Childbirth · My Heart

800 Moms Died Today

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My labor pains were excruciating, the groans severe, and yet not one time did I fear for my life.

I was recently made aware of an ugly statistic:

800 moms died today either before, during, or shortly after childbirth.

800 more moms will die tomorrow.

The number 800 continues on.

The majority of these 800 deaths were preventable, if only the resources had been present.

They are mostly young women, living in developing nations; the largest percentage in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

800 is a statistic. 800 is difficult to wrap the mind around. I decided to take 1 mom out of the 800 this day and think of her. . .

Did you imagine what life would be like with your sweet baby in your arms?

Did you set up a little corner in preparation?

Did you cry in joy the first time you felt that precious kick?

Did you embrace your husband, laughing as he placed his hand upon your firm belly?

Did you have other children, worrying about how they would accept a new sibling?

You were poor. You did not speak my language. Your culture so foreign to my ways. We were worlds apart, both literally and figuratively–we were really not so different at all. Do we not both have hopes and dreams, worries and fears? Do we not both fiercely love our precious babies, with passions not known to any other?

You, dear momma, lost your life in such a preventable way. If only the medical care had been present.

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In the midst of the awful pain and sorrow there is hope. Over the past 13 years, maternal deaths have been reduced by 50%. There are continual efforts in place to bring this ugly 800 down further.

May we be the voice of awareness for these dear mothers. May more lives be spared each day. May we shake heaven with our fervent prayers for these precious souls: too precious to die so young, too precious to leave another motherless child behind.

For more information you can visit the World Health Organization’s page on Maternal Mortality.

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36 thoughts on “800 Moms Died Today

  1. Thank your for shedding light on that Sasha. So true, never once in my three pregnancies did I fear for my life. I could not imagine it any other way. Thanks as well for sharing the links to learn more.

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    1. Yes, Shawn, it is something I never even considered while pregnant. I can not think of how much fear as well as joy a pregnancy must evoke in them and their loved ones; the threat of death looming over their heads each day. How I pray more and more help and resources will be brought their way.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this, Sasha. I’ve been sending charitable donations to several organizations that work to improve maternal care in Africa for about 5 years now…ever since my 2nd baby. I find it sad that a lot of the deaths and injuries that occur to mothers in pregnancy and childbirth can be prevented with proper education and simple health measures. Yet another reason to support efforts to improve education, literacy, and basic human rights for women world-wide. No one should have to face pregnancy with fear instead of hope and joy!

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  3. In all three if my pregnancies either I or my child wouldn’t have made it without modern medicine. I’ve thought quite a bit about what could have been had we lived in a different place or a different time. What a sad statistic…800. So good of you to shed some light on such a sad topic. It’s certainly one worth our prayers.

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    1. Wow, that is such a scary thing to think about. I too had some help during my second pregnancy but never thought much about it until recently. We truly are so very, very blessed–prayers and more prayers for those who do not have the same resources.

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    1. Theresa, I was shocked when I discovered 800 per day. I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach. Even more shocking is the number is so low compared to where it stood just 13 short years ago. The efforts to improve such conditions are not stopping–how I hope they will be able to continue to bring the numbers down rapidly.

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  4. The statistics are heartbreaking. I live in South Africa and according to the ERG 2013 report South Africa’s maternal mortality ratio for 2010 was 300 per 100 000 live births. About half the women who die in childbirth succumb to AIDS-related infections and nationally, about 27 percent of pregnant women are living with HIV,

    Thank you for sharing – we need reminded to pray for other women and their families.

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    1. Noelene, thank you so much for sharing this. What a heart wrenching statistic. How I pray both the attention and help will grow more and more each day for them.

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  5. It just struck me a few weeks ago that without modern medicine I would have been one of these 800. Without technology to detect my preeclampsia, my blood pressure would have won the battle and my Little Man wouldn’t be here today. So very grateful for every moment…even the gross, unpleasant, and frightening moments.

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  6. Makes me lose my breath for a second. 800?! Prayers and more prayers and maybe if I can pinch a few pennies, donations towards helping those women.

    I had all the preparations for a natural labor, without any interventions & with a great distrust of childbirth in America or modern medicine. But without the help of an OB who was skilled with forceps that midwife called in, one of us might not have made it. Thank goodness for that Doctor.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to this!

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    1. Oh, Kerri, I am so glad the OB was able to be there for you. Yes, I sat in shock for quite some time after reading the original article. How I pray help will also find its way into these rural areas.

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  7. A moving post, Sasha–clearly something that is close to your heart. I write historical fiction, and this involves massive amounts of research. And there is nothing more clear to me within those fishing expeditions than the frightening medical methods practiced and available, and how much civilization (or the wealthier, more fortunate parts of civilization) has improved.
    I think about it every day and count my lucky stars.
    Thanks for the link. A bonus, indeed!

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    1. I did not realize you wrote historical fiction–makes much sense though! Do you have any books out yet? Do you have a link of where your writings can be purchased?? How wonderful and awful for you at the same time to be so informed of the bigger picture. We truly are so very fortunate.

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      1. My first book is due to be published June 2015–that one is Middle Grade contemporary. #2 will either be the historical fiction (young adult) or a middle grade fantasy. I have precious little say in the line up. All I get to say is, “Thank you for publishing my books. I’ll just sit back here in the corner while you all decide the big picture.” We all have our jobs.
        But yes, the research for the historical has taken over ten years. I love it. Nearly wish I could live back in the 18th century, although with 21st century medicine.
        I’m pretty grateful for every day of health and wellness.

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        1. Oh, how exciting!! Even though I must wait to read. How amazing you spent so much time in research, and how wonderful for all your future readers to be able to learn from it!

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    1. Yes, it is much higher than I had imagined, and the more mind boggling is that it is 50% lower than just 13 years ago. It really brings such a great appreciation for the good media can do. The more attention it brings to these dear souls, the more help that will find its way at their doorstep.

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  8. Thanks for sharing Sasha. Due to my mother losing 8 children and the doctor never gave her an answer as to why, I was afraid about babies while pregnant with them but I never really gave deep thought about my own life except the risk of c section surgery. I had 4 c-sections. I wouldn’t have guess that the number would be so high though.

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    1. Oh, JcCee, I cannot imagine her heartache! I am so glad you did not let this fear hold you back though, and found the courage to have your own sweet babies!! Yes, the number is much higher than I realized as well. Many prayers that the more attention is brought their way, the more the resources will follow.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I hope through the more attention received, the more help given. They are dear mommas just like us, with hopes and dreams–how I pray their dreams may begin to take reality.

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  9. Sasha – your posts are so wonderful and thought provoking always a pleasure reading your writing – honestly – your a sweet sole

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    1. Yes, I was first ashamed I did not know about this, and then angry it happens. After reading about this I have committed to begin to learn what is going on outside my four walls more and more each day.

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  10. Definitely very preventable deaths. I’ve heard stories that just seem as if they could have gone a different way with such simple intervention – proper hygiene, for example. Then add access to caesarians that a lot of people think of as fairly common these days, blood products, etc….

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    1. It is such a sorrowful happening. The majority are preventable deaths, if only the medical care was present for them. It definitely makes me a much more grateful mother. I know without modern medicine I would have definitely lost my sweet son.

      Many prayers for aid to find its way to these precious souls.

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