May is a month filled with emotion for me. With so much focus on Mother’s day, I am filled with gratitude for my own precious children and the opportunity to be a mother. At the same time, I am often filled with sadness as my own mother passed away 4 days after Mother’s day in 2006. I wish she would have been able to see my children. I wish she could have held them in her arms. I wish she were still here.
This year, in honor of my children and in memory of mother, I am joining with Adriel of The Mommyhood Memos and supporting Bloggers for Birth Kits. Both of my children were born at home with a midwife-provided birth kit. I had simple, uncomplicated births. My children were strong and healthy. But there are women all over the world who are not as fortunate. Were you aware that every minute a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and birth?
In rural Papua New Guinea 1 in 7 women die in childbirth. Not only is this mortality rate unacceptable, it’s preventable. If these women just had the clean birthing supplies, those rates could have the chance to drop. If these women just had the chance to survive, they would also have the chance to continue loving their babies. No different from you and I, these women dream for the day they get to hold their own healthy, thriving babies in their arms. Bloggers for Birth Kits is about raising the awareness, the supplies and the money necessary for these women of PNG to realize their dreams.
How can YOU help?
1. Make a birth kit. Assemble one yourself or gather a group of girlfriends, a moms group, work associates, or a church group to make a box full of them! Mail your kits to: Adriel Booker, Bloggers for Birth Kits, PO Box 6221, Townsville, Queensland, 4810, Australia. We will distribute the kits in some of the poorest regions of Papua New Guinea on our Medical Ship.
2. Donate for a birth kit to be made on your behalf. ($10 will buy 5 kits!) All donations for B4BK go toward the assembly and distribution of birth kits, as well as maternal care education. Make your online donation here. Please be sure to write Bloggers for Birth Kits in the “additional comments” box so the funds will be allocated properly.
3. Help raise awareness by posting about the cause on your blog, facebook, pinterest, and twitter. (Please use the hash tag #B4BirthKits!)
4. Add the Bloggers for Birth Kits button to your blog. (Here’s the code: <a href=”http://themommyhoodmemos.com/bloggers-for-birth-kits” target=”_blank”><img alt=”The Mommyhood Memos Bloggers for Birth Kits” src=”http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m223/adrielmc/bloggersforbirthkitslogo125.jpg” /></a>)
Last year, this intiative raised over 2000 kits!! Do you realize how amazing moms are? Moms just like you and I saw a need and filled it! My birth kit contained gauze and gloves and clamps and herb bath packets, a hat… it was an entire garbage bag full of items. These birth kits contain only a few simple items:
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).
This Mother’s Day, I urge you to think beyond Hallmark and brunch. Think about women you don’t even know; ones you will never meet and consider giving them a special Mother’s Day gift: a clean, safe birth to welcome their child into their family.