Mission Motherhood: Improving Maternal Health Globally

This morning, I was woken up by the cry of my nine-year-old daughter Sophia. She had a nightmare and was scared, and wanted to sleep with me. I brought her in my bed and covered her up, holding her hand tenderly in mine while she fell back asleep. Her warm body cuddled up next to mine and I watched her, enjoying this moment of great tenderness and love. She slept so peacefully yet I was so overwhelmed with love that I could not fall back asleep. Instead I just laid there, looking at her angelic face. I would do anything for my two children, my love is so incredibly deep. The greatest gift of my life is them.

I have written extensively about maternal health on my blog because as a mother I realize how fortunate I am to have received amazing pre and post-natal care and a safe birth of my two children. Unfortunately, this is not the case for millions of mothers.

Every day, nearly 800 women die giving birth around the globe. The good news is most of these deaths are preventable.

A trip to Ethiopia in June 2014 as a reporting fellow on maternal and newborn health opened my eyes to the struggles that millions of mothers face. With little or no education, health care, vaccinations, electricity, running water or help, mothers morn the loss of their children in silence. Far too many of their children don’t even make it to their fifth birthday. Likewise,  far too many children loose their mothers in childbirth. It is a tragedy.

Faces of Ethiopia

That is why as a mother I cannot look the other way. I cannot give up on trying to do whatever I possibly can to promote change in the world and make it a safer place for mothers and their children. I will use my advocacy, volunteer work and voice as a writer to inspire change and educate others on the challenges that mothers and their children face around the world.

As a devoted contributor to World Moms Blog, I was thrilled to learn that one of America’s premier websites for mothers,, has launched an initiative to help improve maternal health around the world with the creation of #MissionMotherhood. Babycenter has partnered with some of the leading organizations on maternal health to make motherhood safer for all women. They have also partnered with World Moms Blog to provide stories that will inspire and educate American mothers to learn about the struggles many mothers and how we can all help.

Fellow World Moms Blog writer To-wen Tseng writes passionately about her experiences meeting malnourished mothers and babies in the post “Haiti post earthquake: How motherhood changed my experience” while Cynthia Changyit Levin writes the excellent post “Raising my voice (for Moms), while raising my kids“. Elizabeth Ataley who was on the International Reporting Project trip with me in Ethiopia writes “Kangaroo Care to the rescue  for babies in Ethiopia”. 

My post “The Long Walk to Deliver: Why Ethiopia Wants Women to Lie and Wait” was just published on February 1. Here is a brief excerpt on the post.

The Project Mercy Lie and Wait House was about a three hour drive south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, in the heart of rural Ethiopia. From the outside, the pink-colored concrete building was simple, except for a small sign stating the center’s name. Inside was one large room with two small beds, a white plastic chair and a dirt floor. On the chair, Menesch, aged 40, sat while nursing her three-month old daughter, her eighth child. The baby, like all of her children, had been delivered at home with no trained labor assistant.

Next, on one of the beds laid Menesch’s older daughter, Fasika, a 15-year old child bride with baby fat still surrounding her cheeks and a shy smile that often looked down at her largely pregnant belly. Meeting Fasika and her mother on the last day of my trip was the defining moment of my two weeks of reporting on maternal and newborn health in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian mother

To read more, click here

It is my sincere hope that the more people are aware of the acute challenges other mothers face, the more likely it is that things will change. We all have a say in how we envision our world to be. We can vote. We can donate. We can advocate. We can volunteer. Let us all be a voice for the voiceless and together make the world a better, safer, more just place.



    • Sure of course! Great question. There are so many things you can do I guess it depends on what your interests are. First of all, if you are new to learning about maternal health, you can educate yourself on the issues in a number of ways. You can read on a variety of different blogs. Here are a few of my favorites: (Note you will need to search the posts by subject to get only maternal health issues but most everything relates to it).
      And I have also written a ton of pieces on maternal, newborn and children survival on my blog. To read the stories, on my blog go to lefthand side of blog and search by topic. You will find maternal, newborn and child survival there as well as posts on NGOs that work in that field.
      After you learn about the issues, you can follow up by learning about the different Non-profit organizations that work specifically with maternal health. There are tons and I’ve written about a lot of them on my blog. Here are a few of my favorite: Save the Children, WaterAid (safe water and sanitation), Every Mother Counts, Maternity Worldwide. The list is endless so I can send you more if you like.
      As for making a difference, educating on key issues, being active on social media about what you care about (sharing posts and participating), voting and joining these groups as advocates or volunteers. There is so much you can do. Please let me know if you want any more ideas. It seems like a huge problem, but every thing we do helps. I donated to and for less than $20 I provided a clean birth kit to a pregnant woman in Laos.

  1. What a wonderful piece on maternal health and the importance of what must surely be the most challenging job in the world. And I admire you for the writing that you’ve done in raising awareness of those women and children less fortunate. This is something that can only help to make a positive difference. Wonderful photos too, such beautiful faces.

  2. Great post. I am very glad you posted this and your pictures are always amazing.

    Education is key and many of the observations in your post regarding rural Ethiopia apply equally in other parts of the world, especially the Middle East at present, which has been ravaged by war. There are no working hospitals, wholly inadequate medical care….and obviously maternal health is completely ignored due to the circumstances.

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