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A Mother’s Love

Jennifer Stanton

Nothing is more special than a mother’s love.  As mothers, we want our kids to grow up happy and be healthy.  We want our kids to experience all the joys life has to offer and protect them from anything that may cause them fear or harm.  There isn’t anything a mother would not do for her child; it’s innate, it’s the way we were created, it’s because we love our children more than ourselves.

Jen Emma Mary

Jennifer with her twin daughters, Mary and Emma

My journey as a mother is different from most, but the love for my children is no different from any other mother’s in the world.  For me, being a mother of twin girls was a dream come true.  When Mary and Emma were born, my life felt complete.  My heart was made whole and overflowed with love.  Then, in November 2008, Mary contracted a non-vaccine preventable form of bacterial meningitis and my perfect world came to an end.  She did not exhibit any of the typical signs of meningitis and because she was vaccinated the doctors did not suspect meningitis.  Why or how she got this horrible disease, we will never know.  Mary passed away when she was only 7.5 months old.  Although my heart will be forever broken, my love continues to grow and remains as strong as it was the day she was born.  My husband and I made a choice to raise Emma in a family where love has no boundaries and with the promise to keep Mary alive through sharing our story.

This Valentine’s Day, I have the honor of attending and participating in the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign in Washington, DC.  Shot@Life is dedicated to protecting children worldwide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. Throughout the process of learning about Shot@Life, an alarming statistic has stuck with me: 1 out of 5 children lack access to life-saving immunizations. As a result, 1.5 million children die each year from diseases that could be prevented by a vaccine. That means over a million children across the globe never get a shot at a first birthday party, going swimming, or laughing with a friend.

Jen and Emma

Jennifer with 4-year-old daughter Emma

As a health care professional and a mother, I understand the importance of immunization. My girls received all the recommended vaccines for their age. What our family has learned in the four years since Mary’s passing is that there are horrible diseases present in our world, and there are not vaccines to protect us from all of them. However, we also know there are immunizations available to us in this country that can and do save lives every day.

A mother’s love has no boundaries; it is the same whether we live in the United States or far away in Africa. We all want our children to follow their dreams and have a shot at the milestones we so cherish. We are fortunate to live in a country that has access to so many life-saving vaccines.  I know we cannot protect our children from everything, but we can give our children a shot at their dreams by educating ourselves and others on the importance of vaccinations.  We can stand together and love not only our own children, but all the children in the world.

 

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