When I saw with my own eyes a woman giving birth in the mud in Papua New Guinea it changed me.
I knew the statistics—that one woman dies in childbirth every moment—but I didn’t know their names. Knowing her name, Bokoro, altered everything for me.
Related: Read Bokoro’s story (photos taken with permission)
I would never unsee that ankle-deep mud, the pools of blood, the narrow wooden plank, the tattered plastic tarps strung up to shield her from the rain. I would never unsee Bokoro in her strength and dignity, her resilience and beauty as she did what mothers in her region have been doing for centuries—giving birth in make-shift birth huts behind their homes, cutting the umbilical cord with a piece of rock or sharpened bamboo, holding their babies close as they wipe blood and vernix and mud off their tiny bodies.
Since 2011 the women of the Love A Mama Collective and I have been using Mother’s Day as an important reminder: safe birth is not something every woman has access to. All over the world women are giving birth in places where medical care is not accessible and sanitation is poorly understood. Instead of celebrating Mother’s Day with breakfast in bed like we do in nations like the USA, Australia, and others, countless mothers in developing nations are absent from their families because they’ve lacked simple resources, health education, and access to qualified maternal care.
The Love A Mama Collective exists to see this change.
Over the years we have resourced our partners in the field with thousands of clean birth kits, we’ve outfitted rural health centers with solar powered light and dopplers and equipment, we’ve equipped midwives with health education materials, and have tackled a number of other maternal health-related projects. And we’ve done all of it by linking arms through the internet, pooling our resources, and empowering every day women to empower one another.
Women empowering women. Sounds like a good idea for Mother’s Day, right?
Right now we’re in our third year of funding a midwifery scholarship for a young women to receive training in central India where she’ll be serving an area with zero access to maternal health care. To give some perspective on the lack of available care, imagine 17 or 18 OBGYNs servicing all of Australia. And now imagine those doctors are only in the largest cities. This is what it’s like in their area—18 OBGYNs in their entire state of 25 million people.
Not only is our scholarship recipient studying to become a nurse-midwife, but she’s in training to know how to help train other birth attendants to help her serve these communities. She’s a midwife with a mission of local multiplication—women empowering women—to see the statistics turned around in their area.
Donate on behalf of your mom (mum!)
Are you still looking for a gift for your own mom this Mother’s Day? Give her a gift that will give back. And back. And back. Imagine the countless multiplied families that will be impacted by better maternal care as our midwife multiplies her skills throughout the area, training other village birth attendants, moms, sisters, aunties, and grandmothers.
When you give a gift of $10 or more to the Love A Mama Midwifery Scholarship Fund during this year’s Mother’s Day drive (2017!), we’ll send you a printable note for your mom so she can see the donation made on her behalf.
Bonus gift for midwifery scholarship donors
This year, I’m also excited to announce that every single donor who gives $10 or more to the scholarship fund will be entered to win a Mum+Bub Smartband valued at $250. (More on the smartband below.) We will draw the winner on Mother’s Day and email you directly!
New Mama Bundle insta giveaway
We’re also giving away a mum+bub prize package worth $450 through our instagram account. (All sorts of gear for both mother and child—baby carrier, maternity wear, jewelry, body care products, diapers, etc.) Head over to my instagram account (@adrielbooker) if you’d like to enter to win the New Mama Bundle.
Every mother counts. And every gift to help her makes a difference.
Please consider getting involved in the Love A Mama Mother’s Day Drive this year. Make your midwifery scholarship donation here. I can vouch from experience that being deliberate in our service to others will make your soul come alive—a Happy Mother’s Day, indeed.
Bonus: Win a Mum+Bub Smartband
Every donor to the 2017 Love A Mama Midwifery Scholarship Fund will go into the draw for a Mum+Bub smartband, donated to us by Project Nursery. You can use it during pregnancy and well beyond baby’s birth to track your kicks, your water intake, your weight, doctors appointments, time your contractions, count your steps, keep track of diaper changes, feeds, and more. (It’s like a FitBit but with extras especially designed for mama and baby.) The Mum+Bub Smartband is valued at $250!