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6 Emotional Mother’s Day Posts From Celebrities We Love

Tracee Ellis Ross said it best: "Honor the mother within each of us."

Culture & Entertainment

Mother's Day might have been yesterday (May 9) but we're still in awe of these celebratory posts courtesy of our favorite celebrity moms and their loved ones. Moms of all kinds—biological or not—are superhuman. These mamas below have inspired us with their resilience, beauty, and determined spirit this year, and sharing these messages is proof of that. Let us take their wisdom beyond a "Happy Mother's Day" post and as Tracee Ellis Ross put it "honor the mother within each of us."

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle wrote on Instagram:

"My journey to motherhood was long, arduous and at many times extremely painful. Mother's Day will always be a challenging day to celebrate for me. I know I'm not alone in this feeling. For many reasons, so many of us have a rough time today and to these good people, I send all my love, light and compassion. To all the Moms, Stepmoms, Bonus Mom's, Folks who Mother those that need it, Grandma's, House Mothers, I celebrate you today and everyday. Be good to yourselves."

The 45-year-old actress has been vocal via social media and in her 2017 book, We're Going to Need More Wine, about her struggles with infertility and failed IVF treatments. She had multiple miscarriages before having her daughter Kaavia via surrogate. Her honesty about Mother's Day being a "challenging day to celebrate" for not just her, but so many others is a sentiment not often expressed.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama once the First Lady and mom of this country. She is beloved by many so much so she's earned the nickname "our forever FLOTUS." In true Obama fashion, Barack honored not just her this Mother's Day, but all versions of moms including his in a beautiful message that represents inclusivity. The former POTUS captioned a photo shared on Instagram:

"On this Mother's Day, I want to thank Michelle for being such an incredible mom to our girls. And I hope you'll take a moment to thank the women in your life who love you in that special way that mothers do: biological moms, adoptive moms, and foster moms; single moms, grandmoms and godmothers; aunts and mentors—all the people who come to mind when you think about Mother's Day. Or take a moment, like I will, to remember the moms who raised and sustained us, and who we miss every day—no matter how long it's been. All of these amazing people deserve our gratitude, today and every day."

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith captioned her Mother's Day post:

"That three generational #throwback for those sweet Mother's Day vibes❣️Check out our very special Mother's Day celebration at the Red Table."

Not only did this trio honor the holiday with a necessary Red Table Talk that honored coronavirus heroes, but Jada also shared this photo of their collective beauty that spans three generations. This throwback is a reminder of the legacy Black mothers build.

Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant wrote in a caption under a photo spending Mother's Day with her three daughters and remembering the daughter she lost:

"My babies~ Mother's Day❤️ Thank you for making me a mama @nataliabryant, Gianna, Bianka and Capri."

Vanessa lost her 13-year-old daughter Gianna last year as well as her husband Kobe Bryant. As matriarch to her family, she's led their other three girls through unbearable grief, and seeing them spend the day at Disneyland together, is hope to anyone that's ever experienced a loss that there will be better days.

Diana Ross

As a daughter to one of the greats and being a "great" in her own right, Tracee Ellis Ross reminds us all to honor the nurturing spirit within us courtesy of the mothers in our lives. She said about her mom:

"MAMA ~ I love you beyond! @dianaross
Sending Happy Mother's Day wishes to all those who Mother, who nurture and teach us about mothering and what it is [to] be mothered. A special embrace to those who need extra love today. I see you and send love to you. May we honor the mother within each of us."

Chrissy Teigen

In a Mother's Day post, John Legend shared about his wife, Chrissy Teigen:

"Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful wife! It's been a year that tested you in so many ways but you've come through stronger, wiser, happier and a better mother than ever. I'm so fortunate to have you as my partner, my inspiration and my best friend. I love you forever."

The mom of two touched us all when she shared the loss of her and John Legend's son Jack, which she was still carrying. Her transparency during what we're sure was one of the most difficult times of her life is something that sparked a fire in other women to open up about similar experiences. The same way John is inspired, so are we.

Featured image via Giphy

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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