As an actress, I have the chance to see the world through the eyes of the characters I play, but no role influenced my perspective more than becoming a mother.
When I first had my daughter Lucia, I focused on the ins and outs of being a new mom. But having a child is more than all of the preparation and sleepless nights -- it's a moment of connection to a world full of other women like you. Women who, no matter where they are from or what job they do, know the wonder and responsibility of bringing a life into our world.
With motherhood comes the want to protect and provide a bright future for your children. I feel lucky to have two healthy kids who thrive both at play and at school.
We can't always give our children everything we desire, but I feel lucky to give my children the fundamental gifts that will ultimately lead them to live healthy, happy lives. Living in the United States gives me the resources, like vaccines, to help give my children a shot at a healthy life. And with that, hopefully success, happiness, love and whatever else life brings them. For me, it's a no brainer -- getting my children immunized was an immediate part of their healthcare. Despite the cries and tantrums, I knew that this little shot was the best way to ensure that my children would grow up healthy, strong and thrive. However, I know that many mothers around the world aren't able to give their children the same gift. This breaks my heart.
In many developing countries, vaccines are hard to come by. Immunizations are one of the best tools a mother has to give her child a shot at a healthy life. A few simple vaccines can help to protect a child from some of the most deadly diseases in the world -- vaccination gives kids an invisible layer of protection. Not only are vaccines effective, but they are also low-cost; just $20 is enough to protect a single child from four of the most deadly diseases. They are life-saving miracles that we shouldn't take for granted.
I think back to last fall when I met Dennis Ogbe, an incredible Paralympian who suffered the crippling effects of polio as a child. Did you know that polio still exists -- threatening the lives of children around the world? By making sure that every child, no matter where they live, gets vaccinated against polio, we are not only ensuring that individual child's safety; we are bringing the world one step closer to eradication; fighting to end this disease once and for all.
As mothers, we are bound not only to help protect our own children, but all children. Vaccines provide a safety net; the more we vaccinate, the more society is protected from sometimes-fatal diseases. When Lucia brings home a beautiful drawing from school, I live in that moment -- all mothers deserve to share the most important milestones of their children without fearing vaccine-preventable diseases.
Through global motherhood, we can help to protect and prolong the life of every child. We can give every mother the chance to see her children grow up.