This post is by Carrie Lee Ferguson
I live in a country that glistens progress, and yet a pregnant woman in the US is more likely to die in childbirth than her mother was. Women in the United States have a greater lifetime risk of dying of pregnancy-related causes than women in 49 other countries, statistics I like to call, “What to least expect when you’re expecting in the wealthiest country in the world.” The past twenty years have seen technologies take off (remember the days before the internet?), but in those years we’ve not seen a decline in the number of maternal deaths. Globally, a woman dies every 90 seconds from pregnancy complications.
My own story is not a complicated one. When I was pregnant, it was the possibility of living- not just in the sense of having a pulse, but of living up to the innate potentials inside of me, of activating some unknown force and ability within- that consumed me. I was not faced with barriers to quality health care like most women around the world are (or the woman next door with no health insurance), and I was extremely fortunate to have found a midwife twenty minutes from my home. I was able to frame my childbirth in my own way, as a beautiful expression of my creative power, and that was a choice.
With my daughter’s birth, I birthed a new story. Not only did I survive, I evolved.
I was a lucky one, but most women around the world are not so lucky. Access to skilled care, safe and clean birthing facilities, and critical neonatal care remains scarce for too many. Yet there have been leaps and bounds of progress made, and there are those who are raising the alarm. It was through her own personal birth experience – a near fatal hemorrhage – that supermodel and activist Christy Turlington Burns evolved into a passionate global voice for maternal health. Her documentary No Woman, No Cry raises awareness of global maternal mortality and her campaign Every Mother Counts couples global conversation with ways to take action. She uses her powerful experience to become a powerful force in the world.
A major first step is changing the way we view women, and as women, it starts with changing our own mindsets. Those of us who have the privilege and the resources to help are being called upon. We are faced with an opportunity to activate our latent potentials, to raise this issue and be a part of creating a world where women birthing are women shining their brightest light. That is exactly what the current state of affairs is asking us to do!
This is the way of evolution, that through crisis we are pushed to become more. It’s as if every personal, national and global crisis is an invitation, and the world is waiting, not so patiently, for our R.S.V.P. It is urging us to respond, not with our “go-to” behavior of utilizing intellect as our only instrument, but with cracked-open hearts, with bigger capabilities of imagining and creating anew. .
It is through the whispers of our hearts, through the impulses of our genius in which we can birth this new world. It’s about what we can contribute, what lights us up, rather than forcing solutions with our old thinking. When a woman discovers the freedom to frame her own experience and to ignite her creative power, she gives birth to her own potential to change the world.
Carrie Lee Ferguson is a mother and writer and lives in a small seaside community in Northeast Florida. A lover of words and freedom, her writing reflects openness to the unknown and the unexpected. She creates new perspectives, viewing childbirth in particular as a metaphor for what wants to emerge in the world. Co-author of A Child’s Way: Slowing Down for Goodness Sake, Carrie believes in preserving childhood as a magical stage of unfolding. She blogs at carrieleeferguson.wordpress.com