Monday, September 5, 2011

Because EVERY Mother Matters

Imagine this.....

You are in labor. Instead of the conventional "driving to the hospital in plenty of time", you are required to walk to the village that your very rural, very small community is an outlier of. Your village is one of 23 comprising the outlying communities. If you have complications you are then literally hog tied to a stick and carried down a mountain to the nearest hospital where hopefully you can be taken care of. That, my friends, would be enough birth control for me - just hearing that story. Done. No babies.

But babies happen and due to the reality of these circumstances only 6 out of 10 mothers actually survive childbirth.

Welcome to life in Mareya, Ethiopia.

I would not have been a survivor. I don't know if you have been in labor or not. In case you haven't, here are a couple quick highlights from my experience.
  1. It REALLY hurts. And its hard to walk while you are in labor.
  2. Walking speeds the process along.
  3. The more times you give birth, the quicker labor can potentially go and the higher the chance that you could "bleed out", meaning that a clot develops and instead of the bleeding stopping after delivery, you just continue to bleed.
I would have had about 15 minutes to live after the birth of my third child without medical care.

Now imagine this....

There are 143 million orphans around the world today. 143 million. Imagine how many less orphans there could be if less mothers died in child birth.

Imagine what knowledgeable and safe midwifery could do if practiced in the outlying communities. Imagine what a 4x4 vehicle could do if available. I'll tell you one thing. It would mean a lot less hog tying.

Count me in.

And count in BEMM, short for Because Every Mother Matters.

I happened to meet the founder of this organization at a conference I recently went to. She described this process to me when we were discussing DFC and the fact that one of our main desires is to fight child exploitation. Orphans are part of what leads to child exploitation. When a child has no one to provide for them, no means of living and no education, they are at very high risk of being picked up and used by a trafficker.

What if we could cut down on the maternal death rate? We would be shrinking the orphan population and the risk of these children being trafficked.

That is the goal of Because Every Mother Matters. They aim to achieve this goal by providing maternal birth kits to these communities, training 2-3 midwives in each community to practice safe birthing methods and funding the purchase of a 4x4 vehicle for the village to use as an ambulance for moms in distress. Imagine what they will be able to do with this help. Imagine the number of moms that will be able to see their children grow and thrive, the number of children who will be cared for by their own mothers and the number of children who will have a much smaller risk of being exploited.

Makes sense to me.

Steffany, the woman I met at the conference, is heading over to Africa in October with maternal birth kits, educators and hopefully money for a 4x4. She needs to raise $20,000 within the next month. Total raised so far - $4040.

Do you feel passionate about this cause and want to do something? Here's how you can:
  • Donate directly to BEMM. You can do that here.
  • Follow BEMM on Facebook and participate in the fundraiser we are hosting for them. 30% of all purchases utilizing their coupon code will go directly to BEMM.
  • Purchase items for the maternal birth kits via BEMM's Amazon wish list.
  • Buy a tacky headband, created by African refugees here in the states. $4/headband will go to pay them a fair wage for their creation, $4 will to toward funding the ambulance and $1 will take care of transaction fees incurred by DFC for making them available to you. And last but not least the incredibly cool headband will go to you!
I know DFC is small, but together it is possible to make a big impact. So, let's get started. And all the best to BEMM.

Now, let's save some lives!


  1. Hi Karen-
    Thanks for sharing this - it's something that is dear to my heart too and something I often thing about (since my first born was breech and I needed a csec. to deliver her). I often wonder what would have happened if I didn't have access to medical care. And my sister and her son were *this close* to losing both their lives in delivery and they were smack in the middle of a modern hospital.

    Thank you too for pointing out (in your Aug 15) post about hand ups vs. hand outs. I've been in prayer asking God to show me clearly how to help in these two areas - in a sustainable way, one the fuels my fire for what I do. ;)

  2. It is a strange feeling knowing that if we had had our babies in a different setting we wouldn't be here, Andrea.

    Thank you for your comments about the hand out/hand ups post. I'm continuing to wrestle with this myself and am thinking that something that was posed as a black and white issue is probably very gray. I can't wait to hear what He shows you!

  3. Good stuff here, Karyn. We need your energy behind this kind of care.

  4. Thank you for your support Sam. Your encouragement is what helps sustain that energy.