This Mother’s Day, the Positive Women’s Network – USA reclaims and redefines motherhood from our perspective. As a network for all women living with HIV, including transgender women, we are:
- Women who have been discouraged, shamed, and forbidden from having children.
- Women whose health, well-being and desires have been seen as secondary to those of others – including but not limited to our partners, fetuses, and children.
- Women who rely on the support of our doctors, partners, healthcare systems, and each other to safely conceive and deliver a healthy baby.
- Women who were diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy.
- Women who gave up the dream of motherhood after our diagnosis.
- Queer-identified women who may be shamed for having children.
- Women who fight for our rights to parent and raise our children.
- Women who want to have children, but cannot afford assisted reproductive technology.
- Women who have grown into adulthood and our sexual and reproductive lives with an HIV diagnosis.
- Women who choose and create our own families.
- Women who are successfully parenting our HIV-positive and HIV-negative children.
- Women who nurture and foster the growth of young people in our lives, regardless of whether we are biologic mothers.
- Women who fight for justice for the next generation.
Our experiences are diverse. Yet, at the end of the day we are proud to hold our communities and families together.
Stand with us. Show your support for HIV-positive women on Mother’s Day by signing your name below. You can also share a message below or on our facebook page: as a woman living with HIV or ally of a woman living with HIV, what does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Only names and messages will be shared. Your signatures and comments will be updated as fast as our fingers can type…! See comments that have come in below the form…
“I am living with HIV, and from the time I disclosed my status to my mother (and father), who was in her 70s and is now 86, I have had the love of a mother as I have always had it. I happen not to be a mother, but I know what a mother’s love is all about. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!!! I love you.”
“As a woman living with HIV who still mourns the baby I lost when I was diagnosed 21 years ago, and who celebrates the children and young people whom I have mothered, despite my HIV, I connect with all you have written about Mother’s Day. Thank you for your powerful and beautiful message.” – Alice Welbourne, London, UK
“Mother’s Day is a celebration of all the strong women who parent in the midst of challenges- financial, emotional, physical, psychological. Who have learned to forgive, to persevere and who radiate love to their children and community. Bless them all.” – Kathleen, San Diego, CA
“Every Mother’s Day is a reminder to me of how truly Blessed I am to have given birth to 3 of my 6 children while living with AIDS and all of them being HIV negative as with my husband being HIV negative as well. I am truly grateful for all of the support I have been givin from those involved in the care and treatment of this disease. Even though my children do not know my status yet, I am happy that my health hasn’t forced the discussion on me. So I would just like to say Happy Mothers Day to all those who have been a mother to someone in some kind of way at one time or another. God Bless.”
“Mother’s Day is a special day for me as a positive woman because I was able to take the opportunity of being a mother as a gift. I know today that if I had not instilled in my three daughters the love and truth about me, they would not be the great women and mothers themselves. My youngest daughter was gifted to me during my journey with HIV. People told me that it would not be possible to have a healthy child. Today she is a healthy woman with a son of her own.I am able to reflect on the lessons that have been provided me in order to instill compassion, empathy, integrity, love of myself in order to love others from where they stand, taking each day, each moment whether good, bad or indifferent as my gift. Using my gift I am a light in this sometimes dark world for those whose light may be dimming. I represent the truth of what hope is. As a Mother I am not perfect but a perfect work in progress, who recognizes the imperfection in myself. Everyday is Mother’s Day.”
“Mother’s Day means respect for those who have come before you, for those who lay the foundation for your own successful future; respect for the daily struggle and challenges we have just because we are women. As an ally, Mother’s Day means respecting the struggle as well as the triumphs.”
“I first saw Rebecca Denison speak in Honolulu at a Women and AIDS conference in 1996. She was the first HIV-positive woman I had seen that was speaking openly about the right to have children. She was very pregnant. It was a lightening rod moment for me as an ally. The right to be a mother. Over the years I have found that many people, and clinicians have not caught up with this notion for positive women. It is a take-no-prisoners human right in my book.” – Maura Riordan, California
“Mother’s Day is a day of blessings and gratefulness for me. I was diagnosed in 1990 when my only son was 10 years old. He didn’t know until he turned 12. He went through so much mental anguish back in those early days before HAART. No child should ever have to wait for their mom to dye. When is it coming? Will it be this year? He saw things happen to me I wish I could erase from his mind. He asked me questions I could not answer. I prayed to GOD to keep me alive until he would turn 18 years old. I am so proud of the wonderful man he’s turned out to be despite everything we went through. He just turned 33 this year and the manifestation of GOD’s presence in our lives has been amazing. So, that is why comes to mind when asked what Mother’s Day means to me.”
“To me, Mother Day is a time for all mothers to be praised for being the care givers of the world! This mother’s day is special for me because my grandson is now in my custody and is good hands with his Grandmom :)” – Teresa Sullivan, Philadelphia, PA
“Mother’s Day is a day of celebration for all women who are mothers, want to be mothers, mothers of someone elses children, women who are HIV- positive or HIV-negative. Women who nurture others and fight for the youth of today and those to come. Women who love unconditionally. Women are the backbone of this society and the growth of it as well. It’s time to celebrate women instead of treating them as second best in this world.” – Janet, Birmingham, AL
“Mother’s Day is a day of celebration but it also painful. After being diagnosed in the early 90’s, I gave up my dream of ever having a child of my own. My mother passed away over 10 years ago. The last time she saw me I was very sick, diagnosed with AIDS. Today she would be very proud of me and my accomplishments. Mom, I love you and miss you so very much. You taught me how to be a strong independent woman. I honor your courage, your strength, and your life.” – Vickie Lynn, Tampa, FL
“I’m honoring the mother in Mississippi who took her child off of the heavy course of anti-retroviral medications prescribed and enabled the discovery that the child didn’t need them. All the doctors and researchers congratulating and slapping each other on the back and holding press conferences to announce their brilliant “discovery” and “milestone breakthrough” gave short shrift to the mother. She was referred to as “the caregiver” throughout the press conference. There was a lot of focus on her supposed failings (never got tested, no pre-natal care, took the child “out of care”) with the implication she was at fault or irresponsible. There was no consideration she might have made a reasonable decision to take the child off treatment, or may have had some powerful maternal instinctive knowledge that the meds were unnecessarily harming the child. None of those doctors and researchers would be enjoying the fame and attention they’re receiving had she not taken the action she did.” – Sean Strub, Milford, PA
“It means that living with HIV, today, is not a barrier to living a full and rewarding life. That families, children, husbands, partners, and friends can benefit and be enriched by the love, power, and energy of a woman living a full life.” – Javier Salazar, Media, PA
“My mother gave me a life gift, HIV. I had learn a lot, meet incredible people and a different way to see life. She passed away 13 years ago, and no child should see her mother dies before she can take control of her own life. Where ever she is, I thank her for everything she taught me.” – L’Orangelis, San Juan, PR
“I gave up my dream of having children when I was diagnosed many moons ago. I cried ever time I saw a pregnant woman. Today, it is still difficult because I could have had children; it was possible but we just didn’t know. I also lost my own mother 10 years ago and the last time she saw me I was a mess, homeless and near death. She never had the opportunity to see me regain my health, my life, and my hope. I love you mom and miss you dearly. Hug your mom today because you never know what tomorrow may bring.” – Vickie Lynn, Tampa FL
“I was out yesterday with one of the teenagers I have “adopted”, a kid I chose to embrace in my life. One of the people wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, saying that it was for ALL mothers, and I burst into tears. What a gift.” – Barb Cardell, Boulder, CO
“THAT I MADE THOUGH A ANOTHER YEAR GOD WILLING I WILL SEE ANOTHER YEAR.”
“Mothers Day means being happy for the one who have you life whether or not you have a condition. It’s about showing the love they showed you wasn’t all for a lost cause that you were listening and now mother comes my time to return the favor. All My Love Mom.” – Kate
“This is an opportunity to reflect on how mothers living with HIV have inspired and educated me as a parent, and to reaffirm my commitment to full reproductive, legal and economic justice for all people and families.” – Julie Davids, NY, NY