7 Moms Who Made A Difference in 2015

Celebrating the fierce dignity of motherhood means highlighting the triumphs and sacrifices made by amazing women: 2015 was full of news stories about women making a difference in the lives of their children and others.

In no particular order, here are some of our favourite Inspiring Mom stories from 2015:

Amy Anderson

Amy Anderson tragically lost her son Bryan at 20 weeks gestation. Despite her doctor’s recommendation against pumping her milk, Amy managed to pump and donate 92 gallons of her own breast milk. Her dedication to donating her milk led her to leave her job when her company declined to give her “pumping breaks.” She is now working to change the terminology in the laws in her state regarding breastfeeding mothers. Her efforts paid off, and she was able to donate milk to five milk banks in four different states and Canada, which resulted in more than 30,000 feedings.

Mandy McKnight

This Canadian mom’s world was turned upside down when her son Liam was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and aggressive form of epilepsy with no known cure. Dravet sufferers can have hundreds of seizures a day that severely impact growth and development. The side effects from the many pharmaceuticals that Liam was prescribed left him suffering profoundly and they had run out of medical options. That’s when they turned to medical marijuana. Within 24 hours of receiving his first dose of cannabis he was seizure free, he went from 67 seizures to 0 and he continued to have seizure free days for another 10 days. Cannabis has allowed the McKnight family to wean all of Liam’s anti-epileptic medications and has significantly changed Liam’s quality of life. In Mandy’s own words:

“If our story can empower another family to advocate for cannabis on behalf of a child or loved one, then I truly believe we have made a difference.” – Mandy McKnight

Tara Ruby

Tara Ruby is a true breastfeeding advocate and hero. A former Air Force service member turned photographer, Ruby heard about a new nursery being built on her old base of Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. She offered to donate photos to decorate the room. One of her pictures, a photo of a group of active duty military moms breastfeeding in uniform has gone viral with over 8,000 shares on Facebook.

Carli Travers

Vancouver’s own Carli Travers was a social worker graduate traveling in Uganda in 2008 when she met a group of homeless children. She quit her job, rented an apartment in Uganda, and became the children’s legal guardian.

Through fundraising, she created a Children’s Home in Uganda called Abetavu, where she has now adopted a total of 16 orphans, plus has five children of her own. In 2015 she was back in Vancouver on a fundraising mission and spoke of the dangers she sometimes faces:

“Just before I came…there’s a man in the village who trains young women to be nursery school teachers. The case was brought to me about six months ago that he has been raping all of his students. The police won’t do anything, and I’m the one at the end of the day who has to deal with these things. And it’s risking my life to be honest.”

For more information on how to get involved visit www.abetavu.com.

Marissa Mayer

After fielding questions about a complex deal to sell Yahoo’s core businesses on a public call with investors one Wednesday morning, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced the birth of her twin daughters.

Mayer has received criticism for taking a short two weeks of maternity leave despite her company’s more generous offers. She has been in the “Working Mom” spotlight ever since first being tapped to turn around the struggling company in 2012. Mayer’s announcement spawned many conversations about motherhood and professional women, prompting Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of advocacy group MomsRising, to ask why Mayer should even have to discuss her plans or have them debated.

“When was the last time a male CEO was asked about how he would handle a new baby and his work? Men aren’t asked if taking a shorter time off will hurt the child. They don’t feel the need to justify themselves and explain their decisions,” – Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner

Point well made.

Lindsay Peace

Lindsay and Steve Peace have three children together, the eldest is Ace, a 15 year old female to male transgender teen.

When Ace was a toddler, Steve, a tattoo artist, had tattooed a portrait of Ace on Lindsay. The problem was that the portrait depicted a little girl and Lindsay wanted to show Ace that they were supportive of his gender identity. Steve updated Lindsay’s tattoo to accurately reflect the Ace that they know and love.

Rachel Hollis

Lifestyle blogger and mother of three, Rachel Hollis uploaded to her Facebook page a snapshot of her postpartum self in a bikini. The following caption accompanies her picture:

“I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy . . . (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man whose opinion matters, knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he’s never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren’t scars ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!”

Nearly 40000 women shared her post inspiring hundreds to comment with similar stories about body acceptance. 

To all the women and men out there who are cuddling sick children, kissing owies, brushing teeth, packing lunches, getting pooped on, getting vomited on, catching kindergarten colds and generally being awesome – Thank you. Each and everyone deserves a spot on this list.

Sarah Cosman

Cosman & Webb Townships Organic, Bury, Quebec, Canada