The Sisterhood of Motherhood

We can't do this job of mothering without the support of each other.

Young mothers with their babies. Babyletto

Once you're a mother, you have a bond with women in other parts of the country and in fact with mothers all over the world. This bond encourages all of us to raise the next generation of Americans and world citizens to reach their highest potential because our children will change the world for better or worse. We mothers are in this together and I, for one, am grateful that we have each others' backs.

When I'm not writing the Ask The Labor Nurse blog for or working on my upcoming book (Brass Tacks Pregnancy, Ten Speed Press, Spring 2015), I'm Senior Writer for Every Mother Counts, a global maternal health advocacy organization working to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality all over the world. I talk with women, men and mothers from all over the world about their stories and struggles as they became parents. I write about the issues that empower women to be healthy throughout pregnancy and childbirth and the issues that result in maternal deaths. Many of these stories and issues come from right here at home in the United States.

I became passionate about the issue of maternal public health years ago when I became involved with the global humanitarian organization, CARE, and traveled to Peru to write about maternal health programs that had reduced maternal mortality by 75% in under five years. I collaborated with Christy Turlington Burns (model and maternal health advocate) on that article (and a couple of others) over the years.

Eventually, I joined the staff of her organization, Every Mother Counts, to add my writing, maternal health and labor and delivery knowledge to the organization's efforts to raise awareness and fund grants that save mothers' lives. Much of what I write about for both Every Mother Counts and in my book (The Complete Illustrated Birthing Companion, Quayside Press, January 2013) explores solutions to the maternal health problems that have resulted in the US dropping to 60th in the world. There's so much women can do to improve their health, pregnancy and birth experiences. There's so much we can accomplish when women work together to raise our voices about the issues mothers face all over the world.

We Are That Village

Moms: We really are in this together. We really can't do this impossible job of mothering without the support of our sisters. Your sisterhood of motherhood might include the women on your block, your family-sisters, cousins and girlfriends. It might include the other mothers in your prenatal education and yoga classes and the women you'll meet at your child's preschool, grade school and sports teams. But it also includes women on the other side of the world who you'll probably never meet. It doesn't matter, you're still raising the worlds' children together.

No matter what your background or life circumstances, every mother you meet is part of the club. When you come across a mother you don't know in the course of your day, you may not know her story, but you'll know that she's doing what you're doing – changing diapers and living on no sleep, wiping noses while she fixes her makeup and doing her best to meet every one of her child's needs, even at the expense of her own. She's hugging and scolding, guiding and nudging, dressing, bandaging, driving, feeding, working, praying, cleaning and playing. She's loving her child as best she can and sometimes, you'll know, being her best is a really hard thing to do. You'll know in your heart that if there is something you can do to make her job as a mother easier, you'll do it in a heartbeat, because no matter who she is, she's part of your sisterhood of motherhood.

For those of you who are pregnant now, welcome to the club. We've been expecting you and we've got your back.

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

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