Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finally, my post does more than navel gaze

I've written a number of times about how the tragedy of maternal mortality, so much a reality for women around the globe, has hit home for me since living in Kenya. I've written about the unbearable sadness that emanates out through multiple family layers, leaving an epicenter of emptiness where a mother's love should be.  About the unfairness of it all in a world which can well afford to address the problem.  About the glaring disparities mothers face in anticipating what should be one of the loveliest experience of their lives - excitement for some of us, fear for others.

Truth is I HATE writing about this. It feels like shouting into a void. It feels ineffectual. It provides me a bit of emotional release, but does nothing to address the problem.

Until now.

I've been so honored to be a part of the Global Moms Relay, an online advocacy effort created by the UN Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Huffington Post and others.  The idea is that each day for 60 days a mother, an advocate, a celebrity, (this hapless blogger) will contribute a post about motherhood, and for everyone who shares post, the Gates Foundation will contribute $5 to a related cause. They'll keep contributing up to $500,000!!

My post ran yesterday in the Huffington Post.  It's not a feel-bad story. It's the story of a mother, like so many voiceless woman, who is picking up the pieces after another woman's death in childbirth.  These stories, especially from a continent which is typically either feared or pitied, are rarely told.
This is Esther. The deck is stacked against small twins, whose mother perished bringing them into this world.  But not with their grandmother Esther giving them loving and attentive care.
I like to think of this story as kind of the other side of the "matching grant" idea.  We, in the wealthy world, contribute money to try and reduce some of these needless disparities.  But we should never forget the immeasurable strength of the people who face their own daily hardships to help their friends and family. We contribute some on our end, but it is often "matched" (and then some) by the power of family, love and duty on the ground.

If you take 3 seconds to share Esther's story, 2 things will happen: You will be acknowledging and spreading that particular often ignored story of maternal strength. And you will unlock $5 from the Gates Foundation to help  the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, which is using mobile technology (pervasive in even poor rural areas) to reach and support women who are more vulnerable to maternal mortality.  

It's a no-brainer, right?


  1. Great post Kim - I shared on facebook and twitter but it's not your post that comes up. With both shares from your Huffington Post article I ended up with Christy Turlington Burns's Making the Connection between Technology and Maternity instead of your post.

    1. It's weird. I know other people have had the same problem. Kind of annoying personally, but at the end of the day each of those posts has the donation going to the same NGO so the "share" is still doing the good you're intending it to! : )