A little early ... but a pleasant reminder of a day celebrating motherhood, the most amazing job in the world. The other day in my Sociology class, we watched a documentary called Motherland Afghanistan which really made me sad and yet grateful for the opportunities we have here in America that we often take for granted. The documentary was filmed and directed by a daughter who followed her father, a doctor, to their native country Afghanistan where he tries to help the women against devastating maternal mortality rates. I was shocked at some of the statistics. Fifty to seventy mothers die every day from complications of childbirth. Twenty-five percent of children in the country do not reach their fifth birthday and 50 percent of those deaths are preventable and treatable respiratory infections and diarrhea. While those statistics are shocking, so are some of the cultural differences. It was difficult for me to watch and hear that a mother who suffered seizures from preeclampsia was beaten because she was thought to have demons. Her baby died during this brutal attack. The lack of medical services available to these women was also horrifying and difficult to swallow. I watch as a mother gave birth to a set of twins, one stillborn and the other surviving only a few days simply because the hospital wasn’t equipped to handle a premature baby. The doctors always did the best they could but it’s heartbreaking to know if she was in America, this baby born at seven months would have had a 95 percent survival rate. Some say that while being a woman in Afghanistan is bad, it’s worse to be a pregnant woman in Afghanistan.
With pregnancy on the brain, my heart cries for these women. Despite my history, I am so grateful for the medical attention, facilities, and technologies that were available to me. I wish that every woman has the very same opportunities available to them. A few years ago I was introduced to Mercy Corps through my former employer who was the designers of the Mercy Corps Action Center to End World Hunger in Lower Manhattan. As I learned more about this amazing group of people who turn crisis into opportunities for millions around the world, I wanted to support their goals and help spread awareness. Their Mercy Kits enabled me to do just that. Some of my favorite kits to gift are the Children’s Health Kit for $35 which provides immunization, nutrition, and health education for a child and the Women’s Small Business Kit for $45 which helps women for start businesses that enable their families to move from poverty to opportunity. This Mother’s Day, let’s help out a fellow mother and lift her up.