By CARRIE HALPERIN
In what may have been the biggest virtual baby shower in the world, the Million Moms Challenge and its partners partied in the Twittersphere, in chats about everything from chickens and goats to vaccines and children’s health.
Throughout the nine-hour event, 7,443 tweets chimed into the lively conversation, yielding over 94,759,108 million Twitter impressions.
“It was inspiring to see so many people, from moms to celebrities to CEOs, joining in the discussion on women’s and children’s health,” said Eric Porterfield, director of global health communications at the United Nations Foundation. “Together we all made progress on building awareness on such an important issue.”
Celebrity attendees included photographer Anne Geddes, maternal health advocate Sarah Brown and Chef Jose Andres, global ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Geddes tweeted throughout, urging moms to get involved in the Million Moms Challenge. ”Every pregnant mom deserves the same thing, a healthy baby and a safe birth,” she wrote in one post. Geddes, a native of Australia, tweeted about her home country. “Did you know 6 babies a day on average are stillborn in Australia alone.” She added, “Remember together we can make a difference.”
Brown, global patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, tweeted (@SarahBrownUK), “350,000 more midwives globally is a challenge we can deliver with support and bold steps.” Brown is married to Great Britain’s former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Chef Andres (@ chefjoseandres) tweeted with the UN Foundation on the importance of clean cookstoves. ”@cookstoves is working to empower women&girls worldwide, fight diseases like # pneumonia,” he wrote. Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires—the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly three billion people in the developing world—causes 1.9 million premature deaths annually, with women and young children most affected.
The day-long extravaganza was chock full of information and lots and lots of prizes, including DVDs of Ricki Lake’s documentary “More Business of Being Born”, an iPod Nano, T-shirts, a charm necklace, beautiful handmade scarves and jewelry. Two lucky winners even took home a goat and two chickens.
Well, they didn’t actually take them home, the winners walked away with the satisfying knowledge that the prizes — donated by Million Moms Challenge partner BlogFrog — would be donated to families in need.
Sisterhood of Motherhood
According to Tina Sharkey, CEO of BabyCenter, the Baby Shower for Global Good brought together moms, dads and celebrities to celebrate “the sisterhood of motherhood.”
“The birth of a mother is universal,” Sharkey said. “Whether your child is born in a hut or in a private hospital room, that moment of profound transformation is the same. No matter what language you speak, what personal belief system guides you, or what border surrounds you, at our core, all moms want the exact same thing – a happy and healthy family.”
Helping One Mother at a Time
Each hour of the day featured some of the most respected organizations working on maternal and newborn health around the world, including Save the Children, Partners in Health, World Vision, Riders for Health, International Medical Corps, White Ribbon Alliance and ONE.org.
During the event, ONE and RED joined together to discuss their efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation. Together they announced that the Obama administration had pledged $60 million in additional funding to fight AIDS transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. And, Ellen DeGeneres was named as the new special envoy to raise global awareness about the deadly disease.
Everyone’s a Winner
Baby shower attendees who did not win prizes walked away with new knowledge about the many challenges women face giving birth around the world. And they learned more about how to get engaged and save lives; an old cell phone in the bottom drawer could be donated to Hope Phones to help health care workers deliver care, simply buying a 2Degrees health bar at Whole Foods will feed a malnourished child, and providing access to inexpensive vaccine in Somalia could save millions of lives.
Sharing the wealth of knowledge of the event, a Tweep named GirlnamedMike tweeted “vaccines are a part of life for someone in the US, but not for many children worldwide. #amillionmoms @ShotAtLife
Simply “Like” to Give $1
Raise money for moms and babies with a “Like” of the Million Moms Challenge page on Facebook, or by signing up on MillionMomsChallenge.com. For every “Like” of the Million Moms Challenge Facebook page or sign up, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1, up to $100,000, to some of the most respected organizations helping moms and babies around the world.