05/07/2008 05:02 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mothers -- It's Complicated

There are always complicated issues around mothers. Being one, having one, not having one, wanting one, losing one, not being one.

Personally, we love our mothers even when we don't. Culturally, we revere them. Globally, we say how important mothers are but still a woman dies every minute of every day from a pregnancy-related cause. Each of those deaths is preventable and at very little expense. There's been little help for those young women -- dying to be mothers -- over the past two decades. It's not just bad, it's sinful!

Look at the relationship we have with the Big Mother -- Mother Nature/Mother Earth. Another mother who we have deep hard-wired praise and love for but with too little attention to her well-being. Don't get me wrong: Thirty years ago, a day after Mother's Day, I became one. Birthing twins was a surprise but the bigger surprise was the love I had toward those two tiny humans. An intense consuming love that has grown as those little bodies have. It's complicated and magical.

Mothers. Whether you are one, have one, or played a role in transforming a woman into one, you know it's complicated. How we treat, respect, protect, empower mothers is central not only to our own lives and well-being but to our country, to humankind and to this planet.

Those of us who are privileged enough to work in an international/global context know that if we care about people in deep poverty, who struggle to feed themselves and their children or who are vulnerable to climate shocks must remember and include women. Strategies for creating lasting solutions must have women and mothers at the table. Not only can they change everything, they can be part of solutions that endure for a very long time. Embracing mothers' love, mothers' wisdom and mothers' strength holds the potential to make it all better. Honest.