One of the best times of my life was the birth of my younger son and the few hours right after. The birth was so easy compared to my first son’s birth. I didn’t consciously push; my body just surged twice and his head came out into my mother’s waiting hands, then my body surged again and the rest of him came out into my midwife Martine’s hands. After my son and I were cleaned up and tucked into bed, Martine had to fill out paperwork and monitor me, so my mother made coffee and I could hear the two of them talking and laughing in the living room while I snuggled in with my new baby. It was the safest I’ve ever felt, surrounded by the love and strength of these two smart women, my mother and Martine the healer.
At the prenatal care visit right before I gave birth, Martine and my mom and I had been talking about maternal mortality rates in Haiti, and how there was a fledgling initiative to save women’s lives by giving them two piece of string (to tie off the cord) and a clean razor (to cut the cord). Those two small things were preventing mothers and babies in Haiti from getting sepsis and dying. Think about how simple those things are–string and a razor–and how heartbreaking it is that mothers were dying because they didn’t have them. I was so, so grateful to be born where I was so that I not only had access to clean supplies and a safe birthing place, but a knowledgeable midwife who was dedicated to keeping my baby and me safe and healthy. Why shouldn’t every woman have that?
Today my ex-husband and I threw a birthday party for the baby I had that day, who turned 7 on Thursday. I made the cake he wanted and he had friends over to play Wii and act like 7-year-olds. I thought about the day he was born, and I thought about all the women who, for lack of clean supplies or safety, aren’t alive to see their children turn 7.
I won’t be with my children on Mothers’ Day tomorrow–their father and I have switched Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day this year because of vacation schedules. But there are so many mothers who won’t be with their children tomorrow because they died of preventable causes. And 1,000 mothers will die tomorrow, on Mothers’ Day.
That’s why I support the No Mothers Day campaign for Every Mother Counts. I’ll be observing 90 seconds of silence with my own mother tomorrow for all the moms who aren’t with their children anymore. Watch the video to see what you can do: