National Eating Disorders Association

What is a M.O.M. March?

Cherie Monarch, Mom

Many of you have asked - what is a MOM March and how was it born?

The M.O.M. (Mothers & Others) March was founded by Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness, Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) and Mothers Against Eating Disorders (MAED).  The mission of the M.O.M March is both simple and powerful:

  • raise awareness of the prevalence, stigma, and devastating consequences of eating disorders;
  • unite people from around the globe to advocate for those affected by eating disorders;
  • unite our voices to advocate for policy related to eating disorders education, early intervention, training, research and treatment.

The inaugural M.O.M.(Mothers & Others) March was in September 2014 and was a historic unification of moms, families, advocates, sufferers, and eating disorder organizations collaboratively marching on our Nation’s Capital. Words can’t even describe what it was like to stand on that green lawn with The Mall and Washington Monument as our backdrop and the Capitol building as our canvas. To truly grasp the magnitude of fighting for the millions that are crippled by eating disorders; to feel empowered and unashamed; to feel heard.  Attendees shared that the #MarchAgainstED was “emotional and empowering”, “life-changing event”, “not to be missed”, “motivated me to start embracing recovery”, “can’t wait for next year”, ”gave me HOPE”, and more! One of our attendees wrote “For the first time in 12 years — maybe for the first time in my life — I feel the possibility of the wide expanse of sky above me. I feel free.”

I think there were several of us that had the vision of some kind of gathering over the years. I'm sure most of you don't know me and have never heard my name. I'm just a mom who truly believes that we can make a difference. I have never been through anything as isolating or as crippling as battling my daughters eating disorder. I was scared and I was lost. I vowed if we ever made it to the other side and if my daughter found recovery that I would do anything and everything to help moms and families that were facing this monster and on the long journey to HOPE. 

My vision of this unification of  M.O.M.s (Mothers and Others March) first came approximately six years ago when I first lobbied in Washington DC. At the end of the day I was feeling empowered and amazed at having the opportunity to speak with my legislators and share our family’s story. As we were walking through those congressional halls, the thing that struck me was that they just didn't "get it". At that moment I leaned over to Johanna Kandel and said “This was an amazing day, but our legislators just don't get it. It is going to take thousands of pissed off mom's standing on Capitol Hill in order for them to understand. Eating disorders need to have a face and they need to have a voice”. For the next several years I would always leave EDC lobby day with the exact same thought. That we needed thousands of advocates Marching on Capitol Hill. We need a face. We need a voice.

In 2013, several of us were having a conversation on MAED (Mothers Against Eating Disorders). Debra Schlesinger, the founder of MAED. asked the question – “what can a bunch of mothers do?”  I said I know exactly what they can do. Who better to advocate for our children and for sufferers than mothers? If we don't fight for our children, who will? And so began the birth and planning of the MOM March. We would later learn that Senator Paul Wellstone’s advice to Kitty Westin 14 years earlier was to "bring a group of angry moms to march on Washington to get policy makers to pay attention and make change happen." 

The March Against ED is about collaboration. It is time to unite all the fragmented voices across our country and the globe.  It is going to take eating disorder organizations to quit pursuing independent strategies and unify their voices into one powerful voice that will not take no for an answer. . All of the eating disorder organizations, clinicians, researchers, and providers, need to stand strong with moms, families, advocates, and sufferers. Our legislators need to understand that early diagnosis and treatment is vital; that eating disorders do not have to be a life sentence and are survivable. Legislation like the Anna Westin Act needs to be enacted that requires the medical community to be educated on eating disorders and that compels insurance companies to swiftly cover best practice treatment to full outcome and comply with mental health parity.  

While we do not have to be angry, we certainly need voices to gather on Capitol Hill. We need Mothers and Others - families, sufferers, providers, researchers, advocates, clinicians, teachers, organizations, and legislators – joining hands. Because together, we are a powerful voice – a voice that could start a conversation that saves millions of lives.  

Eating disorders need to be a global conversation.  In an effort to accomplish this, we have partnered with NIED (National Eating Disorders Initiative) our Canadian neighbors, who will be hosting a simultaneous March at parliaments all over Canada the very same day.

As of this date, 43 non-profits have joined hands to help deliver this message in the USA. This is unprecedented and a huge step forward. We are thrilled and honored to have their support. 

Please be a part of the change and join us on October 27 at 3:00 pm  in Washington D.C. to use YOUR voice at the federal level. 

TOGETHER, we can make a difference!

Register now! #March Against ED - October 27, 2015 - Home