Maternal rights aren’t top of the list in every country – whether you are in the US or Uganda.
And care can vary widely depending on where you are lucky – or unlucky – enough to give birth.
Our organisation Safe Motherhood Week was established with this in mind, and we are always keen to laud other motherhood heroes. One of those is supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, who established Every Mother Counts in 2010 to heighten awareness about the global maternal health crisis.
Christy told ABC News recently that shortly after giving birth to a perfectly healthy daughter, she began to experience postpartum complications. She explained those first moments bonding with her daughter were cut short because of growing concern that she had not yet gone into the fourth stage of labor as expected.
“In my case, the placenta had grown into the uterine wall, and because of that, it needed to be extracted. And because of that, I hemorrhaged,” she said.
She said she couldn’t help think what could have happened if she didn’t have the right team and tools available. “imagine if you don’t have a team or a person who can identify what’s even happening. And then if you’re in a place that is not hygienic, or if you have a team treating you that hasn’t been trained in postpartum complications. That sets you up for the absolute worst outcome.”
And while the maternal death rate is a major cause for concern. Christy also makes pains to highlight the issue of maternal morbidity – where the woman may be forced to live with the consequences of childbirth and pregnancy complications for the rest of her life.
“There are a lot of women like myself who endured a childbirth-related complication but some of those women don’t recover from those complications,” she said. “You might have a lifelong disability that will not only cause trauma, but pain and discomfort,” she added.
Since 2012, Every Mother Counts has provided more than $4 million in grants and has impacted over 600,000 lives around the world. We believe that Christy Turlington-Burns is a motherhood hero. Who was your motherhood hero? Feel free to nominate yourself!