BENEFITING: Every Mother Counts
ORGANIZER: Every Mother Counts
EVENT DATE: Nov 05, 2017
I did not set out this year to run a marathon, but then I learned about a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. This is a cause that’s especially close to my heart--you can read about why below. You can also skip to the end for a link to donate!
Why “Every Mother Counts”?
I am the lucky mother of two healthy, hearty boys (Paul is now 3 and never walks when he can run and Jakob is 9 months and is already trying to follow his big brother everywhere). Before I became their mom, I thought I was invincible, walking through life without too many cares. However, when Paul was born, when the doctors placed him on my chest and I held him for the first time, I was overcome by how much I loved this little, screaming thing, but also by how much I now had to lose. Elizabeth Stone put it best when she said, “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
With Paul, I was lucky to have an uncomplicated labor in a great Toronto hospital. However, just after Jakob was born, I started to hemorrhage. My midwives acted swiftly; I was given an injection of Oxytocin to help stop the bleeding and I quickly stabilized, all while Blake held our blissfully unaware Jakob sleeping against his bare chest.
The loss of blood took its toll and left me iron deficient and exhausted. It took more than a month of iron supplements, hundreds of oysters (very high in iron!), and Blake’s liver and onions to get me back to healthy levels so that I had the energy to be a mom twice over. We had a lot of help that month from family and friends, from our “village.”
Had I given birth to Jakob in rural Namibia, my story may have ended there. Every 2 minutes a mother dies in the developing world giving birth.
About “Every Mother Counts”
In 2013, I spent two weeks volunteering with a medical clinic in Namibia, not far from the Kalahari Desert. The women giving birth in these villages would have to walk more than ten miles to our clinic or travel more than 60 miles to the nearest hospital. They would not have access to Oxytocin, the drug that may have saved my life.
Every Mother Counts works to address three main barriers to maternal health around the world: lack of transportation, supplies and education. Many women live miles away from healthcare providers and facilities, with extremely limited access to transportation; health centers and caregivers lack the basic supplies and equipment necessary to do their jobs; and skilled attendance at all births is considered to be the single most critical intervention for ensuring safe motherhood.
Every Mother Counts has given grants to support the training of indigenous women to become midwives in Guatemala, provided more than 85,000 transportation vouchers to mothers in Uganda to allow them to visit clinics for prenatal care and safe deliveries, purchased forty “solar suitcases” that provide power to rural clinics in Malawi, and supported the training of activists and lawyers in India who document maternal health rights violations and secure legal judgments mandating better healthcare for mothers. You can read more about their grants here.
Here is a short video that explains how the organization came to be and also gives a great overview of their mission.
Raising Funds for Mothers Everywhere
Childbirth and childrearing are both marathons. Each mile, each day, we have to just keep moving forward by whatever means possible.. Races are great metaphors for the average distances women in many developing countries have to travel, usually on foot, to reach basic and emergency health care during pregnancy and labor. Many times, distance and lack of transportation prevent women from reaching the care needed in time to save their lives.
Raising a family takes a village, whether that is an actual cluster of corrugated metal huts in Namibia or my collection of family and friends that help us muddle through on the harder days. I am asking you, my “village,” to support me in this marathon.
I was lucky to have my children in the first world with very good care at my doorstep. We each know that the world isn’t fair, but running this marathon and raising this money will be a step towards making it just as safe for a young woman in the third world to have a baby as it is for me in Toronto.
Thank you for your support!