Today, I’m flying to New Jersey, because New Jersey is awesome, but also because Johnson & Johnson is there, and I kind of work for them – as a social media ambassador slash advisor on all things related to moms in social media using social media for social good, which is one of those job descriptions that sounds like a caption on an Oatmeal comic, but there you go – and we’re doing a thing this weekend – we’re calling it a salon – strategizing and brainstorming with a small group of moms-in-social-media type persons about using social media for social good, etc. And I’m excited, not only because New Jersey is awesome and who doesn’t want to go to New Jersey in February, but because some of the causes that we’ll be discussing are near and dear to my heart and I love talking about them and thinking about how to help them and I would totally work to help them out for free. Don’t tell J&J that.
One of those causes is PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV), and in particular, the work done by Mothers 2 Mothers in that area, work that I saw in action when I was in Lesotho last September working with the Global Fund/Born HIV Free campaign. I met the co-founder of Mothers 2 Mothers, Robin Smalley, at TedWomen (M2M is supported by J&J, who was also a sponsor of TedWomen; I attended as J&J’s guest), and we got to talking about what they might do for a social media campaign around Mother’s Day, and then we talked about it more after TedWomen, and then we moved past to talking to doing, and now we have something in the works, which I’ll probably talk about in New Jersey, and which I’ll certainly hit you all up to get involved in, which you will, I hope, because this is important. The biggest hope for turning the tide on HIV resides with women, who will walk – who are walking – across mountains to make sure that their children have an HIV-free future, and Mothers 2 Mothers does extraordinary work supporting them in that effort to protect those futures.
I keep coming back to her, because she represents, for me, exactly that hope, the hope for – the expectation of – a future in which anything is possible. Her story – as limited and partial as it is here – is the story of that hope. And there are other girls and other children and – per Mothers 2 Mothers – other women, mothers, whose stories are stories of hope. Many of those stories are also stories of pain and fear – I told you about Mammope, whose naked fear broke my heart into a million jagged pieces – but they are, all of them, end of the day about hope. And even the tiniest bit of hope can be everything.
And anything I can do to support that hope, I want to do. Not because I’m some super good person who thrives on selflessness and do-goodery. I’m not. I’m self-centred and cranky and prone to random bitchiness. But keeping those million jagged pieces of my heart together requires more than just duct tape. It requires doing something. So I’m doing something. Or, at least, trying.