by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 28.02. 2023
A friend of mine is pregnant and each week it is great to see her growing and being healthy. We are all delighted for her and how well she is thriving. It’s not easy being pregnant and I know as I have two sons of my own. She is often irritated in the delays at her antenatal checks as many other women are there too checking on their babies. We in the Western world are blessed with so much support for our expectant mothers. It is an investment in our future to take care of the mothers and their babies who they are preparing to deliver. Living in Europe we have some of the lowest rates of maternal or baby complications or deaths in the world. There is a reason for this. Antenatal or prenatal care correlates directly to the success of the baby’s delivery and the mother’s survival rate.
It is heart-breaking to see how high the maternal and infant mortality rates stay so high in parts of Africa and now also in Afghanistan. It is clear that where women have access to the health care they need, then they and their babies fare better. We also see that in the countries with the lowest mortality rates there are some obvious correlations. They are countries which have a high quality of living in general. They are also countries in which women are given a more equity. It is clear that there are places in the world that if you are born a woman, your life is automatically harder. It is also clear that there are places in the world that if you are going to become a mother, your life is not just harder but perhaps in jeopardy. I just don’t feel I can stand by and do nothing.
Another thing we know is that the further a woman has to travel for antenatal care the less likely she will go. Imagine expecting a pregnant woman to walk dozens of miles or kilometres to receive care. It’s not even fair to ask. To be honest, I find the hardship women face in becoming mothers physically, medically, emotionally and mentally to be staggering. It is unthinkable that women especially younger women or even girls in some countries are too far from care, so face this alone or with no knowledge of what is happening to them or to their babies. I was so glad to hear that the MMM has added yet another maternity clinic near a slum. We were so happy to hear that the proceeds from our Christmas Craft Fair will go to this clinic. We were so enthused we are eager to raise more. We want to be part of the solution and let women know they are cared about.
We are now doing our STEPS FOR HOPE 2023. We are walking or running for all of Lent 1km or 2km a day for 40 days. With each step, I am aware of how fortunate I am to be able to walk and be safe and healthy. I am aware of how many women cannot safely walk or how many women are forced to walk to get water, not even medical care. It is so important that we don’t give up on the people we may never see who are in need of care. My pregnant friend is walking with us. She realises how important this is and I know she wants to do everything she can to help other mothers and is trying to help by walking in their shoes.
If you would like to join us in walking or donate to Steps For Hope 2023 here is the link. https://www.idonate.ie/event/stepsforhope2023