Why did you start Every Mother Counts?
I endured and survived a childbirth-related complication after delivering my daughter Grace in 2003. I was fortunate to be in the care of a skilled team that included a doula, midwife, nurses and ultimately an obstetrician who worked together to manage the situation. Unfortunately, millions of other mothers, both here in the US and around the world, don’t have access to the care that I received that day. Soon after my delivery, I learned that hundreds of thousands of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths occur each and every year and most of them are preventable. Once I knew about these shocking statistics I had to do something about them. I asked myself what I could do to raise awareness, which lead me to make a documentary film,NO WOMAN, NO CRY.
Every Mother Counts was born as a result of the film. I wanted to create a resource so others could learn more and contribute in some way to finding solutions. Today, Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. We educate the public by raising awareness and funds that we invest in programs that link mothers to life saving care, currently in Haiti, Uganda, India, Tanzania, the United States and Nepal. Learn more about our work here
What are the primary goals for the organization?
We’re building a community of educated and empowered consumers who are willing to take action to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and their families. We have three main goals for the next five years. Grow our community to 2 million committed individuals who’ve joined EMC to improve the health and well being of mothers. Inspire those 2 million individuals to take at least one action per year to raise awareness and or funds to improve access to essential maternal healthcare. Impact 2 million lives through our portfolio of grants, which support programs that address three maternal health barriers (lack of transportation, education and supplies).
What are some shocking facts you can tell us about maternal health in America?
The one that usually sticks with people the most is that the U.S. is one of eight industrialized countries with an increasing maternal mortality rate, alongside Afghanistan, Belize, El Salvador, Guinea-Bissau, Greece, Seychelles and South Sedan. Another is that we’re still losing three women in the U.S. every day to pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Most of these deaths are preventable. We know how to save these lives but not enough people are aware of the scope of the problem and prepared when the unexpected happens. This fall, Every Mother Counts will be releasing a short documentary series, “Giving Birth in America,” which examines some of the reasons the U.S. is so far behind other countries in maternal health outcomes. Click here to view the trailer and learn more