Did you know that it’s International Women’s Day? It was first marked over a hundred years ago as a way to promote equal rights for women. It’s a day to celebrate women’s achievements, remember the past and look to the future.
For many of us women, it’s just another day in the life. But. This is what gets me thinking: How is this day lived by each woman and girl around the globe? This random day on the calendar. How is it experienced by them?
I woke up thinking about how fortunate my girls and I am. Even though there are things about our society that I believe need to be changed (don’t even get me started–I had a minor in Women’s Studies in college) to ensure that young women grow up in safe, healthy and fair communities, we have rights and care that women and children in other countries just do not have. What we consider basic rights and care…the stuff that we don’t even think about. I thought about how my life and my family’s well being is vastly different from many others based solely on geography, life circumstance and sheer luck. That has spurred some major gratitude on this day. All before 7:00 am, no less.
Every year on International Women’s Day I make a commitment to helping an organization that focuses on the health and self-sufficiency of women. This year, I’m supporting a campaign that means a lot to me, both personally and as a former childbirth educator and doula.
I’m supporting Every Mother Counts. It exists to provide education and support to decrease maternal mortality around the world. All women, everywhere, should be able to access good health care, especially when pregnant. I’m lucky that I was able to do so. I learned through Every Mother Counts that a woman dies every 90 seconds from complications of pregnancy. And here’s the kicker: 90% of these deaths are preventable.
After the births of two of my three children, I experienced life-threatening hemorrhaging. Because I had great access to and skilled care by midwives, nurses and doctors, we had fabulous outcomes. A healthy mom and baby both times. When O was born, I thought the complication was just a fluke and I went on about the business of caring for a newborn and a toddler. When it happened again when Miss I was born, I won’t lie. I was shaken by it. It was not lost on me that if I lived somewhere else in the world, I wouldn’t be here for her and my other children. I survived because of where I live and the care I received.
I want to make sure women everywhere have the same outcome. I want to break down those barriers to care.
Today, that is what International Women’s Day means to me.
What does it mean to you?