Do you think woman solve this problem better than men?
SH: I Think so.
Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF: I think the thing that makes it a woman thing is by vaccinating another mom, you're saving a child. That's something we all relate to. What wouldn't you do to save your child? We spend a lot of time when we're pregnant thinking of all these things. What do I have to eat? What shouldn't I drink? No dry cleaning! Not going near those chemicals!
SH: Oh my God, I didn't know about the dry cleaning.
CS: Don't quote me on that. But you know, think about the extremes we go to. So when moms hear about this campaign, it's an action moms can take. It resonates with them.
SH: The problem starts with us and the solution is also within us. The problem is with the umbilical cord. The solution is also with the mother. So it's very focused with the mother.
You've said that "this is about moms coming together." Have you annoyed other moms, your friends, trying to get them involved?
SH: Yes! I get into fights. Someone said to me, "why are you doing this for Pampers? They are not bio-degradable. You should be using the brand that is ecologically friendly." But some ["eco-friendly" diapers] aren't really biodegradable, it is that instead of 120 years, it takes 110 or 115 years to disintegrate. I actually went to Pampers and said, "Well, you should make an effort to not use bleach in your diapers." But you know what? There is no bleach. Diapers are diapers. They are bad for the environment. But these are really some of the best. I wouldn't be promoting something I didn't have respect for. So my friends that try to attack me on this, I say, "Listen. Let's talk about this. It's going to take two years longer to disintegrate than the other brands, but it's going to save hundreds of thousands of children from dying." The same person said, "I cannot believe that Valentina wears Pampers. I thought you would just talk about it but you wouldn't dare to put them on your child." And I said, "Are you crazy?"
What have you learned about parenting?
SH: I'm not a super mommy. But I do know it's so important to have a network out there to reach out to and talk to and connect. Because I've been lonely in my experience as a mother because I didn't have any friends that were pregnant at the same time. I felt lonely, and I wish I had that interaction with other mothers. And just now that I'm socializing her more I'm beginning to have that and I wish I had known where to reach out from the beginning.
What do you like to read to Valentina?
SH: She loves books. She loves them. She goes through phases where she wants the same ones. She has some French books that her father got her that are very interactive. And she has Goodnight Moon, "Good night cow that jumps over the moon!" and Goodnight Gorilla.
Does she have a lovey?
SH: My pajamas. She carries them around with her every day and every night.
Is she like you?
SH: (sighhhh) No. She isn't like her father, either. She is her own person.