The Power of Women

03.03.11: How we make each others' world go around


On March 8, I’ll be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day at the National CARE Conference in DC. Privately, I’ve been celebrating the power of women to make a difference in the world, right here at home. I know many readers are experiencing the same gentle power as they move through their pregnancies. The women in their lives are quietly supporting them from thin to thick, sickness and health, through labor and birth and on into motherhood. At some point, every woman in the world, no matter her circumstances eventually finds herself asking, “What would I do without my girls?”

I’ve been dealing with a health issue that has, at times, been frightening and dark and through it all “my women” have helped me along. My dear friend, Janet, an obstetrician/gynecologist I’ve worked with for ages, is currently volunteering in a clinic in Guatemala. Before she left on her courageous trip to donate her services to women who desperately need her, she made a call to her friend, Dr. S, a doctor with exactly the specialty I needed. Janet put in a good word, so I could get an appointment quickly and so I wouldn’t be a stranger to Dr. S. My condition wasn’t the biggest emergency in her appointment book, and Dr. S was preparing to leave on her own volunteer medical mission to the Philippines. Still, she kindly wedged me in to her too-busy schedule and took care of me. That’s the power of women. Just a call, just a kind word and Voila…it’s taken care of.

Megan is entering the second trimester of a pregnancy that has felt somewhat fragile. Just when she was finally able to kiss the fear of miscarriage and her nausea goodbye, she developed a painful uterine ligament pull and the flu. She was placed on bed rest (which she’s totally not cut out for) and quickly became stark raving bored. Her girlfriends dropped gifts and movies, books and baskets at her house and made sure she rested, recuperated and made it through this seesaw time with her pregnancy and wits intact.

Dylan just delivered her second son last month. Her 2-year-old, Patrick, is a sweetheart, but isn’t too keen on having his reign as only son usurped by that new baby, who he says, “can’t do anything good.” Patrick pronounces it “tantoo anytig dood.” Dylan feels bad about inadvertently kicking Patrick off the throne, and is struggling with the juggle of two-under-two. Dylan’s mother recognized Dylan needed private time with Patrick and swooped in to spend a whole day with the baby.

Dylan nursed her newborn and passed him to her mom. Then she and Patrick went outside to play in the snow. When they came in for stories and a warm up, Dylan nursed the baby again, then spent another hour playing with Patrick. Dylan and her mom passed the baby back and forth all day, but Dylan made Patrick her number-one priority. By the end of the day, Patrick felt like he had his Mama back and Dylan learned how important it is to have another woman to hand off to. Dylan’s mom plans on coming to the rescue every week.

While I’ve been recuperating, my girlfriends have picked up my slack on carpools, deadlines, errands and all the little things that make the world go around. I’ve received care packages from women all over the country. Sarah and Ellen, my good friends at CARE, sent not one, but four boxes of chocolates made by one of their partners, Full Circle Exchange.

I received flowers, emails and countless Facebook posts from women all over the world, wishing me well. And it’s working…I am indeed getting well. Well enough, in fact, that I’ll be traveling to Washington DC next week where among other things, CARE will be re-launching its’ own famous CARE package. The original CARE Package was introduced in 1946 to deliver lifesaving food and much-needed supplies to Europeans after World War II. It was so widely embraced by the public, the name CARE Package became synonymous for gifts of comfort sent to family and friends. Times have changed and today, CARE's anti-poverty mission is doing a lot more than simply delivering boxes of goodies (though, frankly, I totally love getting boxes of goodies).

CARE now delivers tools and resources (like healthcare, education, employment opportunities and village savings and loan programs) that empower poor girls and women around the world to create positive change in their lives and communities. By visiting the new online interactive CARE package you can send a customized gift to women around the world. You can drag and drop a variety of tools into CARE’s box, like funds to provide transportation so women can get to a prenatal clinic, or make a donation to build a birth center. Maybe you can’t make a donation right now, but can add your voice and vote to the care package.

Whatever you do for another woman makes an impact. Kind thoughts, good deeds and care packages mean a lot to women struggling through health, pregnancy, and parenting challenges not unlike my own, Meghan’s or Dylan’s. Seriously, ladies…what would we do without our girls?

Next week I’ll be blogging from the CARE conference (OK, and partying with India Arie, Michael Franti and Crystal Bowersox when I’m not hanging on every word Melinda Gates and Laura Bush have to say) so join me and people from all over the world to celebrate the power of women.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to and it may be answered in a future blog post.

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.