Today is mothering Sunday in the UK. I've been properly spoiled and yeah I feel like us Mums deserve it, but I've also been reminded, while tucking into my breakfast in bed and trying to prevent toddler v crockery chaos, that things could have been very different. If I didn't have the incredible good luck to have been born in a western country not only would I not be getting croissants and chocolates, I wouldn't be alive.
Evelyn's birth was far from straight forward, it was long, exhausting and of course painful. Hoards of medical professionals tried just about every intervention in the book, finally resorting to spending thousands of NHS pounds on cutting me open. It was a truly awful experience, but at the end of it I was alive and so was my beautiful baby. I am a very very lucky woman, in another place or time I would have died a long and horrible death.
Sadly many women are not as lucky as me, here are some pretty unpleasant facts:
1000 women die EVERY day due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. That means the death toll in one year is greater than that of the recent Japanese earthquake and the 2004 Asian tsunami combined.
A girl in the African country of Chad is more likely to die in childbirth than to attend secondary school.
In Afghanistan the lifetime risk of maternal death has actually increased in recent years, it's now 1 in 8 (In Sweden it is 1 in 17,400).
Even in wealthy countries, poor women are dying in childbirth. There are 40 countries with lower maternal death rates than the USA and African American women are four times more likely to die this way than white American women.
There are many more facts like this and if you'd like to read more about the subject and what could perhaps be done about it try these organisations (from where I got the information):
I was "saved" by major surgery but there was nothing heroic about it, it was all very routine for the hospital staff involved. In other countries women are dying needlessly because of far more minor complications. The NHS is a massively unwieldy and deeply flawed organisation, most of us in the UK have to rely on it, if only everyone else in the world was that lucky.
So happy mothers day to all the Mums reading this, I hope you've had a little treat or maybe even a lie in, it's a great job, but a tough one and you deserve that bit of recognition. Lets hope that one day soon, even if all the Mums in the world don't get a special day and a bunch a flowers, they at least have the chance to survive and watch their babies grow.