This week I reached the halfway point in my pregnancy. Over the last four and a half months I have been thinking a lot about what it might be like to carry a child while living in extreme poverty. It began when I undertook the Live Below the Line challenge – living on £1/day for five days – a few weeks into my pregnancy. The doctor naturally advised against it but commonsense told me if I ate enough split peas and frozen veg baby Fox would be just fine. During that time I was also suffering dreadful nausea and sickness. Many times I considered how awful it would be if I faced the situation of the millions in the world who do not have enough to eat…and what little I had wasn’t staying down (too much info?)! How heavy the poverty burden must weigh when you feel such a sense of responsibility for this other life you are sustaining inside you.
So far I have had numerous doctor and midwife appointments, my medical history has been thoroughly scrutinised and a scan has allowed us to see our baby happy and healthy, complete with limbs and a heartbeat. If I ever start to think it is all a bit over-the-top, I only have to think of the estimated 289,000 women who died in childbirth in 2013, mostly due to a lack of appropriate medical care. If I lived in Chad, I would have a 1 in 15 lifetime risk of dying as a result of childbirth. While great progress has been achieved in this area in the last 20 years, it is nothing short of a tragedy that 33 women die every hour around the world due to these complications. How many of these precious lives could have been saved if we only tried a bit harder to support progress in this area? This WHO report is both encouraging and eye-opening.
If you agree we can and should do more to save mothers’ lives you can sign a petition here to tell world leaders maternal health should be at the heart of the post-2015 agenda.
On Monday we find out if we will be welcoming a boy or a girl into the world in December. Irrespective of their gender, I will be hoping they grow up in a world where everyone is given a fair chance at life, regardless of their place of birth, economic situation or social standing; the world as it should be.