Bloggers for Birth Kits: Helping moms in developing nations by reducing maternal mortality
Update March 2014: Over 10,000 clean birth kits donated and promised as of last count. Amazing.
Help save a mama’s life this Mothers Day
Have you ever had a rough day parenting where everything’s gone wrong? The baby won’t stop crying, the toddler won’t stop yelling, the dinner is burning, your well-laid-out plans fell through, the laundry’s refusing to fold itself, and the energy to cope just. isn’t. there?
Of course you have.
One of my hardest stints as a mom was around this time last year. I was in that I’m-so-tired-I-might-die part of early pregnancy. My toddler was teething molars and consequently not sleeping well (hello overtired, overactive bundle of fire!). It was Melt Down City around here. My husband was away on a work trip in Papua New Guinea for four weeks and I was feeling overwhelmed by going at it alone.
Mothers Day was approaching and I was feeling mopey and sorry for myself. Who would make me breakfast in bed? Who would give me a day “off” to do something meeeeee-centered that I enjoyed? Who would bring me flowers?
At some point of wallowing in my own self-centeredness, I began to think of moms in places that would never expect to be celebrated the way I was assuming I “deserved”.
I thought of moms like the ones in rural Papua New Guinea where the rate of maternal death is 1 in 7 and it shook me right out of my pathetic, self-centered pity party.
Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, I decided that I would focus on honoring these precious and brave women by doing my small part to make their lives better.
In that moment…
Clean birth kits can save lives
Did you know that a simple clean birth kit can help save a mom’s life? Did you know that for around $2-3 you can assemble one? And did you know that everything you need to make one can be found easily and quickly at your local hardware store and pharmacy?
Look how simple these clean birth kits are…
And yet, even in their simplicity, they can mark the difference between life and death for a woman unable to get to a regional clinic for birthing her baby.
Clean Birth Kit specifics
1. Soap (for the birth attendant to wash her hands). Use a hotel-size soap or cut a regular bar of soap into 1/8-sized pieces. (Microwave the bar of soap for 30 seconds to soften it for cutting).
2. One pair of plastic gloves (for the birth attendant to wear).
3. Five squares of gauze (to wipe the mum’s perineum and baby’s eyes). Gauze pieces should be about 10×10 centimeters or 3×3 inches.
4. One blade (to cut the cord). You can buy individually wrapped sterile blades at the pharmacist or buy utility blades (much cheaper) at the hardware store. We teach the women to boil the blades for sterilization, so utility blades work just fine.
5. Three pieces of string (2 for tying the cord, 1 for “just in case”). String should be about 30 centimeters or 10 inches long.
6. One plastic sheet (for a clean birthing surface). Sheet should be approximately 1×1 meter or 1×1 yard and can be purchased at your hardware or paint store.
7. One sandwich-size ziplock bag (to pack the contents).
Will you join me?
This year, in honor of Mothers Day, will you join me in making a difference in the area of maternal and infant care in the developing world by contributing to the Love A Mama clean birth kit drive?
How to get involved in Love A Mama’s Bloggers for Birth Kits:
CRITICAL UPDATE AS OF MARCH 2014: If you are interested in assembling clean birth kits or getting involved another way, please check my Love A Mama Clean Birth Kit FAQ page where I will continue to post the latest relevant information.
Here is a video that I made during our first year of collecting clean birth kits. (Feel free to repost it or link to it.) During the first part I tell the story of how B4BK was born, and from the 3-minute mark you can see step-by-step instructions for how to assemble your own kit.
Moms loving moms
I know from the response to Love A Mama’s Bloggers for Birth Kits campaign last year that moms care about moms. We love our children and we know without a doubt that every mother’s heart beats the same. When given the chance we are quick to lend a hand to other mamas in need.
Why don’t you consider donating funds or—even better—gathering a group of your mama-friends together to assemble your own box of kits?
These kits, along with hundreds more, are sailing on our Medical Ship, to Papua New Guinea. (Ryan and I will take the boys to join our volunteers there in August. And let me tell you – we. can’t. wait.)
Dear friends, will you consider extending beyond yourself this Mothers Day to remember her who doesn’t enjoy the luxuries that you and I do? And will you make a tangible step to improve or save the life of a mama you’ve never met?
P.S. Wondering what to get your mom for Mothers Day?
If you’d like to give your mom (or granny or another special woman) a meaningful gift this Mothers Day, consider making a donation to B4BK on her behalf. I will email you a personalized printable that you can include in her card:
Cut-off for Mothers Day cards
If you’d like to make a donation that includes a Mothers Day card the deadline is Wednesday, May 9, 2012.
Link up your Bloggers for Birth Kit posts
Bloggers, if you write a post promoting B4BirthKits, please link it up below.