Back to the birth of our movement

Dec 15, 2014


Deborah Kidd
science writer

The author's own newborn. “Umm… now what do we do?”

Someone in my family is brand new. As this blog posts, I'm freshly arrived in Atlanta to lend an extra set of hands to my sister, her husband, and their newborn daughter.

As I prepared to impart experienced advice (while humbly admitting I will never really have this parenting thing figured out), I got to thinking about the whirlwind first weeks of DefeatDD, our baby in many ways. At times it felt like ushering our online movement into the virtual world paralleled those overwhelming early days of parenthood. And much of the advice carries over quite appropriately:

1.       You have no idea how much you don't know.

Preparation, while important, was just one step on our early path. Just as children grow and end up teaching their parents as much about the world as we try to teach them, we've found that online advocacy still teaches us something new each day. Case in point: Sometimes an irreverent online campaign trumps a press release in getting the attention of a high-profile journalist. 

Further we found that, to help navigate this learning curve…


2.       Community is key.
Even in the ever-evolving world of online advocacy, chances are someone has already run into the challenges you'll face. Much with new parents, who can't imagine that anyone has ever been so tired, that a laundry pile has ever been so tall, or yes, that a tiny human can poop so very much. But countless others have been there before, and they can be your rock. That's why…


3.       When others offer help, TAKE IT!

Tapping into existing networks, joining tweet chats, calling for users' advice on how better to structure our website - all of these invaluable gifts have helped DefeatDD amplify our messages while giving us the opportunity to reciprocate and build stronger relationships. This reciprocation is your secret weapon in the first weeks of parenthood, too: When a neighbor asks if she can bring by a casserole or help scale that mountain of laundry, sure she wants to help. But she really wants to see that sweet new baby. Chances are, you'll end up with fresh, folded burp cloths and she'll float away on snuggly newborn vibes thinking you are the one who did her a favor! 

Community is key in raising a collective voice to defeat diarrheal disease.
By helping each other, we help advance our shared cause.


4.       There's no turning back.

Just as the birth of a human sets you up to parent in some way/shape/form for the rest of your own life, so does the birth of a movement. The progress achieved thus far takes vigilance: Diarrheal diseases can't be eradicated, but their devastating toll can one day be eliminated. We must continue our conversations, keep raising our voices, advance research, and share evidence of success in order to stimulate and sustain a lasting impact. Which means that…


5.       There will always be more to do.

My list as a mother never achieves all its checkmarks. There are always more carpets to vacuum, more veggies to steam. And as an advocate, there will always be a new audience who needs to hear your message. The key to containing our task-list is prioritization. And through our work with DefeatDD, we have prioritized you!



Thank you for all of your support throughout DefeatDD's lifetime. Here's to 5, 10… countless years more!


Other posts in DefeatDD's fifth birthday series:

-- How DefeatDD broke my poo taboo: "Are those toilets on your office wall? DefeatDD newcomer Elayna had explaining to do to friends and family.

-- From pneumonia to poo-monia: Lauren remembers when her job turned to shit... the fight against it, that is. Pneumonia and diarrhea advocacy may not be such an unlikely alliance after all.

-- Take this job -- and LOVE it: Why DefeatDD's director says she has the greatest job in the world. 

-- What it means to be five: Allison's son, Nate, also turns five yeras old this year, and he taught his mom some important things about this big milestone. 

-- DefeatDD is five years old: And we wouldn't be here without you!