Ashley Judd Pens Heartbreaking Essay on “Abruptly” Spending Mother’s Day Without Naomi Judd

Just days after her mom Naomi Judd died and amid the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, Ashley Judd penned a gut-wrenching essay about motherhood.

By Emlyn Travis May 06, 2022 9:45 PMTags
Watch: Naomi Judd Dead at 76: Country Stars Pay Tribute

Ashley Judd is using her voice to honor her late mom Naomi Judd ahead of her first Mother's Day without the country star. 

Ahead of the holiday—and in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion about Roe v. Wade—the humanitarian penned a scathing message about what it means to be a mother and whether society values their sacrifices.

"This Sunday is abruptly, shockingly, my first Mother's Day without my mama," she began in her op-ed for USA Today, published May 6. "She died just days before my sister and I could show her again how much we love and honor her." 

However, she noted that her heart wasn't empty but rather "replete with gratitude for what [her mother] left behind," citing, "Her nurture and tenderness, her music and memory." 

But, alongside that endless love, Ashley noted another emotion: "incandescent rage." 

"My mother was stolen from me by the disease of mental illness, by the wounds she carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl," she explained. "Because she was a girl." 

Ashley Judd Sends Message to "Beautiful" Mom Naomi Judd After Her Death

Within the piece, the Double Jeopardy actress went on to share that the country music superstar experienced an "unintended pregnancy at age 17" that led her "down a road familiar to so many adolescent mothers, including poverty and gender-based violence." 

Naomi is survived by her two daughters: Wynonna Judd, who she shared with Charles Jordan, and Ashley, who she had with ex-husband Michael Ciminella.

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"My mama was a legend. She was an artist and a storyteller, but she had to fight like hell to overcome the hand she was dealt, to earn her place in history," she shared. "She shouldn't have had to fight that hard to share her gifts with the world."

The activist also called out the numerous ways that she believes society fails to take care of women, writing, "So often, motherhood happens because of violence, because of neglect, because schools and health systems fail to provide reproductive health information, because they fail to teach the right of individuals to make their own choices about sex and contraception."

Ashley shared that she "never took my bodily autonomy for granted," but admitted she that she "aware this right is denied to hundreds of millions of girls and women, especially the poorest and those facing discrimination and racial injustice." 

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Then, seemingly to reference Politico's leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe V. Wade, she added, "We see it in the most disadvantaged places. And we see it in our own country." 

"Motherhood should always be a choice," Ashley wrote. "Does that sound radical to you?" 

She continued, "How much could we, as a society, possibly value motherhood when it is assumed to be an inevitability? When we accept as normal that women and girls will drop out of school and the workforce because they are expected to take on the unpaid labor of childcare? When we fail to protect girls from poverty and violence?" 

Instead, Ashley shared that on Mother's Day on May 8, she plans to "honor my mama for the person she was, a mother and so much more" and encouraged others to do the same. 

"I ask you to honor your own mother, if you are lucky enough to have her. Honor her for more than her labor and sacrifice. Honor her for her talents and dreams," she wrote. "Honor her by demanding a world where motherhood, everywhere, is safe, healthy—and chosen." 

On April 30, Ashley and Wynonna confirmed in a joint statement their mother had passed away due to the "disease of mental illness" just one day before The Judds singer was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was 76.

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