Our Sister’s Keepers

May 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

“That one-third of the world’s women are deprived of their right to bear girls is the biggest women’s rights abuse on earth. This is the true War on Women, and it deserves a passionate response.”

-Reggie Littlejohn

The three deadliest words in the world: “It’s a girl.” 100 million babies have been aborted, killed, or abandoned simply because they were girls. In China, India, and other regions, women are pressured and even forced to undergo gender-based abortions because of cultural, economic, and/or political reasons. Some women also suffer forced sterilizations in these regions. The boy-girl ratios in these countries are extremely unbalanced after decades of boy-preference. And those girls who are left are at extreme risk of abduction, abuse, sexual assault/exploitation, and other horrors.

“We can tip the bowls of Heaven. When interceding tears meet with God’s, they have the power to alter society and generations to come, to change governments and deliver people and nations caught in unbelievable situations. This is justice and this is how women fight!”

                                                                             -Evangeline Johnson

Film Review: Birth Story

April 24, 2013 at 4:52 am

“Some of the best birth footage out there–a must-see for anyone even remotely interested in the subject.” -Ceridwen Morris, CCE, childbirth educator, and co-author of From The Hips

When I received an email last week asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the film Birth Story on my blog, I immediately responded, “Yes!” I received my copy of the film over the weekend. My husband watched some of it with me, in between doing the dishes. I was impressed at how much it didn’t seem to freak him out. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. He’s been married to me for almost twelve years, after all.

Give the gift of survival

November 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

“We continue because marginalization continues, we continue because we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of women and children.” -Dr. Robert Lokong, volunteer doctor

This year my dad and stepmom are doing something different for Christmas. They asked all their children and grandchildren to select a project from Global Giving, and they will donate $10 for each person in the family. My family has selected to donate to the Onura Maternal Survival Project and Hope Ofiriha maternity clinic in South Sudan. From the project website:

The maternal mortality rate in South Sudan is one of the highest in the world. An absence of trained healthcare staff, structures, and paved roads means the small, rustic maternity clinic Hope Ofiriha runs in the Onura settlement is the only medical facility about 3,500 area women can turn to. . . . The clinic isn’t fully equipped to handle deliveries, so many mothers needlessly die giving birth.

Since there are six of us, that means $60 for the project. I am thinking of talking to our children about finding some other projects to donate our Christmas money to. I’ve had a hard time feeling the “Christmas Spirit” for the past few years, but this just might be what I needed to pull out of that funk.

Sending you my love, mothers and babies of South Sudan. I wish I could do more. Maybe someday I will.

For them I could

December 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Over the weekend, I attended a Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) training taught by Karen Strange. My mind is still trying to process all of the information we were given in those ten hours together. So much to think about and practice! One of my main reasons for taking the class was that I wanted to be prepared to assist pregnant mothers and newborns in a potential disaster situation.  I wanted to know how to help women on the side of the road, in an elevator, in a disaster relief camp, etc. Karen Strange’s NRP class focuses on neonatal resuscitation in an out of hospital setting, so I knew it was going to be the best choice for my purposes. I’m so grateful for the tools we were given to not only help new babies come into life but also to keep ourselves calm and grounded as we encounter those sometimes intense situations.

Rubbing shoulders with all those lovely midwives, doulas, and mommas was wonderful, of course. And it had me asking myself, once again, am I heading toward midwifery? Then, last night, midwife Robin Lim was selected as CNN’s 2011 Hero of the Year. I am so inspired by Robin and midwives like her who offer their love and skills in behalf of those who are desperate for true caregiving. As I pondered my weekend and Robin Lim, I kept thinking of this post I wrote on my old blog in April of 2010. I do think I will end up catching babies. And this is why…

Suicide: the silent thief of mothers

September 13, 2010 at 11:23 pm

A story my sister-in-law told several years ago has been on my mind today. She had been living in Denmark as a missionary and had a strong feeling one day that they needed to stop and visit a particular friend who had recently given birth. Upon their arrival at her home, the woman (visibly distressed) started crying and explained that she had become overwhelmed with thoughts of harming herself or her new baby, so she had been calling out to God to please send help. My sister-in-law’s arrival likely prevented a horrible tragedy that day.

This story was on my mind because of an alarming fact I discovered for the first time today. For so long I have read and believed that hemorrhage was the leading cause of maternal death. And hemorrhage does, in fact, account for a large portion of maternal deaths–25% of them, according to the World Health Organization. What I didn’t know was that there is (more specifically in the developed world) a larger and more disturbing cause of maternal death.  According to the 1997 to 1999 Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths conducted by British medical researchers, the leading cause of maternal death (within pregnancy and the year following childbirth) wasn’t hemorrhage.

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