|Image credit: Chantal Anderson|
Just a few days ago, a woman in the United States named Tara Lopez signed the maternal health pledge that has been at the heart of IMOW's exhibition, MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe. In signing her name, Tara became the ten-thousandth person to sign the pledge, helping us meet our goal and adding her voice to the other 9,999 people who have affirmed that they believe all women have the right to safe pregnancy and birth, and asking their governments to commit to improving maternal health in their country. People from more than 120 countries, from Australia to Azerbaijan, Nigeria to the Netherlands, signed the pledge, making the movement truly, overwhelmingly global.
But many who signed the pledge wanted to do more than simply add their names. We received dozens of moving testimonials and stories from men and women around the world about how they have been affected by maternal health. Here are just a few of the stories we heard:
"As the mother of two having gone through two very difficult pregnancies and deliveries, both resulting in c-sections, I know the value of good, consistent maternal health. As women we cannot afford to ignore this issue." --Keisharthomas
"On April 24, 2012, a former colleague at UNICEF Kenya passed away after delivering triplets, due to delivery complications. She did not need to die - but she never got to see her 2 beautiful daughters, and one handsome boy. I sign this petition, to pay tribute to a wonderful colleague who cared so much and worked so hard for women and children in Kenya. I am so sad and angry that women continue to die while/during/after giving life - and their deaths can be prevented. Rest in Peace Mary Adhiambo Oula." --Bkariuki
"One of the greatest joys of my life was the pregnancy and birth of my daughters. It's every woman's right to receive proper prenatal and post natal care. I hope these messages of hope help ALL mothers in need of these services." --hmg
"I almost died during my last pregnancy (an ectopic one). Luckily, I happended to be in Germany where I received superior health care. All I could think about was how I did not want to leave an orphaned 2 year old behind. Thank you for creating this pledge" --Layla Sabourian
"Maternal mortality IS a global crisis, and it should certainly be a top priority for individuals and countries alike. Women deserve access to education, quality reproductive healthcare, and safe pregnancies/births. They are the backbone of societies, and healthy women mean healthy communities." --CourtneyThese stories, and dozens of others, are the reason for the pledge, and the reason we ask that you sign the pledge today if you haven't yet done so. Help us surpass our 10,000 signature goal, and prove without a doubt that there is a strong, salient movement globally for improved maternal health globally! We'll be presenting the pledge at the UN general assembly in New York City in just a few short weeks. Be part of this global movement; sign today and show that mothers matter!