If it weren’t for the excellent health care I received when I was pregnant, neither I nor my maddening adorable teenagers would be here today. In some places in the world, that health care is not as readily available as it is here in the US. Actually, for some mothers here in the US, that health care is not so ready and available. Maternal mortality has doubled in the US in the last ten years.

I was lucky. My first pregnancy would not have had a happy outcome if it weren't for a clean emergency room, skilled doctors, a great deal of modern medicine, and the health insurance that allowed me to avail myself of that care. Many mothers in the world don't have access to the care I got. In some places there are no hospitals, doctors, medicine or knowledge. In other cases, no insurance or awareness of the dangers. In fact, every day 1,000 mothers die in childbirth. That is one woman every 90 seconds. Those deaths are tragic and leave families, communities, and children bereft. And they are completely avoidable. The medicine exists to prevent almost the conditions that would cause a woman to lose her life while giving life. Some women simply don’t have access to that medicine. Merck has started a 10-year, half-billion-dollar initiative – Merck for Mothers – that hopes to create a world where no woman has to die from preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

As part of this initiative, Merck will give $1 to Join My Village for every Mother’s Day e-card sent from its Merck for Mothers site. The cards are sure to make Mom feel great. They cost you nothing. And they help prevent this unnecessary and tragic loss.

You can still give Mom flowers, too, if you want.

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column forFamily Circle, and is the author of "How to Be a Geek Goddess." You can find her at GeekGirlfriends.com.