First Wednesday Club: Birthing Kit Foundation Australia
I didn’t have a birth plan when I was pregnant with my daughter Ava. Nope. I had a vision. Within hours of giving birth I pictured myself in a white cotton nightie, serenely nursing my nouveau petite enfant. There’d be dappled sunlight. There’d be a scented candle. Some Enya-panpipey-rainforest type music would be softly playing in the background. And I’d have awesome hair. Obviously. (Clearly I thought giving birth was akin to going to a day spa.) In my head I was going to give birth and look ethereal. Madonna and child. Actually, less Madonna and more Angelina Jolie.
Ten days past my due date I was induced. Did I say induced? I mean they attempted to induce me three times – including breaking my waters with something that looked like a knitting needle. After 36 hours of non-labour, Ava’s head became jammed in my pelvis. There was blood. I was taken in for an emergency caesar.
By the time my daughter was born and in my arms, I was exhausted. I could hardly move because of the caesar. My hair was not unlike Amy Winehouse’s. I looked less like Angelina Jolie in WHO Weekly and more like Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted.
But the big picture was that Ava and I were both okay. Fine. Healthy. Alive. What I know is that if we hadn’t had the team of doctors and midwives and nurses around us either or both of us could have died.
Sometimes we can get caught up planning a birth as though we’re planning a wedding. Music! Lighting! Flowers! What we take for granted is a happy outcome. The majority of Australian women have medical intervention and assistance at their fingertips.
So this month for the First Wednesday Club, we’re giving our ten dollars to the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia http://www.birthingkitfoundation.org.au/default.aspx – an Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the conditions for women who give birth at home in developing countries.
Did you know …
- The United Nations (W.H.O.) estimates that 525,000 women die annually in childbirth.
- Developing countries account for 99% of these deaths.
- For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections – many of which are often painful, disabling, embarrassing and lifelong.
Each Birthing Kit costs just $2.50 to make and distribute to women in Africa, Asia or the Pacific. The beauty of the kits is that they’re small and basic – making them easy to transport and easy to use for the often illiterate women who need them. Each kit addresses the seven cleans needed for a safe delivery: a clean birth site, clean hands, clean ties, a clean cut, clean eyes, a clean umbilical cord and a clean perineum. Accordingly the kits contain a plastic sheet, soap, 2 gloves, sterile scalpel blade, 3 cords and 5 gauze squares.
Next month each kit will also include an Enya cd. Joking.
The Birthing Kit Foundation Australia has distributed over 600,000 kits to date to over 30 countries through over 40 organisations.
And they’ve developed training programs in Vietnam, Kenya, DR Congo, Ethiopia and India, with over 5000 birth attendants trained.
So this month – if you can afford it – lets donate $10 to the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia and help our sisters overseas. Because every woman has the right to a clean, safe childbirth.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.