Tag Archives: birth

Christy Turlington Burns Is My Girl Crush

Christy Turlington Burns Is My Girl Crush

Christy Turlington Burns is my girl crush because today she ran the New York City Marathon for mothers everywhere.

Christy Turlington BurnsIt’s not just because I grew up flipping through the pages she graced in fashion magazines.  Not just because she married Ed Burns, who is the totally hot and  amazingly talented Director & Actor. Or that she perfected her yoga practice, along the way producing a line of conscientiously made yoga gear. It is because she then went on to champion for mothers around the world with Every Mother Counts. After her own frightening experience during childbirth Christy became aware that her scenario could have been fatal, as it is for many women globally without access to the quality healthcare she had been provided. Every year hundreds of thousands of women die during or due to childbirth, mostly from preventable causes.

I have a girl crush on Christy because today she and her Every Mother Counts Team #RunEMC ran in the New York City Marathon to raise money for maternal health with the tag line, “we are running so other mothers don’t have to”.   And I think that is AMAZING. Recently I ran the FEED 10k and barely made it across the finish line, I can’t imagine the strength and dedication it takes to run a marathon!

This photo posted on Facebook the other day stopped me in my tracks.

babies copy

 

It made me think, this is why I do what I do, and I want to do more.  It made me think about the organizations I know who posted this photo, Maternova and Flight For Every Mother, of  Clean Birth Kits, and of Every Mother Counts, and Christy running the marathon. All for the sake of preventing a mother from losing her life while giving birth to another.

Why do we run?  Every Mother Counts participates in the NYC Marathon annually and other running events throughout the year to raise awareness about the impact distance and lack of transportation have on maternal mortality.  Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon these familiar racing mile-markers represent common distances pregnant and laboring women must travel in many parts of the world to reach basic and emergency healthcare services. Most of the time, they travel these distances on foot.  When roads are un-passable, transportation is unavailable and distances are too far, countless women go without prenatal care or skilled assistance at birth and far too often, the results are dangerous and tragic. Distance is the leading contributor that kills almost 300,000 women per year from pregnancy and childbirth-related conditions.-EMC Website

Here is the exciting thing, even though we didn’t run the marathon today, (I actually just got out of my pajamas), this month by downloading and using my favorite App, Charity Miles we can all participate in team Every Mother Counts. Charity Miles donates 25 cents for every mile we run or walk, so if we each do just one mile a day or a collective 26.2 miles by the end of the month, you will have generated enough funding to provide transportation for a mother in labor or in trouble to the hospital in Uganda. That or you can join the team and/or donate to the Every Mother Counts CrowdRise Page.


 

Congratulations to the Every Mother Counts Team for running the NYC Marathon while inspiring and helping mothers around the world. I’ll be running my #CharityMiles with you this month.

My Birthing Story & The State of the World’s Mothers

My Birthing Story & The State of the World’s Mothers

Each year Save The Children produces a report on the  State of the World’s Mothers. I am sharing my birthing story here in honor  of Mother’s Day and the release of the 14th annual report in hopes of raising awareness on this important issue along with other members of the Global Team of 200 . In the report the best and worst countries in which to give birth are ranked , and I think readers will be shocked to learn where the USA stands in that regard.  It is also shocking to learn that 1 Million babies die the very day they are born each year. The majority of which could be prevented.  It is that first twenty-four hours of a baby’s life that are most critical, and although annual child mortality has declined 40% world-wide since 1990, the numbers are not so favorable for the newborn.  The 2013 State of the World’s Mothers report focuses in on newborn health and the theme “Surviving the First Day.”

 Here is my story about giving birth:

I have always loved babies, and growing up I dreamt of the time when I would become a mother myself someday.  Although I also grew up believing that I could be anything I wanted to be career wise, and was lucky enough to find a career I loved, I always knew that Motherhood was personally the goal that I held most dear .  I sometimes pinch myself that all these years later I have been blessed to have become the mother of four children from a wonderful husband. People often comment on the great planning of the two-year spacing of each of our kids, and I laugh, because when we were not trying I got pregnant, and when we were trying I did not. Prior to my first pregnancy I’d heard that when you were ready to get pregnant you should stop taking the birth control pill a few months ahead of time to let your body adjust to its natural cycle. When we began thinking about starting a family I took that advice to “give my body a chance to regulate”.  Ha! We were surprised, and thrilled to find ourselves expecting that very next month!

A week past my first baby’s due date my obstetrician started to suggest induction.  I knew then that the carefully crafted birthing plan, full of all those silly quick in and out practice breathing exercises, was out the window.  It dawned on me that planning how my baby would be born was not quite as easy as I’d expected.  Sometimes nature has a way of foiling carefully laid plans like that, doesn’t it? At the same time, I was concerned enough that I did not care; I just wanted a healthy baby, and would do whatever it took for that outcome. How the baby got here lost its importance over just getting the baby here safely.

Although I had also been determined to give birth without an epidural, the anesthesiologist seemed to be sure I would cave.   He kept coming back into the room to see if I had changed my mind. He may have known a bit more about induction than I did because eventually I said, “If you tell me it will be one more hour I can do this, if you tell me five more hours, then give me the epidural!” Of course he said there was no way to be sure,  so I received the epidural.  I have to admit that things went pretty smoothly after that, and an hour later our beautiful, healthy baby girl was born.

I had lost my own mother just three months before I became a mother myself that day.  The last words she spoke to me were “I will always hold your hand”.  It was odd to me that I had not felt her presence as she’d promised since she passed away, but I was sure I would feel her there now.  I’m not sure exactly what it was that I expected, some sort of magical sign from my own mother, or spark of recognition I suppose.

Right away my newborn was put on my chest skin to skin.  I remember looking at her little face in awe, the tiny hands and feet, and thinking how miraculous that she had just been inside of me.  And here she was, her own unique little person blinking up at me. Amazing how in that instant our world shifted to revolve around her.  It sounds silly, and I’m not sure I can even articulate properly, how overjoyed as I was, I was also a bit amused and surprised that she did not look like me, or my husband, nor was she the image of my mother reborn.  She was this beautiful tiny unique individual all her own. This was one of the happiest days of my life, and my wish is that it should be for all mothers.

 

“It’s hard to imagine the depth of one mother’s pain in losing her baby the very day she gives birth, let alone a million times over,”  said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.  “Yet, this report is full of hope.  It shows there is a growing movement to save newborn lives and growing evidence that we can do it—saving up to 75 percent of them with no intensive care whatsoever.”

 

See the full rankings, learn more and take action at www.savethechildren.org/mothers

Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all-powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.


Still Looking For A Meaningful Gift? How About The Gift Of Life?

Still Looking For A Meaningful Gift? How About The Gift Of Life?

 When I was pregnant with my first child I dragged my husband to pre-natal and child-birthing classes where we practiced our breathing, and formulated a birthing plan.  Four kids later I laugh when I think about it.  I do remember when they finally induced that first baby, that a sudden fear set in.  It was the realization that something could go horribly wrong.

As my healthy baby was set on my chest after a smooth delivery, I realized that how the baby got there was not the important thing.  The “Birthing Plan” we threw out the window didn’t matter.   The only thing that mattered was that both mom and baby were fine.  I live in a country where we expect safe childbirth, and have the luxury to imagine that we can plan how it will go.

Giving birth should be a time of joy and hope for families, yet in Sub-Saharan Africa  1 in 39 risk dying in during childbirth.  In developing nations around the world  800 mothers will die giving birth each day.  These are areas without proper healthcare facilities or healthcare professionals within reach.  No mother should die in childbirth, and many who do are only in the 15-20 year old age group.  Other mother’s often leave behind older children who are then more likely to suffer from malnutrition, and a continued cycle of poverty. Most of these lives could be saved relatively easily for a small cost. This is where Maternity Worldwide comes in.

 London-based Maternity Worldwide, works to ensure safe births and increased maternal health in developing nations. By providing communities with information on maternal health and family planning, improving access to healthcare, training local midwives and doctors and providing the resources and equipment to provide safe births they are saving lives.   Maternity Worldwide is offering an alternative to traditional gift giving this Christmas with their “Save A Life This Christmas” program.

A Safe Birth Certificate can be purchased for $24. For $81 an emergency delivery is provided for a mother in sub Saharan Africa. This is the perfect gift for that someone with a giving heart, someone who has everything they need, or a friend who has just given birth to her own child, and understands the true impact of this gift.

By ordering a Safe Birth Certificate you will enable a mother in a developing country to safely give birth to her baby. The Safe Birth Certificate can be personalized with your own message, and either sent directly to the recipient or to you to give to them. Because Maternity Worldwide is based in London, the amounts are listed in pounds. (when I went on to order my gift I ended up doing it as a donation and then sending an e-mail to the provided address asking them to provide a digital gift certificate or to mail a copy to the recipient.) I encourage you to read some of the amazing case studies of funds in action on the Maternity Worldwide website.

 

What could be a more amazing gift than giving the gift of life?

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

Follow along with us here on Tumblr, on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook for the latest Global Team of 200 news.

Birth of a Mother at 45

Birth of a Mother at 45

What struck me most about turning 45, was that my mother at 45 years old gave birth to me.  I was only her second child, her first child, my brother, was born when she was 43.  That was in the 60’s when most women did not have babies that late in life, but she had been a career woman with a Ph.D. so was used to doing thing most women didn’t do at that time.   She died from breast cancer when I was seven months pregnant with my own first child, and after becoming a mother myself, I had never needed her more.

The last words my mother spoke to me were “I will always hold your hand”. I held her tiny, cold, and puffy hand through that last night of her life in the hospital. In the morning I watched her chest rise and fall, as she slowly took her very last breath. I truly expected to feel her presence then, as she had promised, but felt nothing. I looked for her everywhere for weeks, for months, but she was gone. The stark finality of death confounded me.

When my first child was born three months later, I half expected to look into her eyes and see my mother’s soul. It was clear however, that my daughter was a unique individual from the very start. I had to come to terms with the fact that my longing was just a wishful notion. The magical thinking that follows death of a loved one.
I did find her,  eventually, but not where I would have expected. A year and a half later, on a wintery night, my baby woke me with her cries. With a fierce mothers need to warm and comfort her, I brought her into bed with us. I hushed her, and soothed her, and held her hand as we both finally drifted off to sleep. My epiphany came somewhere in that half sleep state. The hand that I was holding was suddenly so familiar, tiny, cold, and puffy in mine. I had held this hand before.
I was flooded with the exaltation of a reunion with a long lost love, wakened now by the realization that a baton had been passed. My mother was there, where she had been all along. That intense mother love, that profound need to soothe my baby’s cries,resonated within, and I found her deep inside me. I was the mother now. She had shown me the way. I understood that the incredible depth of what I felt for my daughter, was how my own mother had always felt for me, and she was there.

Honestly, for the first time I reflected on the gestation, birthing, nursing, and holding, all of the draining things mothers give to their new child with love. All that she gave of herself was what brought me here, to my own motherhood. Now, whenever the small hand of one of my own children slips into mine, I hear her words, “I will always hold your hand, ” and she is there with me.

 

 

This post was modified and reposted from “I Will Always Hold Your Hand” on www.amomknowsbest.com