Heather Armstrong is an internet celebrity. One of the first, really. Her excellent blog, Dooce, in existence for over ten years now, has helped countless women navigate the tricky waters of first-time motherhood and postpartum depression.
Now it appears that other celebs are taking notice of the top mom blogger’s influence. Armstrong was recently invited by supermodel Christy Turlington to attend a screening of her new movie, No Woman, No Cry.
The movie is about the prenatal and post-natal care (or lack thereof) women around the world receive.
Here’s what Armstrong says about No Woman, No Cry:
I think it reached inside me so profoundly because of all that I learned in the research I did leading up to Marlo’s birth, one I prepared to do without drugs. And I was fortunate enough to achieve that goal. Fortunate enough. I had choices and options. Which doctor did I want to be there when I delivered my child? Which hospital? Which doula? What did I want playing on the stereo? I had Radiohead playing when Marlo entered the world, I had that ridiculous option, and yet so many women around the world are alone or ill-equipped or too poor to have adequate care when pregnant. Women are routinely dying because of complications during pregnancy, and I got to choose which damn song I wanted to listen to. Hell yes, I’m giving this film every ounce of free publicity I can.
The documentary marks the directorial debut of Turlington and is in part based on her own personal birthing experience. Shortly after she gave birth to her daughter, Grace, Turlington experienced a very rare post-labor complication called postpartum hemorrhage. In cases of PPH, the placenta becomes embedded in the uterine wall, leading to heavy bleeding and infection. When she still had not delivered the placenta after an hour, Turlington’s doctor was called in to physically rip it off her wall. “It was an excruciatingly painful experience. The delivery of Grace was nothing compared to it and I’d had no pain relief then either,” the model says.
A few years later, while pregnant with son Finn, Turlington learned on a trip to San Salvador that PPH actually contributes to a majority of maternal deaths worldwide in developing countries. “The fact is 90 per cent of these maternal deaths are preventable,” she explains. Additionally Turlington says that about 15 percent of all pregnancies will have complications. “But not all women will get the emergency care that they need.”
Her goal with No Woman, No Cry is to raise awareness about the issue. Turlington personally financed the film herself. It documents women in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the US.
In Tanzania, a young pregnant woman named Janet has to walk to the rural health clinic which is one hour away. The clinic has four beds, one mid-wife and one nurse.
Almost every birth in Bangladesh takes place at home. Women who give birth at a health clinic are considered disgraceful.
In Guatemala, No Woman, No Cry delves into abortion. Since abortion is illegal in Guatemala even in cases of incest or rape, women who have tried to undergo one are highly stigmatized. According to Turlington, she particularly chose this story, because there are wards of women denied post-abortion care.
Here’s a sneak peek at the film:
You can watch No Woman, No Cry when it debuts on television: Oprah Winfrey Network, Saturday May 7th at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) the evening before Mother’s Day. If you’d like to learn more you can visit Every Mother Counts or check out the Facebook page. You can also follow Christy on Twitter where she posts frequent updates.