Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Giving Thanks, Giving Back

In the spirit of my last post, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd direct you to another website you may already have heard of. It's been around for a number of years now, and I've been clicking on it almost daily. It's actually a group of sites: The Hunger Site, The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site and The Animal Rescue Site. By going there every day and clicking, site sponsors donate money to save the rainforest, feed hungry people and rescue animals, provide vaccinations and medicine for needy children, provide mammograms for low-income women, and give books to underprivileged children.

All you have to do is click. How radical is that?

All the site also have awesome shops, with many fair trade and hand crafted items, including some absolutely gorgeous jewelry (dangerous for me to look at!), Burt's Bees products, clothing, and much, much more. I love to do holiday shopping on these sites; every purchase funds more help for those in need. If I'm going to spend my money anyway, I'd like to know I'm not simply buying into my nation's rampant consumerism, I'm also doing some good.

One thing in this life I truly believe is that small actions can make big changes. Join me in taking some of those small actions; it only takes a minute to make a difference.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Save the Children

I've mentioned Save the Children on my blog before as one of the charities my husband and I chose to send donations to--and have friends and family send donations to--in memory of Ben. This charitable organization helps mothers and children all over the world. Currently, Save the Children has a campaign called "Survive to 5," and, well, the name says it all.

From their website:
"Every year, more than 9 million children in the developing world die before they reach the age of 5. That means about 25,000 children under 5 are dying every day!

Many of these deaths are from preventable or treatable illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles and complications related to childbirth. Nearly four million of these deaths occur to newborns – babies less than one month old.

Most of the deaths could be prevented through low-cost health solutions. But making these effective, affordable solutions available to families living in poor, remote communities is the key challenge."

One large part of Save the Children's mission is to train community health workers to go out to impoverished towns and villages and make sure parents know that their children need vaccinations, give support to breastfeeding mothers, provide antibiotics for infection and bed nets to prevent malaria-carrying mosquito bites. This holiday season, I'm not going to ask you to make a monetary donation, though if you find it in your heart to do so, that's wonderful. You can go to Save the Children's website and, with a few simple clicks, send a letter to President-elect Obama, your senators and congresspeople to show your support for the Global Child Survival Act, which would expand funding for things like immunizations and medicine for those who need them.

If you're a knitter or crocheter, there is also a download available with patterns to knit baby hats, which Save the Children will give to newborns in need around the world.

Even though Ben is not here with me, I have much to be grateful for. I know just how lucky I am to live in the United States in the 21st century. There's a quote, I can't remember from whom, that goes something like, "For those to whom much has been given, much is required." And I agree. This is one of my ways of giving back, small as it may be. I truly believe small actions can change the world; little things add up to great big ones, and I want every child to have a decent shot at living a wonderful life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things They Don't Tell You

They don't tell you about the friends you will lose, nor do they tell you that the world will go on when your world has stopped. They don't tell you of the songs that will make you burst into tears five years later, entire CDs you can't listen to ever again. They don't tell you about the permanent ache you can't specify in this land without a map. There is no geographical place called the land of broken hearts, no mile marker to track your progress through grief...mile 2,892, mile 2,893....nearly there, almost done, destination reached. They don't tell you that you will become the grim reaper for expectant parents everywhere, you will be the last one they inform, the one they walk away from, hoping that it doesn't happen to them. They don't tell you that you will measure other's pain by your own, rightly or wrongly. They don't tell you what to do with the overwhelming, boundless love you are aching to give to one little person, spilling out of you with nowhere to go. If they are wise, they might tell you that the hole will never fill, and they will say that you will survive, somehow.

And you do. You survive, whether you want to or not. Whether you know how to survive, or not. You go on.