Every Mother Counts: Running for maternal health
by Kim Graham-Nye, gDiapers co-founder
Two physical activities that should not happen simultaneously:
Being in labor. Walking up to 26 miles.
I couldn’t imagine walking across the living room when I was in labor, so the idea of having to walking up to 26 miles to seek emergency care in that physical and mental state is beyond comprehension. Yet this is the reality for countless women around the world in medically underserved regions. Even more alarming is that a woman dies every 2 minutes due to complications around pregnancy and birth, and astonishingly 98% of those deaths are preventable. When our son Fynn learned about these facts, he summed it up perfectly by saying, “If they are preventable, then WE HAVE TO help prevent them.” And I couldn’t agree more.
Every Mother Counts is a non-profit, started by Christy Turlington Burns, to help make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. Although we have always been friendly with them (Jason doesn’t leave home without his EMC running shirt!), I came home from my trip to Tanzania in 2013 with a whole new level of excitement and desire to deepen our commitment to this cause.
Part of that is getting involved with a new project in rural Tanzania that is still taking shape. In fact, I am heading back to Tanzania at the end of this month to spend time with Every Mother Counts and local partners to better understand how g can best serve their needs.
It is no coincidence that the Mt. Kilimanjaro Half and Full Marathon are on while we are there. Every Mother Counts sees running and walking as a great way to raise both funds and awareness around maternal health, because distance is one of the biggest barriers to care. The idea is “we walk, so they don’t have to.”
So along with the trip, I am also going to run my first half marathon. My husband Jason is the big runner in our household. Me? Not so much. But I feel a little wimpy saying, “I don’t want to run,” when there are so many pregnant mamas walking 24+ miles while in labor, exhausted, and scared. I can certainly do 12 miles in my Nikes with the help of water stations and a cheering crowd.
So on March 1st I will be running in Tanzania. Jason is going to run in Sydney. gTeam members Heather, Michelle, and Mike are running in Portland. Louise will lace up her running shoes in London, and Tyler is planning a bike ride with his 4-year-old son Lincoln. We’d love for you to consider a run, a walk, or a bike ride on that day too, with other gMums and Dads or on your own. It doesn’t have to be long or organized in any way. It’s all about the intention and conscious step to say, “If 98% of these deaths are preventable, then I care enough to be part of the solution.”
If you do go for a run, walk or cycle, change your Facebook image to the badge below. Hopefully friends will ask you about it and you can let them know about Every Mother Counts and the amazing work they are doing.
Of course, you are always welcome to donate to the cause. Here’s my fundraising page – feel free to start your own to support the work of this incredible organization.
We have lots more coming around the partnership between g and Every Mother Counts in the coming months… but for now my lips are sealed (sorry!).