This Mothers’ Day we are thinking about the lessons we can take today from the first Mothers’ Day Proclamation in 1870.

The first Mother’s Day Proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, was not a commercial idea to sell cards or flowers. It was a proposal to bring women of all nationalities together to bring peace to humanity. Howe had seen the horrors and the aftermath of the American Civil War and wished to “gather the women”. The proclamation was directed to women to add their voice to “the voice of a devastated Earth”, and called for women to take counsel with each other to find the means to bring peace to the world.

Howe believed if women came together purely and simply for the benefit of humankind, it would be a force such as the world had never seen before.

This proclamation was also an expression of maternal concern, which is thought of as a love and compassion felt not only towards one’s own children, but toward all people, animals and plants – a love extended to all beings.

When we consider the Mother’s Day proclamation, we of course also think about motherhood and I particularly like this definition by Mātā Amritānandamayī Devī, better known simply as Amma;

“The essence of motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth; it is a principle inherent in both women and men. It is an attitude of the mind. It is love — and that love is the very breath of life.”

At the Princess Alice Hospice our symbol is a dove, a symbol of peace, love and sometimes of messengers. This Mother’s Day, we encourage you to “Gather the Women” in your mind who provided maternal care in your life and hold on to their memory for your own peace and comfort. These are the women who have helped to shape you, this could include your mother, but it doesn’t only have to – you could include an aunt, grandmother, friend, neighbour or teacher.

We encourage you to share your memories of those people or others who have provided meaningful maternal concern and care for you in your life.

This year more than ever we need to reach out to our families, communities, friends and colleagues to bring a greater sense of peace to the world after a very challenging time. For those who have been bereaved, we hope you can hold on to the memories of those that you have loved today for strength and we encourage you to talk about them.

If someone came to mind when you read this post, we would love to hear their name in the comments below.