What would Mother’s Day be without reproductive health?


Mother’s Day always has many meanings—for me it strikes several chords this year…

I lost my mother last year—a strong and elegant Australian woman, with a wonderful sense of humor. She had a very resilient spirit, but there was one thing that she never seemed to forget. She lost her first baby from toxemia. He was full term and delivered at one of the top teaching hospitals in New York City, but he died from a totally preventable condition. It was a topic that she could never really discuss comfortably—even with her daughters—as the pain remained close to the surface more than 50 years later. But she was a real Aussie and would never let anything bring her down.

Working in the global reproductive health arena at Pathfinder International, I think about the profound grief this loss caused my own mother throughout her lifetime and then about the millions of women around the world who face this sort of grief as a part of their daily lives—and not 50 years ago but every day now in 2010. It’s something we see in the field every day at Pathfinder (watch Ruma’s story below to see one example). So many of these women are still losing their babies during pregnancy or childbirth due to preventable causes or they risk death themselves and the possibility of leaving their existing children motherless.

This is an issue of course on RHRealityCheck that has been explored widely. But we can actually do something about it today. More funding is needed to provide quality health services and change the dire circumstances many women face.

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, Pathfinder has partnered with a number of other organizations to form a petition asking the Obama Administration to increase funding for maternal and newborn health services as well as family planning and reproductive health programs. As a mother, and a daughter of someone who experienced the loss of a baby from a preventable cause, I feel strongly about this issue and have readily signed the petition. In honor of my mother, and all the mothers around the world who need proper care during pregnancy and childbirth, I urge you to honor your mother by signing this petition on her behalf.


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