“Who deserves to be called a hero?” is a question which is asked quite often in the present days. In the past, heroes could be easily recognized according to their legendary costumes and swards, in the movies or cartoons they have some super-powers and save the weak, but, of course, a real hero should have much more than only the latter. Looking up to the Oxford Dictionary, we find the following definition of a hero: “a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”. According to the same source, a heroine is “a woman admired for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”. As a matter of fact, the noble qualities which can define the hero or heroine are the inner qualities, behavior, worldview and attitude towards people. To my mind, a hero, or a heroine, is a person who helps other people by sacrificing their own profit. Those who help others with benevolent intentions, no matter be it a man or woman, can be called heroes.
Nowadays, when people become more and more self-obsessed and egoistic, it is not so easy to find a heroic person among us, but still it is possible. The heroic deeds which I always admired and which first come into my mind are committed by firefighters and rescue workers. First of all, they choose a risky work, which from the very beginning means sacrificing their own lives in sake of other people. To my mind, making a decision to choose such a dangerous but very important work is a very serious and noble step which is worth respect. As for me, the firefighters and rescue workers are the example of how one does what is right while not paying attention to what the results will be. It is timely to remember about the tragedy with crumbling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, when many men and women sacrificed their own lives and gave many children and adults a chance to live. There was even created a website, which does not let people forget about “the unselfishness and compassion with which the rescuers, firefighters, nurses, and other helpers took on to their task to save lives that very day, not minding their own life” (9-11 heroes). It reminds everyone about people, who deserve to be called heroes, and is aimed to awake willingness to help each other in different situations.
Consequently, a person who can be regarded as a hero should be willing to help other people and put their interests before his or her own. The inner qualities peculiar to a hero are dedication, kind heart, love towards humanity, high moral values, and courage. The dictionary definition lacks something very important as not only the list of noble deeds, outstanding achievements but those inner qualities make one a hero. Though nowadays human consciousness needs to be turned on, in this essay we are going to search for a real hero who would answer the latter description. Among the most influential people offered in The 2011 Time 100, I prefer to choose Heidi Murkoff. Heidi Murkoff is the author of the book What to Expect When You're Expecting, which became a “pregnancy bible” and the bestseller of books on pregnancy (About Heidi). This book is a very useful and informational aid for expecting women and their family. What to Expect When You're Expecting “has priceless advice and information that makes the experience of pregnancy more enjoyable and less stressful” (Pope).
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The idea to start writing such a book came to Heidi when she was pregnant and needed answers and advises, “reassurance for her worries”, but could not find it in the books (About Heidi). Through the book, Heidi shared her experience connected with pregnancy to help other women. The readers appreciated her inspiration and, as a result, till nowadays, she has already written series of What to Expect books about pregnancy and kids’ upbringing, which have been sold more than 34 million copies in the US alone, and are published in over 30 languages. What to Expect (WTE) became a real brand, and later in 2005, Heidi Murkoff has expanded this brand online. Nowadays there exists a site, where all mothers or future mothers can search for the answers they need. As a result of her devoted commitment and love to pregnant women and children, Heidi has created the ‘What to Expect Foundation’, a nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to helping underserved families expect safe deliveries, healthy pregnancies and healthy, happy babies. Taking the abovementioned into account, I believe, a person who dedicates his/her forces to help others like Heidi Murkoff deserves to be called a hero.
If we look deeply, it is obvious that the idea to write a book, which would be aimed to help people, characterizes Heidi Murkoff as a helpful, kind person, whose heart is full of love, and who cares about women, children, about humanity on the whole. Heidi Murkoff is trying to simplify other women’s lives with the help of advice based on her own life experience. Moreover, having a family of her own, she finds time to continue the series of her books when she found out her female readers really need them, which can prove again that this woman sacrifices her time and forces for the sake of helping other people.
According to the scientific researches of Charles J. Lockwood and some other scholars, “maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity has increased significantly in terms both of primary studies at the national level and the number of systematic reviews synthesizing such data” (9). Among different reasons for that, we find future mothers’ unawareness of how it is right to behave when expecting and, in many cases, not knowing where to find answers to their question. Consequently, we can regard Murkoff’s book as the one, which can even save lives of a mother and a child, and that is another argument acknowledging the high value of her work and her books.
Another point which also shows the importance and popularity of Heidi Murkoff’s book is that it became a basis for the same-named movie, which can be an easy and entertaining way to prepare the younger generation of women and men to the possible problems and maybe teach how to avoid them (Pope). Such positive influence on younger generation is of great importance for the future, and it proves again the noble aims of the author.
One more point which cannot be ignored is that Heidi Murkoff has committed another noble deed; she has founded a ‘What to Expect Foundation’. As it was previously mentioned, a hero would do the noble deeds to help people without any idea of its profitability, so Heidi Markoff’s foundation is based on her own money, her benevolent intentions and love towards children, not her desire to earn anything or get some benefit.
I believe all the arguments mentioned above acknowledge that Heidi Murkoff is worthy being called a hero. The work, to which she has dedicated all her forces, is a real rescue for many young mothers and kids. Heidi’s experience embodied in her books and blogs on her site contributes not only to separate lives, healthy pregnancies and healthy, happy babies but, as a result, to national health. Though she has no super-powers and she has not sacrificed her life, her inner qualities, worldview and attitude towards people deserves admiration. If life is the most precious gift, Heidi Murkoff, who values others’ lives so much and puts her forces to save them the way she can, is the one who can be called a real heroine of our time.