Mom--the woman who has been there for you from the beginning, changed your diapers, kissed your booboos, and diligently worked overnight on last-minute school projects. Mother's Day is the time of year we acknowledge her and show our gratitude. Below is a sample of some motherly marvels. If you don't want to use your own mother's name as inspiration, you might want to consider some of these names when choosing baby names for your baby.« Back to Baby Names Lists
She may not actually be his mother, but Zeus' nursemaid deserves a mention. Zeus' father, Cronus, had a nasty habit of devouring his children, to keep them from eventually overthrowing him. Zeus' mother cleverly hid Zeus away and Amalthea cared for and suckled him. He survived and eventually rescued his siblings from his father's stomach. Some myths claim Amalthea was a nymph-shepherdess and others claim she was a goat. This horned-confusion may have been what led Peter S. Beagle to use the name for his protagonist unicorn's human form in The Last Unicorn. It is pronounced ah-MAL-thee-ah.
We wouldn't even have Mother's Day if not for the efforts of Anna M. Jarvis. She campaigned for a day of recognition for mothers. Once she succeeded, it didn't take long for her to become disenfranchised, thanks to the overcommercialism of the holiday. Honor her sentiment this year and instead of simply a card, do something special for your mother. Ms. Jarvis herself was not a mother, but her own mother had instilled a strong sense of social justice in her, which prompted her Mother's Day movement.
In 1991, Arlette Rafferty-Schweitzer gave her daughter an amazing, even if controversial, gift. She was a surrogate for her daughter Christa, who was born without a womb, and gave birth to her own grandchildren. This was a time when fertility treatments were just becoming culturally prominent and it brought out philosophical concerns. Ultimately, this case is regarded as ground-breaking and a true example of mother's love for her child.
Post-partum depression is a little-discussed issue, but luckily the condition found an avid spokesperson in actress and mother Brooke Shields. Very outspoken about her experiences with PPD, Brooke Shields has brought much-needed awareness.
Candice Bergen is famous for her role as Murphy Brown, and even infamous specifically for Murphy's choice to become a single-mom-by-choice. This plot-hook caused some consternation among some conservative viewers but ultimately was hailed as liberating. In real life, Candice Bergen is also a mother, her daughter's name is Chloe.
In 1980, 13 year-old Cari Lightner was hit by a drunk driver and killed as she walked home. In the aftermath of this tragedy, her mother, Candy, took the initiative and founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). What could have been a completely devastating situation, Candy Lightner took and turned around into something proactive.
Carmelina Fedeles definitely earned her breakfast-in-bed and macaroni-necklace in September of 1955! She is in the Guinness Book of World Records for delivering the heaviest baby. Her son reputably weighed 22 pounds and 8 ounces!
Emilia Mary Fitzgerald, the 18th Century Duchess of Leinster, might otherwise be little known if not for her letters. In one, to her dear friend Jemmy, she speaks of a dreary winter, but of her children writes, "But I have a cheerful and pleasant prospect before my eyes within doors: the little brats are, thank God, so well, so merry, so riotous, so hardy, and so full of play from morning till night that it would enliven the dullest of mortals to see them... Henry naked is the dearest little being on earth." What mother alive hasn't thought those same thoughts!
Helen North Beardsley- you may not recognize that name- but she, along with her husband Frank and their collective 18 (eventually 20) children are the basis for the popular movie "Your's Mine, and Our's" which starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. It was later remade again 2005 with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo starring. Both of their spouses had died and they married each other, uniting their families.
Author Joanne "JK" Rowling penned the super-successful Harry Potter series of books centered around the plucky young wizard. The extent of her success seemed without end, but eventually Rowling made the decision to end the series and to instead focus on her children, despite the legions of rabid fans, clamoring for more books about young Harry.
In the Bible, Jochebed is Moses' mother. The Pharoah decreed all first-born sons were to be killed, but she hid him for three months, and when she couldn't anymore, she put him in a basket and sent it floating down the river, where it was discovered by the Pharoah's daughter, who adopted him. Moses' sister Miriam had watched from a distance, and suggested to the woman that she find a Hebrew wetnurse for him, and then suggested Jochebed, who then went on to nurse her son until he was weaned and then adopted by the Pharoah's daughter. It's a timeless tale of a mother's love for her child and her willingness to do whatever possible to save their life.
Ah- June Cleaver! The epitome of mommyness. She darns your socks, dispenses a multitude of motherly maxims, all while baking a mean apple pie. Though obviously fictional, she serves as a perennial icon of all things Maternal. If June isn't your to your liking, consider other classic TV moms, such as Carol Brady or Harriet Nelson.
Laura Ashley is a remarkable example of a working-mom. While she worked as a secretery and raised her two children, she started up with the Women's Institute on quilt-craft. With this, she started making scarves and linens. Her husband developed a print-machine for her and she started making printed fabrics and from there, she quickly became a household name and to this day, her fabrics and designs are iconic and highly sought-after.
Margaret Thatcher paved the way for women to reach new heights politically when she became Britain's first female Prime Minister. She also is mother to twins Mark and Carol.
Marion O'Brien Donovan was suffering from a problem as all mothers have from the dawn of time- leaky diapers! Tired of ruined sheets, she fashioned a diaper cover from a shower curtain and the first waterproof diaper cover was created, revolutionizing diapering and making one motherly duty a little less difficult.
Empress Matilda is famous for being a catalyst for civil war breaking out in England when she sought the throne. However, she also was a mother, and even on her tombstone, the following is enscribed, "Here lies Henry's daughter, wife and mother; great by birth, greater by marriage, but greatest in motherhood."
Famous for her dignity and class, Rose Kennedy said this of her role as a mother, "I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring it." She raised 9 children, several of which went on to prominent political careers, including cherished President, John F. Kennedy.
Recently immortalized on a coin, Sacagawea is known for being a Shoshone interpreter for the expeditioners Lewis and Clark. Even more intriguing, she did this with her young son in tow. The trip was hard and grueling, but she kept pace and contributed, even helping find roots and other sources of food during harsh times.
Sojourner Truth is famous abolitionist and political orator, and one specific speech stands out- "Ain't I a Woman?" During this particularly moving speech, she remarks, "I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?"
Russian peasant Valentina Vassilyeva sets a world record, the most children born to a single woman. She is reported to have 69 children, including 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets in a total of 27 births. 67 of the 69 children survived infancy. Leontina Albina is a more modern example, a Chilean mother of 55 children.Top