The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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We grabbed a cab back to the CARE offices where I met with Jay Gould, Program Director for CARE Peru. The purpose of our discussion was to recap my week of travel with CARE. He explained how donations "work." Many people donate small amounts and no amount is too small. Five dollars, ten dollars, a thousand; any amount is valuable and appreciated. When someone donates less than $10,000, CARE decides where those dollars are best put to use. When the donation is more than $10,000, the donor can specify which programs it is used for. CARE operates in 66 countries and there's a lot of work to be done. Every donation is important.
Jan and I discussed my purpose and intention for coming all the way to Peru. I told him my role as Fit Pregnancy's "Labor Nurse" was twofold - one as the voice of a registered nurse and expert in maternal health and two; as a mother who's old enough to have "been there, done that" but not so much older than our readers that I can't relate to where they are in life. My hope is to grab the attention of Fit Pregnancy readers who may be tapping into Motherhood for the first time and becoming aware of their membership in the ultimate global club. Fatherhood is an equally exclusive club and it's membership and bylaws are very similar. For the purpose of not getting too long-winded, please substitute "father" for "mother" wherever appropriate.
Most of us don't "get it" until we're pregnant. We don't really understand that connection between mother-and-child, mother-and-mother, even mother-and-daughter until we're Mothers (father/child, father/son, father/father) . Once we're expecting our own baby, we're plugged into the source of maternal (parental) energy. We realize we're doing what all mothers have done from the beginning of humanity. We're doing what all mothers do all over the world. Yes, our child will be unique but our experience will be universal. If you talk to a Quechua woman about potty training, she "gets it." Talk about sore nipples and middle-of-the-night feedings; she knows exactly what you're talking about. Worried about how you'll get through labor? So is the mother in India and the teenager in Africa. We have the same worries, joys, and hopes for ourself and our babies. All of a sudden, we're members of the same club. We get it. Welcome, we've been expecting you.
My goal in coming to Peru is to show Fit Pregnancy readers what pregnancy, labor, delivery and motherhood are like for other members of the club. American mothers are fortunate in ways they don't even realize. Imagine, if an epidural was not an option. For most of us here in the US, it's a choice. Imagine if you had to walk for hours, drive for days, and even then, have no guarantee you'll make it to a clean, safe place to have your baby. Imagine.
Now, imagine what you can do to help other women in the club enjoy full membership. Imagination is where it starts. Bring them into your awareness. Think about them. Lean about them. Log onto CARE.org and become a member of CARE Connections, CARE's online community. If you're able, make a donation. Go where your imagination leads you and reach out to women around the world. Their lives are just like ours; just lived in other cultures, with fewer resources and options. They're Mothers and Mothers Matter.
As I left Jay's office, Elena found me and gave me the news that made me realize why I'd really come to Peru. Remember my meeting with the Vice President of Ayacucho? Apparently, because Fit Pregnancy was visiting Peru, the Vice President had a chat with the President. The President had a bill sitting on his desk that he decided to give his full attention. Elena told me that the President had just signed a bill into law that provided millions of dollars of funding for the continuation and expansion of maternal health programs as a human right, not just a medical issue.
You guessed it, I cried again. Who knew that when I sat down to watch the Today show last spring, saw Christy looking so much like my niece that she grabbed my attention, that this is where it would lead me. When you step inside someone's vision and place your intention on growing with it, wonderful things happen. Things like the passage of a bill that guarantees health care for pregnant women as a human right. I know this is not the end of the vision and I'm still part of it. I invite you, readers to come along for the ride. Let's see where we can go together. We can CARE.