t think of every possible interpretation of their words every time they open their mouth. I hope I didn’t give the impression of writing off her good intentions just because they hurt my feelings a little. I admire her work and her cause.

      • Bridget says:

        @GNAT: you’ve been very forthright with your struggles and disappointments to start a family. And I can only imagine how hard that is for you. For many women, the topic of motherhood is one of incredible joy, and yet for another group it is one of unbelievable sadness and grief. After all, statistically 1 in every 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Grief is a part of motherhood for many, many women. And yet, I’m really struggling here because I feel like somehow along these parts in Celebitchy we’ve come to this expectation that not only do we want celebrities to say the right message, but we need them to say it the right way or else we pick them apart.

        Turlington’s charity serves women that are seemingly forgotten by the rest of the world. Women that are walking miles and miles to get to any prenatal care, women that have to bring their own very basic medical supplies to their own childbirth. This is someone who’s fighting the good fight. It may not be perfect and there’s room for improvement, but how about we focus on the good?

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @Bridget, her charity does speak to me but she does not.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @Bridget, yes, I see what you mean. I never intended to put down her charity itself, or her for caring about it. It very, very admirable and important. I do think that words are important, but as I said before, we all say things at times with the best of intentions that come out in ways that can be seen as insensitive to others. I certainly do, anyway. All we can do is try to reword our thoughts in a way that’s closer to our original intentions. But I hear you that the main focus should be on the good works of this worthy cause, and perhaps I should just suck it up sometimes. Lol

      • Bridget says:

        GNAT: I want to make it clear that I totally understand what you’re saying, and that its a pain that doesn’t just go away – the subject of motherhood hits a very raw nerve for you. I just think the forest is being lost through yhe trees here, you know?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, Bridget, I hear you.

      • Nicole says:

        The fact that a bunch of people have picked up on that means that it’s an issue. I’m a mother but I don’t feel like I should only be counted because of that. It seems like a good slogan, but it isn’t. They need to work it out.

      • Bridget says:

        @Nicole: this is pretty much what every thread turns into. People really, really like to pick apart every syllable.

      • MinnFinn says:

        Bridget, I think you are very wrong. I also had a strong negative visceral response to CT’s message.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        It’s becoming ridiculous how the wrongly understood “emancipation” or wait, may be it’s today’s “feminism” actually tries to argue with nature that indeed, a woman is a mother by natural ability. Simple biological fact. All diseases, defects or failures of the reproductive system are exceptions in nature, not the rule. All gender variations, transitions, etc. are exception not the rule. The simple biological rule is that: woman equals mother. By nature. By biology. But keep going. It explains why so many women these days, me included, choose to stay away from any “liberating” definitions and pseudo liberating movements.

      • Melly M says:

        So tell us, Mary-Alice, what these exceptions are then, for example someone with a defect of the reproductive system. According to you, they are no women (“woman equals mother”). Are they men? Nothing?
        Nature refuses to be abused for a theory like that!

      • Kiddo says:

        Biologically speaking: A woman is not a mother unless she gives birth. Nice that ‘DEFECTS’ is the way you choose to describe people who can’t have children and feel sensitive about it already. You must be a Hell of a sensitive mom.

        Plenty of female animals don’t give birth because: they may be eaten or killed before the age of maturity or ever have the opportunity to find a partner. They may not find a partner with semen that has adequate sperm numbers or motility. They may be homosexual with no inclination to seek opposite sex partners. But yeah, make this all science-y. I noticed down-thread that your panties were in a bunch because you wanted something special, a charity, all your own, just having your ONE thing. What’s that called in scientific terms? No one was putting down mothers, FFS. The point was about the way the message for the charity was being driven IN OUTREACH for funding, and that some felt it had an air of exclusivity. You sure cleared up that question.

      • Bridget says:

        @minnfinn: that’s totally your right.

        And “defect”? Seriously?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Wow, Mary-Alice, you can go straight to hell. I may have a “defect” but I am every bit as much of a woman as you are, and a much finer human being, as I have intelligence and compassion, two qualities you completely lack.

      • Bridget says:

        @GNAT: my comment keeps getting eating but I’ll try this again. For some reason I didn’t catch that you felt lile Christy’s words implied a lack of a depth of feeling on the part of women that haven’t had children. Or that anyone thinks that you’ve been rendered incapable of caring for children and pregnant women. That makes me genuinely sad that you feel like your feelings are considered inferior. Because obviously, they’re not inferior.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Thanks, Bridget. That means a lot to me. I never had the impression that you were putting me down or neglecting the emotional side of my comments at all. I just heard you saying, hey, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water – maybe her message wasn’t perfectly stated, but her cause is a worthy one. And you are absolutely right. So, please don’t feel that you missed anything or did anything insensitive. I thought you made good, strong arguments and did so in a respectful, civil manner.

      • Bridget says:

        Awww, thanks. I just feel like a total doof for completely missing your point, especially when it’s such a sensitive, personal one. This is a subject I’m really passionate about and it brings out the ridiculous part of me. And really, the most important part is that EVERYONE feel valued, because if they’re not what’s the whole point of this?

  2. magda says:

    Maybe she is a little bit boring, but she is trying to use her visibility in media for good causes. A lot of people want certain reality star to go away from spotlight – as a pop culture consumers we have this kind of leverage, we just must try invests our short span of attention in positive stories that fake butts.

    So, yeah, I vote more Christy stories.

    • amanda says:

      agreed!
      every click is a vote.
      i’ll click on stories of celebs who actually have something to say

      :)

  3. Willa says:

    Meh…

  4. Kara says:

    how about a sisterhood of women who change the world and dont give in to patriarchal pressure of becoming mothers?

    • Cel says:

      + 1000!

    • Sumodo1 says:

      …and this is why I vote NO.

    • Marie-France says:

      Yes to Kara and no to more Christy! I agree that we need to be here for each other but not just for reproduction issues. Motherhood isn´t for everybody. We should all be pro women, kids or not.

      Christy is gorgeous but lacks of charisma. Sorry.

    • Francesca says:

      Her work is specifically about mothers. She is trying to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers. She is working to reduce the mortality rates of mothers across the world. If you are not a mother, thenno, she is not targeting you. You also are not at risk of dying during childbirth. Exactly what is wrong or non inclusive about this?

    • JBC says:

      But this is so much broader than that and really it is so much of what she’s trying to say…
      “so many women don’t even get to choose when they become pregnant. They don’t get to choose how many children they have. They don’t get to choose whether they will be medicated, or have a natural birth.”

      Its not about first world/developed mothers having the choice, or judging them for choosing to not become mothers. Its about helping and empowering women who DO NOT have that choice.

      ETA: Yes, I’d like more Christy!

    • ihatecobblestones says:

      Reproduction issues really get me hot under the collar. I feel very strongly that there are so many woman pressured into having kids when they don’t even know if they actually want them or not. More young women and girls need to become aware that it’s okay not to have kids, just as it’s okay to have them (if you really want them).

      ETA: I am the poster formerly known as “Green Eyes” and “Boston Green Eyes.”

      • Kitten says:

        Hi Green Eyes-
        I hear you, but I think for most people to be fully invested in a charity, it has to mean something to them on a personal level. For Christy, motherhood was obviously a life-changing experience for her and got her thinking about the challenges that women who face giving birth without proper healthcare endure.

        It means something to her, she cares greatly about this cause, so this is what she choses to donate her time, money, and energy towards.

        From a personal standpoint, the charity that I donate regularly to, and raise funds for is a local cat shelter. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love dogs and all animals, I just chose the shelter because it’s a wonderful place, and because I have two kitties of my own.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @ihatecobblestones
        Off topic, but your name makes me laugh. I used to live in Old New Castle, Delaware, and at first I thought cobblestones were so charming. About the fourth time I nearly broke an ankle I started to feel the way you do.

      • Ash says:

        “Reproduction issues really get me hot under the collar. I feel very strongly that there are so many woman pressured into having kids when they don’t even know if they actually want them or not. More young women and girls need to become aware that it’s okay not to have kids, just as it’s okay to have them (if you really want them).”

        I couldn’t agree more. I think these cause a further divide between women, when that shouldn’t be the case.

    • **sighs** says:

      Why does becoming a mother have to be from patriarchal pressure? Why can’t it be because they want to? That should be the focus. Choice. Letting people know they have that choice. Not demeaning them as being under some mans thumb if they want a child. And at the same time relaying knowledge that it’s ok not to have children as well.
      This doesn’t have to be an either/or issue.

      • Kara says:

        “choice” is always mentioned when women do exactly what they should do in patriarchy. she wants to make a living with being naked? “choice”, all she cares about is her hubby and kids? “choice”, she wants to stay home instead of having a career? “choice” she wants to marry and take her husbands name after having her fathers name? “choice”

      • **sighs** says:

        Wow, Kara. So in your opinion, women should never give birth? Should never take care of offspring? Can only have certain jobs? Can never have relationships? Because at some point in history there was a patriarchy under which people have done these things?
        How do you explain lesbian couples that want to have children? How dare they! I guess we should let the entire population die out because FEMINISM!
        JFC.

    • serene says:

      How about a sisterhood of women in general, no matter what path they choose for themselfs? But IMO, Christy seems to be trying to empower women WITHOUT those choices.

    • Courtney says:

      “Patriarchal pressure”? I just don’t get it.

      I work to have money to buy things, even though I work for a not for profit, I am not deluded enough to think that I am “changing the world” or that I am not totally replaceable. A person is just as likely to change the world by staying home and having a family as they are in the corporate cubicle US workplace culture. Devoting your life to your career does NOT equal changing the world for what 99% of careers?

      I think the current focus on materialism and career as the defining personal quality is dangerous. Your employer does not care about you. The US economy may never fully recover (for workers, not Wall Street). Women still make less and have less opportunities than men, even if they never have children. Entire career fields are becoming obsolete or off-shored.

      By all means, keep being judgmental and condescending though!

    • serene says:

      I have to try again, sorry, since only part of my comment went through.

      How about a sisterhood of women in general, no matter what path they choose for themselfs? But IMO, Christy seems to be trying to empower women WITHOUT those choices. However, you can change the world AND be a mother, right? On your free will even;-) If we could stop that ‘exclusive thinking’, it would be a huge step towards a true sisterhood.

    • Ash says:

      “how about a sisterhood of women who change the world and dont give in to patriarchal pressure of becoming mothers?”

      I think this is a great idea. I’ve never had any interest in motherhood, but still see myself as part of the sisterhood. I’m still a woman, even without the husband and kids.

    • Mary-Alice says:

      How about respecting our, mothers’, right to actually celebrate the fact we are mothers and have our sisterhood? Or we are not allowed? I think we are. And we are entitled to have voices like Christie’s to speak for us and our issues. Everyone else can form their own sister, brotherhoods or any other hood as well. But we do have the right to have our own and we do not owe an explanation, even less an excuse, to those who for one reason or another are not part of the mothers’ sisterhood. And the issue with mother/baby mortality is huge. It absolutely deserves charitable effort.

      • Kitten says:

        Again, no offense, but I don’t see a ton of sisterhood in The Mommy Brigade. I see a lot of judgment, shaming, sanctimony, and divisiveness–seems incredibly counterproductive and not nearly as kumbaya as you make it sound here.

        I don’t think my mother or her mother went through that sort of thing, or maybe social media and interwebz simply made it easier for all you mothers to yell at each other, who knows?

        Anyway, none of it looks very fun to me, which is maybe why I’m perfectly happy that I can’t qualify as a member of Club Mom.

      • Kiddo says:

        Well, as far as charities are concerned, I would think dollars from the childless females, those ‘others’ with penises, and everything in between, would be the same shade of green as the dollars from the mothers only. Putting a more inclusive spin on pleas for help, that doesn’t turn some away, or make them feel ‘lesser than’, boxed in, or not included can only benefit what they are trying to accomplish. But what do I know?

      • Bridget says:

        Man, I think folks have misinterpreted Christy’s message, but Mary-Alice just flat out wants her own special club.

        @kitten: I’ve never really seen the whole Mommy Wars thing in real life. I know it exists, but I’ve been around a pretty awesome community of moms (I should also add, there’s a range: bio, adopted, step) and they’re some of the most supportive women I know. The kind of women that’ll meet you at 4am to run a ridiculous number of miles because its the only time you could make work and didn’t want to go by yourself; the kind that bring you dinner when your spouse is in the hospital. I should also add, there are a lot of awesome folks around that don’t have kids, I was just addressing the Mommy Wars component.

    • Emm says:

      +100000000 Seriously, the slogan is crap. ALL WOMEN count! And yes, CT’s point about the value of Mother’s lives is valid, but try making it without being a f+*&wit, and diminishing women who don’t have kids. Like GNAT very eloquently pointed out, some of us have not had the option/blessing of kids for a number of different reasons and are sick of society making us feel like lesser people because of factors beyond our control! And yes, pointing out that we still count when people are thoughtless and rude is perfectly allowed. Shame on anyone for trying to make someone without kids feel like their opinion doesn’t count when the conversation is about WOMEN!

  5. Sixer says:

    I suppose distrust in science might have something to do with rising US maternal death rates, Kaiser, but not contraception and/or glamorising of teen mums, surely? Those things might count for a rise in teen pregnancies or abortions, but not maternal mortality. That’s just a function of access to high quality medical care.

    Either way, maternal mortality is overwhelmingly not a first world problem. Even if it is rising in the US, it’s at 21 deaths per 100,000 births. That’s 133rd of 180-odd countries worldwide. The UK is 12 deaths per 100,000 births. Many African countries have rates of 600-1,000.

    I’m all for women sharing experience and knowledge of childbirth and childrearing in sisterhood, though.

    • Sofia says:

      Agree. The ‘theories’ presented are misinformed at best. Teenage mothers aren’t at any higher risk of complications, nor are epidural free, natural births.

      • greenieweenie says:

        but they are at risk, particularly if they’re economically disadvantaged, for poor access to proper health care which in itself can increase maternal/infant mortality rates

    • Eme says:

      I do too agree. As far as I know, from OB/GYN women here in my country, there is an increase in maternal mortality because of a highest number of c-sections. Some are elective, some are a consequence of using painkillers, epidural and medication to “speed up” labour.

    • la_louisianne says:

      This was in The Guardian recently – It will be interesting to see what happens with the maternal death rates in Britain.
      http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/03/low-risk-pregnant-women-urged-avoid-hospital-births

      “Women with low-risk pregnancies are to be encouraged to have non-hospital births under new NHS guidelines, which could see almost half of mothers-to-be planning to deliver their baby away from traditional labour wards.
      Guidance from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says that midwife-led care has been shown to be safer for women and recommends that all women with low-risk pregnancies – 45% of the total – should be advised that giving birth in a midwifery-led unit, whether attached to a hospital or not, is “particularly suitable”.
      The changes, published on Wednesday , have been made because women who give birth under midwife-led care have less chance of being asked to undergo medical interventions such as episiotomies, caesareans and use of forceps or ventouse.”

      • greenieweenie says:

        I don’t know. Wow. I have mixed feelings. My pregnancy was low risk. There were signs that people didn’t pick up on. So my birth turned into a disaster. I live on an island and it’s a good thing I was scheduled for a hospital birth because if I’d chosen an at-home birth, I’m convinced my child would have been stillborn.

        My doctors were awesome. My midwives were deplorable.

        I think it’s still good public policy to give birth in a hospital.

    • Sixer says:

      Many continental European countries – France, Germany, etc – have single digit figures. I believe these NICE recommendations are aimed at bringing our 12 down to their 7s and 8s and 9s. It would be helpful if we didn’t have an acute shortage of midwives, however!

    • MtnRunner says:

      Are C-sections common in Europe like they are here? With our f*cked up health care system, docs prefer to be more in charge of the birth experience for fear of being sued. The malpractice costs of obstetricians are the highest of all medical providers. Some women will schedule C-sections so they can plan a birth day and/or not have any vadge issues afterwards.

      There has been a movement toward more a holistic approach in treating childbirth as a natural biological process rather than a disease that must be cured. But not everyone has access to birth centers, midwives and doulas, and insurance doesn’t necessarily cover the costs.

      • **sighs** says:

        My doctor tried everything in her power not to give me a c-section. In the end, it was a necessity. I did everything sans epidural, pushed for an hour and a half and he still didn’t come out. I hear people talk about people that are too posh to push, but I gotta say that I’ve never actually met one. Where are all these alleged planned c-sections other than in certain high risk situations?

      • MtnRunner says:

        Same here, sighs. My son’s heart rate was plummeting to the 70s every time I pushed and my midwife let me try to push him out a few times while they prepared for an emergency C. Good thing they took him, since he suffered a stroke in utero and was in the NICU for 10 days. As much as I wanted a natural childbirth, I’m glad for the intervention when it was obviously needed.

      • **sighs** says:

        Oh my goodness mtn! Your poor baby! I hope everybody Is doing well now. I got lucky, my little one was fine during the whole ordeal, his head was just entirely too big and my cervix swelled and wouldn’t open back up. I got an epidural and even took a 3 hour nap and I still couldn’t relax it enough so had to do a c.

    • Sixer says:

      MtnRunner – they are commonplace but not so much as stateside I don’t think. Far fewer “too posh to push” incidences! As per that link in The Guardian above, the move is towards cutting down unnecessary interventions during birth.

      This article spiked my interest this afternoon – thanks, Kaiser! – and I’ve been doing some reading. Found a good article that doesn’t seem to place unnecessary intervention/medical malpractice as a major factor in US increasing maternal mortality rates though. Seems to be:

      *more older mothers – higher risk
      * access to care – lots of uninsured people
      * quality of care for the uninsured – Medicaid level not sufficient

      http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/03/why-are-american-women-dying-childbirth-201438161633539780.html

      Hmm. Interesting.

      • MtnRunner says:

        Yes… hmmm. Those reasons make a lot of sense. I was higher risk and both pregnancies had complications. I was lucky enough to be living in Boston with its top-notch medical care and have good health insurance at the time. My friend in Kokomo, Indiana didn’t quite have the same care when she had similar complications.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Few doctors coming out of medical school in the US go into primary care, obstetrics, or pediatrics because the reimbursement rates for those services are very low and they tend to graduate with, on average, between $200-300k in education debt. They seek out the fields with higher reimbursement rates in order to get out of debt faster and in order to actually make money. As a result, many parts of the US have doctor shortages in the most basic health care fields and access problems. The Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare seeks to address this problem but there are those who want to overturn it for purely political reasons.

      • Bridget says:

        @Lilac I believe that. 6 years ago it took me 2 months to get an appointment with any OB that practiced out of my local hospital.

      • Sixer says:

        I was going to ask if the ACA was trying to address the bottom two issues! Thanks, Lilac. Every snippet of info helps me understand.

        Here in the UK, we have a shortage of emergency physicians. A lot of people think this is because of the way the NHS reimburses consultants (your attendings). Obviously, the NHS doesn’t pay consultants anything like what a top doctor would earn stateside. What they do is give the consultants contracts that aren’t quite full time. So a doctor will work for the NHS 3.5 or 4 days a week, giving them 1 to 1.5 days to operate a lucrative private practice. Clearly, there aren’t any private practice trauma services here, so the trauma consultants earn a lot less – and have to work weekends and nights to boot.

  6. Sandra says:

    I didnt beome a mother because I was giving in to pressure, I love children andxwanted a family.

    Maybe she has to say things like this because some women can’t stop judging and making sanctimonious comments constantly.

    • Jenn says:

      Agree.

    • Catk says:

      Yes, the patriarchal pressure in my life resulted in 4 boys. That gender studies minor of mine must have really cracked under the weight of a millennium of male domination. And now I have unleashed four more on the world! Mwah hah hah …

      • lower-case deb says:

        my neighbor’s dad is such a patriarch in the bad sense that i try to limit my neighborly interactions whenever he dropped by to see his daughter.

        funnily enough all of his children (4 sons 1 daughter) only have girls! a total of 8 granddaughters and no grandson in sight. he keeps pushing everyone to give him grandsons, but my neighbor told me that she’s pregnant with another girl.

      • Birdix says:

        lol!

    • Mary-Alice says:

      Amen. Me too.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Agree Sandra. I never considered myself particularly maternal but had my daughter quite young and in less than ideal circumstances. Probably not the most sensible thing I’ve ever done, but the best. Patriarchal pressure my backside.

  7. Caz says:

    What about more stories of fake famewhoring people with fake bodies, faces, zero talent, fake PR and massive egos? Wait…we already have that. I would take Turlington over Kartrashian any day.

  8. Littlebowbee says:

    Giving birth unites women? Hay…por favor. Being a woman unites women.

  9. Lior says:

    more christy, please

  10. Amanda says:

    I don’t think the medication-free childbirth movement has much to do with the mortality rate. It’s just a decision of drugs or no drugs. Doctors pushing women into c-sections because they are afraid of getting sued if something goes wrong, though, might have more to do with it. Not that I blame doctors, that’s just the society we live in.

    • MtnRunner says:

      That has a LOT to do with it. They have massively high malpractice costs and they’d rather steer the ship, then leave things up to chance. But when docs are unnecessarily intrusive in what is normal biological process they’re inviting more problems than when they let the natural process occur and stand by with emergency procedures if things start to head down the wrong path.

  11. Lilacflowers says:

    I currently lack the “ability to give birth” so I don’t feel all that united with Christy. She’s a bit blinded to her own insensitivity but her goals are worthy.

  12. Renee says:

    I would like more stories about Christy. I have late 80s/early 90s model nostalgia plus I do admire her activism. I do take issue with several of her statements here, similar to many other posters on this thread, but I think that she is not really a jerk, she just seems to be really into her identity as a mother.

  13. Jen43 says:

    I understand that women who are not mothers will feel excluded by this ‘club’. It hurts more if you want children but don’t have any. However, motherhood is a female issue, and I like her message.

    • Kitten says:

      I don’t feel excluded. No offense, but I have no desire to be a member of The Mommy Club.
      I’m just happy to see a woman with resources focusing on helping women.

      • Jen43 says:

        I am not offended. Motherhood is a personal choice and we are lucky when we get to choose.

      • Bridget says:

        I think it’s asking a bit much that a charity be all things to all people. Would we complain that the Wounded Warrior Society only serves vets? Certain things speak to certain people, but it doesn’t make it any less worthy if it doesn’t hit a chord. And I agree with Kitten: it’s nice to see a woman with resources focusing on helping other women. Ultimately, this is a good thing, and I personally think that focusing on women being able to have proper maternal-fetal health care is a first step in eventually having reproductive autonomy.

      • Courtney says:

        And I think that’s part of her goal, when she talked about women being able to choose when/how many children.

      • Ash says:

        “No offense, but I have no desire to be a member of The Mommy Club.”

        Me neither.

        “I’m just happy to see a woman with resources focusing on helping women. ”

        Me too, Kitten.

      • jenn12 says:

        Sisterhood is sisterhood. Better to say you don’t want kids than to have kids you don’t really want. Octomom birthed a litter and then abandoned them. Kate Gosselin has eight children she has absolutely no interest in. That’s not being maternal. Whatever your choice is, support women’s healthcare and their rights to have clean, healthy medical care.

  14. Sarah says:

    Ermm… why would not having an epidural increase maternal mortality?!?

  15. MizFabulous says:

    The company I work for has a fundraiser partnership with Every Mother Counts, and I had the opportunity to hear Christy Turlington speak at our annual convention last summer. My impressions: she means well, her heart is in the right place, but I don’t think she’s terribly bright, nor terribly articulate. That being said, I wouldn’t really analyze every word that comes out of her mouth to the letter. From what I understand, she isn’t trying to say that those who give birth “matter” more, but that OF those who give birth, ALL of them deserve good prenatal care and that their babies deserve good prenatal care and a safe delivery and good neonatal care, too. And, I agree with the other posters above, I believe that she’s speaking against “mommy wars”, too. Nothing I have read nor heard indicates that she is promoting any position that women who haven’t given birth “don’t matter.” Not in the slightest. (And for the record, I don’t have children, and it was not by my choice.)

    • MizFabulous says:

      And, yes, please, more posts about Christy and other celebrities who are doing GOOD things in the world. Enough with the Kartrashians, Amal Clooney, Goopy, Beyonce and Shailene Woodley.

  16. Naddie says:

    More Christy? Hell yeah. Much better than Kardashian, Kate Middleton or that Amal Alamudin (don’t know how to spell and don’t care).

  17. Cel says:

    I think it’s a worthy cause. Maybe there should be a more conscious effort directed towards women who choose to not become mothers or who suffer infertility?

    For a startling read, try looking into the state of home birth midwifery in the US. The CPM credential is an absolute sham. With their educational standards, there is no other country in the developed world where they would be licensed to practice. Worse, when they kill a baby or mother through negligence, there is little recourse for the grieving family.

    I’d never dream of taking away a woman’s right to a home birth even though it is something I’d never do myself. What I have an issue with is sub-par providers who regularly lie to women about the risks involved with home birth.

    • Courtney says:

      A charity can’t be all things to all people to be effective. She is using her means and influence to help women, do we really need to be so nit picky? Why would a charity focused on maternal health need to go out of its way to include those who aren’t affected? I cannot believe how many harsh comments there on this story. No good deed goes unpunished.

      • pk says:

        I agree with you Courtney, I don’t get it either.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Because the charity could benefit from our money? Because disease affects everyone? Because by lifting up others, we lift ourselves up too? Mothers are not the only people who care about maternal health issues. Clearly, Barack Obama cared when he lifted the Gag Rule.

    • Bridget says:

      Every Mother Counts focuses on women in the 3rd World, women who don’t have access to very basic healthcare and are at risk of dying during childbirth. How exactly would a focus on women who choose not to give birth or who are infertile fit in?

  18. Lucy says:

    More Turlington. Sometimes it’s nice seeing celebrities that are smart, care about other things besides their reflection in the mirror, and are all-around good people (even it that doesn’t sell).

  19. LAK says:

    OT, but every time I see Jessica Biel’s nose, I always think she marched into the surgeon’s office with a picture of Christy Turlington!

  20. Astrid says:

    I was under the impression that Every Mother Counts was for third world countries. She’s been bringing a lot of attention to recent events in other countries along with the blogger Dooce. More Christy

    • Deanne says:

      See, I HATE that she has D-listers like Dooce on her board when all it seems they do is visit developing countries to point out how “bad” the local women have it. Instead of flying your friends first class around the world for a free vacation, how about you spend that money on the women you are visiting and purporting to help? Use those funds to increase their prenatal care instead of just ramping up each other’s frequent flier miles.

      I really believe Christy means well, and I applaud her work, but the current media strategy for EMC needs to be revisited. Less “taking my girls around the world for some poverty tourism” and more “my well-connected friends are going to do work locally to help my cause”.

  21. flutters says:

    More Turlington, for the sake of elevating the public conversation about women.

  22. iseepinkeleants says:

    Was I just dissed? Am I banned from the sisterhood because I’d rather not use my eggs? Shouldn’t that be a choice too?

    Anyway Cindy was my favorite. Never really a fan of Christy. And a wee bit jealous that she’s married to hottie Ed Burns (yummy).

    • jenn12 says:

      No, I think she is just involved in trying to help 3rd world mothers give birth safely. No one should have to apologize for not wanting to be a parent. It is unethical to have kids you have no interest in raising (Gosselin, Octomom, and Mama June are supposedly mothers, though I think of them as birth canals that abandoned their young). Being honest about not wanting kids and being responsible enough not to have kids you don’t want is admirable and applause worthy.

  23. I Do Say says:

    Well childfree whatever we are’s. It’s time to off ourselves since we are of no use to the “sisterhood” or society in general.

    What an ignorant statement. Someone drank the breeder Kool-aide by the gallon.

  24. Jaybee says:

    Hmmm, I appreciate her cause. maternal mortality is one of the leading problems affecting not only America, but also other countries. Third world countries I believe are most at risk. I cannot speak for African statistics but here in my country (Philippines) we have a very high risk for maternal mortality, due to lack of prenatal checkups, screening tests and majority of people living below the poverty line choosing to give birth at home, with just a masseuse (Hilot) who has no medical training whatsoever assisting the birth.

    On the other hand, maybe she shouldn’t have used the word sisterhood. Maybe that’s what caused the stir. In my case, I don’t have children, but I am standing in as the mother for my 8 month old nephew because my sister is working abroad. Does that mean I don’t belong to the sisterhood because I haven’t given birth? Does the fact that no baby has been pushed out of my vagina mean that I’m not a mother? Don’t think so. I feel just as much as a woman and a sister even if my uterus is unoccupied at the moment.

    Motherhood is not only a physical state. It’s also an emotional, mental and spiritual state as well. Caring and maternal instincts I think can exist in many different forms. Some through children, others through nieces and nephews, children of friends. Some can show maternal instincts in circle of friends, with coworkers or even with one’s own parents. Also adopting, foster care, etc.

    Maybe she should focus more on reducing the maternal mortality rate while at the same time not neglecting contraceptive use and healthcare for our fellow women who just want to keep their reproductive system in tip top shape.

    Just my two cents. :-)

    • Jen43 says:

      I think the word sisterhood is what is offending people. She should have chosen another word because child-free women are feeling excluded, but isnt reproductive health a feminist issue?

      • Lilacflowers says:

        It is not the use of the word “sisterhood” that bothers me; it is the notion, contained in her words, that only those with the “ability to give birth” can be included in the sisterhood. Sisterhood should be inclusive but she is limiting the membership. I lost the “ability to give birth” when I underwent chemo for breast cancer but that doesn’t mean I lost the ability to care about women’s health issues or stopped being a woman or a sister.

      • Jen43 says:

        I agree with you. A women is not defined by whether or not she is able to give birth.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        What Lilacflowers said. I’m trying not to be oversensitive, but I don’t like the implication that my inability to have children limits me in my compassion for all women, mothers or not, and all children and my desire for appropriate healthcare for all of them. So many times I hear “I can see the cruelty in sexual slavery because I am a mother,” or similar sentiments. Well, guess what? I can see it, too. I am not less of a person because I didn’t have children. Having vented all that, though, I still think her cause is good.

      • MtnRunner says:

        I know plenty of single, childless women who excel at nurturing and caring for other people, way better than me even. I see that ability to listen to others and intuitively sense what they need as one of the hallmarks of femininity. Not that men don’t have that ability (my husband does), but it’s a more common trait among women because we are more relational than men on the whole. Our natural disposition to empathize is part of what bonds us together as women, not necessarily our birthing ability.

      • Bridget says:

        I get what she’s doing: one of the most effective fundraising tactics is to forge an emotional connection between the potential donor and the cause, and motherhood was the connection that really resonated with Christy. There are so many worthy causes out there, she’s just trying to connect with as many people as she can in a limited forum. If you guys noticed, very few details were given about what EMC actually does.

        And anyone who genuinely thinks that they feel more and deeper just because they pooped out a baby is an idiot.

    • Bridget says:

      She does focus on the Third World.

    • jen2 says:

      Agree. Her cause is good-maternal health and well being, especially in developing nations. It should be maternal and fetal health issues, not motherhood issues. She should not just make it about motherhood as it is much larger than just giving birth.

      Having children is strictly a biological function of the female in most species, including humans. Any woman, if her baby parts are functioning can have a child. However, that does not make her a MOTHER. (I would say the same about men and fatherhood. It is more than just biology). It takes quite a lot more to fulfill that function and in many cases the better mother is not the one that gave birth. The way this is structured, it is about biological mothers, not adoptive, foster or any other care giver that can rightfully use the term “mother”.

      As her tee shirt says, “All mothers count”, which means, to me, not just biological ones. And women should never feel that if they don’t or can’t use their reproductive organs, they are less of a female than those that can and do. I think that is the part that is being communicated poorly, though her heart is in the right place.

  25. AlmondJoy says:

    I respect her for founding this organization. Motherhood is indeed a beautiful thing. If I were her though, I would choose my words very carefully so as not to alienate women that are unable to have children or don’t want to children. A woman without a child is no less of a woman. Also, you don’t have to be a mother to enjoy sisterhood.

  26. Lady L says:

    Women need to support each other whether or not they have given birth or parented. Or do they/we not count?

    • Courtney says:

      You are being WAY oversensitive. Her charity specifically is targeting maternal health and death rates. So no, those who aren’t pregnant/giving birth do not count for this specific charity. Sheesh. No good deed goes unpunished, huh?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Lady L is certainly not the only one to notice the unfortunate wording of this campaign. I don’t think it’s fair to single her out as oversensitive.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Nobody is being over sensitive. Yes, the charity is to help provide decent healthcare to those giving birth but one does not have to be a mother to understand the importance of good maternal health care, nor does one have to have the capacity to give birth to be a sister or a woman. It is insensitive not to realize how hurtful such exclusionary statements can be – and it runs the risk of alienating potential donors.

      • Courtney says:

        Others have noticed, and I think most of them are being over-sensitive as well. Even if one isn’t a mother themselves, we all certainly came from one.
        A woman is using her influence and resources to promote natal and post-natal care in the third world and she’s being treated as badly as one of the Kardashians. Women who have been or plan to become pregnant is a pretty big group, and she is still accused of being exclusionary because the target audience of her charity doesn’t include everyone on Earth.

        Should I ever find the time to start a charitable organization, I think I’ll just blow my money on something stupid instead. No good deed goes unpunished.

      • Bridget says:

        Nothing really helps get people feeling charitable like being told they don’t count

        I personally felt Christy came across far better in the full article, and the parts that were the most powerful to me weren’t included in the synopsis, including that she’s running the marathon to bring awareness to the distance that women have to walk to get access to prenatal care (26 miles). I may not agree with others’ interpretation of Christy’s words, but I think they are caring people who absolutelyc count.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Courtney
        Words are important. The words Christie used to promote her campaign could use some improvement, and people commented on that. That doesn’t take away from the good she’s doing. If I were her, I would welcome suggestions to help my charity get it’s message across to more people. It’s not your place to sit on your high horse and call people with legitimate concerns about exclusion “over sensitive.” It’s not helpful, it’s immature and lowering the conversation for you to be name calling.

        And who are you kidding? You would never start a charity. You have no compassion or ability to listen to other people. You’ll just use your excuse that no good deed goes unpunished to continue doing nothing but putting people down.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @Courtney, I don’t see anyone here bashing Christie for the cause she has chosen to support or the cause itself; most seem in favor of it. Maternal health is an issue that has meant a great deal to me for many years and I plan to attend presidential primary events in New Hampshire over the next year to ask candidates directly in public forums if they intend to restore the Gag Rule if elected. I suspect Christie would gladly take my money for this cause, however, she treated ME and others badly with her insensitive choice of words. I am really sorry for you that you can’t see that.

  27. MtnRunner says:

    “It’s really the capacity to give birth that unites us, more than the experience itself.”

    I can only think of those women who want to be a part of the mommy club and cannot experience childbirth for themselves. There may be nothing more heartbreaking to want a child and be unable to get pregnant. I think Christie’s heart is in the right place, but she shouldn’t reduce womanhood down to motherhood. The essence of what makes us different than men is so much bigger than that.

    I do think that the mortality rates are high due to the high number of unnecessary C-sections.

    ETA: My sense of empowerment came from running marathons — that in turn, showed me I had the guts to try a natural childbirth when given the option. My experience was the opposite to her’s in that regard.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      Exactly. Or women like myself and many others, who have gotten pregnant but we’re unable to fully experience motherhood because of miscarriage and stillbirth?

    • MtnRunner says:

      AlmondJoy, I’m so sorry to hear that you have experienced that. My heart goes out to you.

      I know many women that have struggled through years of infertility and they feel like their womanhood is diminished because of it. I think Christie’s statement only serves to reinforce the lie that they’re not fully feminine until they have given birth.

      It’s no different than constantly being asked if you have someone special in your life, as though you are half a person until you have a partner. Women need to stop perpetuating these notions with each other and our daughters and teach our men and boys that we’re more than just baby-making machines or the place to put their pecker.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Mtn, thank you for your compassion. I agree that we need to stop perpetuating such notions. We are so much more.

      • Ash says:

        “It’s no different than constantly being asked if you have someone special in your life, as though you are half a person until you have a partner. Women need to stop perpetuating these notions with each other and our daughters and teach our men and boys that we’re more than just baby-making machines or the place to put their pecker. ”

        YES!!

  28. OhDear says:

    I don’t plan on having kids and didn’t read her comments to say that non-mothers are “less than.” However, I can see where people are getting that implication, though.

    I know people who have interacted with her and they say that she’s a nice, down-to-earth, “normal” person.

    • MtnRunner says:

      I agree. I just think she needs to be careful in how she promotes a very good cause. Women are touched deeply by the ability/inability to become a mother so being as inclusive as possible in her wording will help.

      I’ll add my voice to the chorus of ladies saying I’d much rather hear stories on ladies like Christie than a Kardashian anyday.

  29. Lilacflowers says:

    Next year, the U.S. will elect a new President. Although it might not be addressed during the campaign, within days of taking office, the new President will probably make a decision on an issue that affects the very problems Christy’s charity seeks to address – The Gag Rule. The Gag Rule prohibits US aid from going to any health care facility in the world that provides abortions OR INFORMATION ABOUT ABORTION, thus a facility providing maternal health care can lose all funding simply because a staffer answers a woman’s question about her options. For this reason, maternal health care should be an issue for all people, not just those who have the capacity to give birth

    • vauvert says:

      Seriously? OMG…. I do hope then that the new President makes the right choice. It is scary to think that so much desperately needed aid could stop.
      Reading through all the comments, I think Christy’s heart is in the right place and the charity is worthwhile. I think that her choice of words is unfortunate because it has made many of the commenters feel left out and that is obviously not a good thing. She probably did it inadvertently but that does not excuse it… If you are a public figure and what you are trying to do is raise awareness and funds, your comments carry weight and should therefore be scrutinized before hand to avoid exactly what happened here.
      That being said, reproductive health is a massive issue around the world, particularly in third world countries, and I applaud anyone shining a light on it and trying to get aid where it is needed.
      So yes, more Christy stories. And my heart goes out to all of you who have experienced heartbreak, whether through miscarriage or inability to have children. I did not want children in my twenties… Then once I wanted them in my thirties, I was fortunate enough to have one before I got ill and a second pregnancy was no longer possible. Every time I regret having no more children I tell myself how lucky I was, and to count my blessing(s).
      And to everyone who dies not want children I say, more power to you and ignore the pressure. I was young in my first (failed) marriage and he wanted kids from day one.I did not feel ready or interested and I am glad I did not give in. Whether you change your mind one day, like I did, or not, it is your body, your life and your choice.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Yes, seriously. Lifting the Gag Rule was among the first things both Clinton and Obama did when they took office. Re-establishing it was the first thing Bush did when he took office in 2001.

  30. bettyrose says:

    She doesn’t work an office job. She doesn’t understand about the mommy track or that anyone with a uterus is considered a risk for going on maternity leave. I totally get why parenthood is a bonding experience regardless of gender, but the shared experience of having a uterus is a fairly tenuous connection. I do care about global women’s health issues, but largely because I want women worldwide to have more control over their reproductive lives.

    • Cait says:

      I absolutely agree. There’s a visceral fear I’ve had after each pregnancy with respect to my career – I gave birth on Wednesday night, and had my laptop fired up on Thursday morning to address some work needs.

      It’s wonderful that Turlington is addressing a defined need for many women, but what most working mothers face in the U.S. alone is a tense attempt to juggle not losing their identity as an independent professional with the role of nurturer and parent. And it’s terrifying to fear that choosing parenthood might stymie other additionally fulfilling life choices.

  31. Grey says:

    I would so much rather read about someone at least trying to do good in the world than another story about the Kardashians…

  32. Elly says:

    She promotes the charity “Every Mother Counts” so of course she is highlighting motherhood here. Of course she is focussing on maternal issues.

    I have no plans getting pregnant ever but i support Every Mother Counts since i´ve seen what good work they do in the 3rd world. You don´t need to be a mother to support mothers and mothers are women and “sisters” too! Many women around the world have no choice and help when it comes to sex and pregnancy, but i have and i care about them. So yeah i support my sisters.

    • Beth says:

      Agreed. I don’t think I will ever have kids, but a lot of women in the third world do not have the choice. And even those who do choose still do not have access to good prenatal healthcare. I think Christy’s support is commendable and that this is a very great cause.

  33. Cait says:

    Motherhood is sometimes a choice. It’s somsetimes not, whether owing to a tangible lack of choice or the inability to biologically carry a child.

    But beyond the microcosm of the sanctimommy set and the mommy wars, it’s pretty shitty to tell someone that their defined choice to be a mother is rooted in the patriarchy.

    I am a feminist. So is my husband. We just had our third (and final) child last week. It’s what I wanted, and what he wanted. To invalidate that deliberate choice in such a condescending way is really no better than the mommy set patting women who choose not to have children on the heads, piously telling them they’ll change their minds.

    There is room for all women and all choices at the table of feminism. I will never judge a women who chooses to remain child free, and I will never rub my fertility (not deliberately, at least) in the face of someone struggling with it.

    I realize this is slightly off-topic, though still tangential, but goddamn, women can be the worst enemies to feminism when they are committed to patronizing the choices (or even lack thereof) of other women.

  34. jenn12 says:

    She’s awesome, drama free, living her life to help others- yes, write more about her! Her interviews are depressing because she’s wading into depressing situations where people need help, getting them help and trying to bring attention to it. More power to her! She’s saying Every Mother Counts because there are so many mothers who don’t get adequate care.

  35. paranormalgirl says:

    Christy almost died from postpartum hemorrhage due to her placenta becoming embedded in the uterus following childbirth. Had she not been in a birth center and have the medical treatment necessary right there, she would have died. She later visited some third world countries and discovered that pregnant women in these countries had no access to the care we have. She founded her charity because she didn’t think that only first world wealthy women should have access to decent prenatal, natal, and postnatal care.

    • **sighs** says:

      Sounds wonderful. And yet, here we are, ripping her a new one because she didn’t word something the right way.
      Sheesh.
      I think if it were a celebrity I would choose to be a mime. Though I’m sure that would offend someone as well. ;)

  36. Andrea says:

    Does every cause have to include all people? She’s not limiting the definition of “sisterhood” to mothers. She’s referring to one kind of sisterhood – motherhood – and expressing her desire to expand its scope to include different kinds of mothers – not just privileged ones. Is it really offensive to talk about an experience that not everyone else has had/can have? She’s drawing from HER personal life experience in order to reach others who may also share that experience and be interested in having a dialogue about it.

  37. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I don’t feel personally excluded but I can see why some women would feel excluded. She’s doing good work, if I were so presumptuous I’d tell her:

    Stay specific, because once you start waxing philosophical, you stray from discussing your goals and methods. You want to educate, not make people feel things, so speak clinically and succinctly and stay specific. Sounds cold but keeping it medical is the way to go, I think. If it were me, I wouldn’t say things about how motherhood, maternal desire or ability to carry to term unites women because it’s patently false, I would say that women who are about to give birth or are recently post-partum all require a base level of natal care and sanitation, explain why, explain what that entails, how the organization does and seeks to provide these required services and how those interested can help. That’s it. If childbirth is becoming more dangerous, I’d go through much of the same process: why, how, where (add a local slant, people like to relate) for how long, what that means short and long-term, how they help/will help, how you can help. That’s it.

    Women’s health is generally not given its due and that’s a problem, one that is too big for any single entity to address, this organization aims to tend to the unique needs of this specific kind of patient as part of what needs to be an initiative to prioritize women’s health at all stages of life and with all kinds of needs, especially in places that don’t have the amenities available to local women. Women’s medical needs have to be taken seriously, this organization is doing its bit this way.

    Once you go woo-woo, you guarantee offense. Everything can’t be about everyone, but this can be a very, very sensitive topic, so don’t go poking things with sticks by bringing emotion into sanitation.

    Teen pregnancies are on the decline, no?

  38. No more Christy–this crap is giving me a headache–and step-moms are not mothers! Ya got that Leann?

  39. Toni says:

    why is it that society now a days have to turn a positive into a negative, have we become so desensitized.

    😞

  40. Keddie88 says:

    I would guess the increase in maternal mortality might have something to do with the increasing rate of overweight/obese mothers giving birth and advanced maternal age too. These both put you in a higher risk category, so surely has some impact on maternal mortality.