I know how Mother’s Day is supposed to go in the United States. If you’re a mom, you’re supposed to get a relaxing day where (hopefully) your husband (or someone else) handles all the tedious and exhausting things about motherhood for the day (wiping butts, washing hands, preparing meals, haranguing naps) while you (the mom) get to kick back and enjoy all the fun stuff your kids do. Basically you get to be the dad for the day.
Seriously, I’m joking. My husband is a super awesome dad and definitely does his share of tedious kids’ stuff.
But, hopefully you do get to relax and enjoy the awesome stuff about your kids. Maybe get a little breakfast in bed, possibly a massage, some chocolates. And if you’re really lucky, a homemade craft that involves a lot of glue and dried legumes.
We do it up big here in the United States.
I don’t know how they celebrate Mother’s Day in other countries (although Wikipedia tells me many other countries do celebrate it), but I do know that for the majority of women in the world, Mother’s Day looks absolutely nothing like what it does for us in the States. According to the World Health Organization, every 90 seconds a woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and child birth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing nations, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections, which are often preventable. It’s well recognized that these numbers are often under reported.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I know I had some fears about dying during childbirth with my first two children. But only 16.6 women die in childbirth in the U.S. per 100,000 live births (#39 on the list, not great by any stretch compared to No. 1 Italy at 3.9) but can you imagine your risk being 95 times that!?
For these mothers in developing countries, their every day is about finding clean water and food for their children. They’re not concerned about whether they’re getting a massage; they’re concerned about basic survival.
In a very real way, the celebration of Mother’s Day is a first-world luxury.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating moms and giving moms a break. Lord knows, we’re (super)human and we could all use a break. But in case you want to do something just a little bit more, you might consider:
Participating in Bloggers for Birth Kits by donating $10 to purchase 5 clean birth kits for mothers in rural Papua New Guinea where 1 in 7 women die in childbirth. That’s it. It’s only $2 per kit and you could help save a mother and newborn baby’s life. You could make your own if you’re so inclined, or you can just donate.
Donating to Saving Mothers which aims to give women and their health care providers the tools they need to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity through public health initiatives. The organization currently has projects in Guatemala and Liberia. $10 purchases one hemorrhage kit and prevents maternal death from bleeding. $50 transports one woman to the hospital.
Get involved with Every Mother Counts, an organization founded by supermodel Christy Turlington-Burns. Christy hemorrhaged after the delivery of her first child and was fortunate enough to recover. She realized that for many women in the world, such an occurrence is a death sentence.
Every Mother Counts actually has a very comprehensive explanation of the problems with maternal health and mortality, including the five main barriers to care. They also have various options for helping.
All of these organizations have the same common cause: to reduce maternal mortality globally.
Or maybe you just want to give a boost to a mom you know who’s having a hard time, like Momastery just did. I know of a local family who recently lost absolutely everything in a house fire. If you’re interested in donating to them, contact me at jenovotny(at)gmail(dot)com.
Even $5 can make a difference in someone’s life.
Maybe for this Mother’s Day we can do a little more for our fellow mamas who could really use it.
Make yourself feel super awesome this Mother’s Day. It feels great.
What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.
The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things.
But we can all do small things, with great love,
and together we can do something wonderful.
— Mother Theresa