From one mum to be to another…
This week I am halfway through my pregnancy, it is hard to believe that in November I will be snuggling up to a tiny, slimy, startled new born. I have loved the last few months of growing into motherhood as a life swells within me. I have never felt more confident or empowered as I do right now- I have had a bit of a transformation of sorts. Prior to March I was ambivalent about pregnancy and birth, I saw it just as something to swat out the way before you get the prize. But through a bit of reading and talking to friends I have come to see it all as a mystical joy and am beginning to feel proper pleasure in my pregnancy and even in the idea of pushing a human being through a certain passageway. It has got to the stage where I am even a little cynical of hospitals, I feel as if every bit of prodding they do takes away a little bit of my new found power, so much that I am even considering turning down my big scan next week.
What a luxury this is! To be able to give or take medical care. You see, I know my odds are good. I know within seconds of anything going a bit wrong with my living room labour I will hear the wail of an ambulance siren and that within minutes I will be in a crisp, clean ward with many attendants. This knowledge gives me real freedom and has allowed me to get to this place of feeling utter trust in my body.
Last week I went to the launch of Mums Matter- a campaign mounted by Oxfam and the Women’s Institute. I saw a video there that gave a small insight into the lives of expectant mothers in Malawi, lives that would be very much like yours I imagine. It really simply outlined some of the tangled issues leading to the awful fact that 1000 women a day die in childbirth, across the world. This is just completely overwhelming.
I can imagine that for you, the normal anxieties around pregnancy are doubled, trebled, blown sky high, as you think of all the women you know who haven’t made it.
It seems tremendously unfair that I am defending my pregnancy from over-medicalisation while literally millions of expectant mums around the globe can’t even access the barest minimum of care.
You may know that just a few days ago our jolly Prime Minister and his gang at the G20 announced a commitment to maternal health and contributed more money to meet this very important Millennium Development Goal. This is all very nice but there is a serious possibility that this cash will just be taken from other areas of need which would be slightly ridiculous. As Dorothy Ngoma, director of the National Organisation of Midwives and Nurses of Malawi puts it; “This money for maternal mortality will mean nothing if it is simply recycled from aid for food or education.”
I want you to know that I will spend the next half of my pregnancy encouraging people to join the Mums matter campaign. Although we are miles away, over here we do have power and we can each take a couple of seconds to do the smallest thing to make sure maternal health becomes a genuine priority, and not one at the expense of other aid areas and Millennium Development Goals. People can just click through here you to send an email to our Prime minister and join thousands of people looking out for mums across the world.
Meanwhile my ‘dilemma’ over whether to take that trip to the scan next week continues…