While there can only be one winner, hundreds of you entered our Imagine Me & You Photo Contest. It took tens of thousands of you to share the word and bring eyes and voices to the issues of the Million Moms Challenge. So in a way, you all won. We all won. Allison and baby Clara perfectly represent everything we do here at the Million Moms Challenge. Raising awareness. Raising money. Raising action for mothers and babies who need healthy pregnancies, healthy births and healthy kids.
Allison has been a fan of Anne Geddes’ work since she was in high school! She has always loved babies and had an admiring eye for creative photography. She bought one of Anne’s books when she was a teenager and had an Anne Geddes calendar on her wall. When she was 16 she had the opportunity to spend time in Brazil, where she met a family of seven with whom she built a bond. That Christmas, she asked her family and friends to give donations to the family instead of giving her gifts. Allison sent boxes of clothes and essentials down to the family, but her Mom had one gift stashed away that she bought for Allison months earlier: Anne Geddes’ “10 in the Bed” book of photographs.
“The week the contest was announced was the week my baby was due, so we had to act quickly. My Mom saw it on Good Morning America and she knew how much of an Anne Geddes fan I was! The idea was to have a message of hope for your baby and the words we chose was the first thing that came into my head. It was from a Bob Dylan song my Dad always used to sing to me. We were messing around at my sister-in-law’s to take the picture and my little niece was with us and we decided it would look beautiful to have her hand as part of our picture.”
Allison found out she was one of the 12 finalists just after baby Clara was born. Understandably, it was a bit of a whirlwind that week. They were excited so many people had voted and shared, but it was more than that. “Knowing that every like on the page was giving a dollar towards causes to help other mothers around the world was incredible.”
Then Allison saw the Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special, Giving Life: A Risky Proposition. “Learning that giving birth is the most dangerous thing a woman can do and contrasting that with my own experience put it all into perspective, especially when you see the huge impact of sanitation and cleanliness. I always felt a connection to families around the world and becoming a mom has made that connection even deeper—my capacity to love has grown.”
Allison was in labor for three days. In her instance, it was just how her body worked and she received great care, even enduring that most hated indignation of being sent home from the hospital. Labor that doesn’t properly progress is a cause of death for many women without good care during labor and delivery. Again, the contrast. Again, perspective.
Meanwhile as Allison prepares for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, she is thrilled to meet her inspiration. “I didn’t realize Anne Geddes has such a big heart for women and babies around the world!” Allison and her husband Richard sponsor two children, one in Kenya and one in Uganda. Both of the children are over the moon about baby Clara and cannot wait to see pictures of her.
Neither can we!