A Home Beyond Birth: Estar’s Story


Read Estar’s Shanti Journey as told by our Communications Intern in Uganda.

There is no better time to visit Shanti than on a busy Thursday morning. As I made my way down the Birth House’s path, I was greeted by the warm smiles of Shanti’s midwives. The day was early, but there were already dozens of women participating in a family planning and postnatal nutrition workshop. With growing baby bellies, and young babies on their laps, the women watched our Traditional Birth Attendant, Flora, eager to learn. As I scanned the crowd, one woman and her young boy smiled brightly.

After having a discussion with her, I learned that her name is Estar. Estar, 27, proudly shared stories of her two children, Simon Peter, 2, and Donnatus, 9 months old. Having both been born at Shanti, her sons have become familiar with Shanti’s positive environment. Today, Donnatus and his mother walked one mile from home to receive his vaccination.

Living not far from Shanti, Estar reminisced of when she first learned about the Birth House. She recalled seeing it being built when walking down the road in 2009. Since first seeing Shanti, Estar has been visiting as a client for many years. With a beaming smile, she told me how caring Shanti’s midwives are. Having seen many other facilities throughout her life, she constantly recommends the Birth House to her family and friends as she recognizes Shanti’s staff, clean and friendly environment, and variety of services.

As her youngest, Donnatus, sat happily eating a cookie, she shared a memory of her first birth at Shanti. She remembered the loving care that she received from her midwife Ssanyu, Shanti’s supportive Head Midwife. Two years later, Estar continues to be grateful for not only the health care provided to her, but for the two clothing ensembles given to her son, Simon Peter, at his time of birth.

It is conversations like this with clients that confirm my love for The Shanti Uganda Society. Each woman sitting around the facility, learning from Flora, has a similar and bright story and I look forward to future stories shared by both Shanti’s staff and clients.

Read more about our Maternal Health Program.

Shanti’s Impact to Date

IMG_0855 (1)Uganda has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, with an average of six children per woman. Additionally, 33% of women will have their first child before the age of 18. Approximately 16 women die giving birth every day in Uganda and adolescent pregnancies are at particularly high risk for complications and death. However, with access to a skilled midwife, 90% of all maternal mortality is completely preventable. It is Shanti’s mission to provide skilled midwives to all of our clients in a safe, nurturing, and empowering environment.

With the assistance and care of six registered Ugandan Midwives, one Traditional Birth Attendant and a Lab Technician, 20-30 babies are born at Shanti each month. These women are highly valued at the Birth House as their training is exceptional and uncommon. In Uganda, only 38% of midwives are fully qualified which often results in an inability to deal with complicated births.

We are so grateful to have trained and experienced midwives at Shanti who are able to facilitate the following excellent services:

  • An onsite laboratory for pregnant mothers, as well as their partners, testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS and STIs
  • Full prenatal care services (counseling, educational workshops, weekly prenatal yoga classes, and nutrition and agriculture workshops)
  • Labour services in a private, home like setting with access to our emergency vehicle should complications arise
  • Full postnatal care services (onsite infant immunizations and family planning counseling and methods)
  • Monthly continuing education workshops for midwives and Traditional Birth Attendants

These services are valued by our clients as privacy, safety, respectful care and education are limited in many Ugandan health care facilities.

It is with great pleasure that we share with you our progress within the maternal health program. It is with your support and interest in this project, that we have been able expand our services and provide excellent woman-centered care.

Since 2010…

  • The number of clients tested for HIV has grown nearly 5 times!
  • The number of our admissions has increased from 32 people per year, to over 230 people per year!
  • There have been a total of 927 live births!
  • There have been 2,395 postnatal visits!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting our maternal health program. It is with your continuous help that we have been able to greatly progress over the years, providing a safe, nurturing, and empowering environment for mothers to birth their babies.

A healthy and happy baby being weighed at Shanti.

This Thanksgiving, empower women in Uganda and help provide a safe and respectful birthing journey for all mothers. There are so many ways to give, continue Shanti’s impact: Donate Now. 

Shanti Spotlight: Florence, a leader of action

sister lule (1 of 1) (1)When at Shanti, you’re always able to see women wearing a smile while hard at work. One woman in particular that spreads joy and knowledge around Shanti is Florence. She is a highly respected leader at the Birth House and within the community as Florence goes the extra mile as a midwife. For 4 years, she has been a valuable member of Shanti’s team and on a sunny Thursday, I had the opportunity to have a chat with her.

Do you have any children/grandchildren?

Florence explained that she has 5 children, who no longer live with her as well 10 grandchildren. Her young granddaughter, Florence (named after her grandmother) can often be seen playing at Shanti.

How far do you live from Shanti?

If I am working hard while walking, it can take 45 minutes. If I am walking slow, 1 hour.

What is your role at Shanti? What are your responsibilities?

Florence is a midwife at Shanti, however, her responsibilities are not limited to this role. While having our discussion, she was taking a break from midwifery by picking beans from Shanti’s garden and peeling them for the staff’s lunch. It is not uncommon to find Florence helping out in more ways than midwifery.

When did you decide you wanted to become a midwife?

Florence had originally wanted to work for the government as a public health worker (which she pursued for many years in her life). In order to achieve this goal, she received midwife training as well and enjoyed what she learned. It was not until after retirement, that she became a midwife and joined Shanti’s team.

Why did you choose this career path?

I have always been interested in children”, Florence explained. She laughed about how not only would she get to help children, but she would not have to work overnight shifts through this career as well.

What are the challenges of being a midwife?

Florence is often faced with clients who are reluctant to do as they are advised. She provided an example, in which women are sometimes referred to other health care systems. Even though this is suggested to them, they may not go, or if so, it is often too late. Despite this, Florence explained that Shanti’s staff continues to do all they can to respect women’s choices and to help them in their time of need.

Have you always worked at Shanti?

After earning her Midwifery Degree in 1970, and in 1975 as a Public Health Nurse, Florence worked in many sub-district health centres and hospitals in the Luwero District. She organized health education workshops in homes, schools and clinics.

After her various careers, Florence retired, however, she still felt strong and capable of helping more Ugandans. It is because of this that she decided to later join Shanti’s team.

Why is Shanti’s care different than other facilities?

Florence explained that throughout her many career locations, she has never seen one like Shanti’s. She explained proudly that not only is Shanti’s Birth House much cleaner than other facilities, but it also focuses on women centered care. Florence described this care, as one that values a woman’s individual needs and expectations. She boasted about this approach that differs from other facilities which focus on the needs of the occupation or the facility.

What is one highlight of your career?

During her time working as Public Health Nurse for the Luwero District, Florence was given a certificate for being the head performer in the District. Glad to be recognized for her hard work, she said,

I was happy because I didn’t know that anyone was watching the work I was doing.

Her efforts and smiles continue to be noticed at Shanti. It is with the help of incredible women like Florence, that our maternal health program is able to succeed. We are so glad that in Uganda, where there is a need for qualified midwives, Florence is able to apply her knowledge and experience in order to provide the best possible care for mothers and babies.

Read more about our wonderful team who’s hard work is what makes our impact continue to grow.

Job Posting – Project Coordinator, Shanti Uganda Society


Shanti Uganda is a grassroots Canadian Charity and Ugandan NGO that is eradicating preventable maternal mortality throughout Uganda using a unique collaborative care model. We are committed to sustainable community based development and the midwifery model of care.

The Shanti Uganda Birth House is a solar powered maternity center on one acre of land in the Luweero District of Uganda. The Birth House provides mother-centered care throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period and is staffed by our team of Ugandan midwives, traditional birth attendant and lab technician. From the Birth House, Shanti Uganda runs prenatal education classes, prenatal yoga, a Community Garden Program, and a Teen Girls Program.  We also run an internship/volunteer program, and host two training retreats annually; an international doula training and a prenatal yoga teacher training. We are poised for growth in the coming year, and will be scaling up many of our services.

Closing date: October 7th 2016

Start Date: December 15th 2016 (training beginning November 24th)

Work Location: Luwero, Uganda


Working alongside both interns/volunteers and Ugandan staff, and reporting to the Director of Ugandan Operations in North America, the Project Coordinator is an inspirational leader with proven experience growing organizations and fostering a team environment that is aligned to the organizational culture and strategic plan.

With a sound understanding of Shanti Uganda’s three core objectives (to improve infant and maternal health, provide safe mother-centered care and support the well being of birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda) the Project Coordinator ensures programs are effectively implemented, monitored, evaluated, and adequately reported.

The Project Coordinator is responsible for the management of staff, volunteers, programs, and the program budget. The Project Coordinator is passionate about community development, safe maternal health and the empowerment of women on a global scale.


Human Resource Management and Leadership

  • Provide motivational and inspirational leadership to interns/staff and act as an ambassador for Shanti Uganda
  • Recruit, train, and manage all Ugandan staff and local and international volunteers
  • Create postings, projects, placements for volunteers and interns
  • Responsible for identifying and recruiting local volunteers  
  • Facilitate weekly interns’ meetings and co-facilitate monthly staff meetings
  • Manage the Volunteer House and volunteer needs
  • Maintain a positive and supportive work/living environment

Project Management and Communications  

  • Oversee the implementation of plans to ensure expenditures, activities and deliverables are within budget and in line with Shanti Uganda’s strategic plan as well as donor agreements
  • Collaborate with the Director of Ugandan Operations, Interns, Head Midwife, Stakeholders, and Advisory Committee to ensure continuous developmental improvements in all project areas and angles
  • Report to the Director of Ugandan Operations weekly
  • Manage the local bank account, balance monthly expenses, and control overall project budget
  • Manage social media updates from Uganda and prepare regular blog entries

Partnership & Fund Development

  • Work on grant applications, sponsorship proposals, LOIs, and requisition letters
  • Build new local partnerships and steward current/potential local funders
  • Coordinate the planning of two Shanti Uganda annual fundraising events and Shanti Uganda’s participation in District activities/celebrations   
  • Represent Shanti Uganda at District meetings and events  
  • Maintain and promote revenue generation
  • Actively seek out new sources of funding including Ugandan and East African-centric grants, partnerships and corporate opportunities       
  • Facilitate meetings with funders in Uganda

Monitoring and Evaluations

  • Monitor, evaluate and report on programs
  • Develop financial reports and progress papers for funders and local partners
  • Prepare quarterly and annual program reports and oversee monthly reporting

Other duties may be assigned as needed



  • Degree in International Development, Global Public Health, Non-profit Management, or other relevant degree. Minimum undergraduate degree, masters preferred. 
  • Minimum six months experience living and working in low resource areas
  • Relevant experience in fund development and grant writing and reporting
  • Proven management of 15 (or higher) member teams
  • Successful management of spending in line with approved budgets
  • Capable of managing multiple projects under strict deadlines
  • Proven ability to work well with limited supervision
  • Experience establishing and maintaining local partnerships
  • Experience seeking and managing income generating opportunities

Personal Attributes

  • Able to develop and support other team members
  • Excellent English language communication skills, both written and oral
  • Resourceful, mature, and dependable
  • Open-minded, flexible, and patient
  • Impeccable organizational skills with keen attention to detail
  • Results oriented
  • Relationship builder with exceptional networking skills
  • Lead by example
  • Empathetic and compassionate
  • Ability to enjoy life in rural Uganda
  • Value self-reflection and open communication
  • Embrace challenges and are driven by your selfless commitment to others
  • Team-player with good interpersonal and conflict management skills
  • Flexibility is a must


  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and online social media tools (twitter, facebook, instagram). Ability to use Adobe photoshop an asset
  • Tangible knowledge of monitoring and evaluations and results based management tools
  • Demonstrated interest in women’s health, human rights, community development and social justice, the midwifery model of care and holistic health
  • Public speaking and networking skills an asset
  • Possess the ability and willingness to live and work in close quarters with the interns and volunteers you supervise while being respectful of space and mindful of the professional vs personal relationship dynamic

Working Conditions

This is a full time contract position starting December 15th 2016, with orientation to begin November 24th 2016 in Uganda. The initial contract is for one year, with the possibility of extension. The work week is 40 hours per week including occasional evening and weekend work. Round trip airfare and visa costs are covered by Shanti Uganda. The Project Coordinator will be provided with their own private furnished bedroom and office within the Shanti Uganda Volunteer House compound. The Shanti Volunteer House accommodates interns/volunteers from around the world and contains a furnished kitchen, living room and bathroom.

The orientation period will be from November 24th 2016 to December 15th 2016 in Uganda and be provided by the outgoing Project Coordinator who is currently onsite. During this period, the new applicant will work a 30-hour workweek with a pay prorated to $400/month. Beginning on December 15, 2016, the pay will increase to $800 a month.

How to Apply

Please email your resume, one-page cover letter detailing your interest, and the contact information for three references to the Director of Ugandan Operations at info@shantiuganda.org by October 7th, 2016.

We are grateful to all applicants for their interest; however, only those selected for further consideration will be contacted. No phone calls please.

Mother Knows Best: Daisy’s Story

During our most recent Teen Girls Workshop this August, we were happy to see two familiar faces: Teddy, 18 and Benah, 14. Daisy, the mother of these two young women has been a member of Shanti’s Women’s Income Generating Group for five years and lives with her daughters four miles from our Birth Centre. Daisy expressed her enthusiasm for the workshop and was pleased her daughters were able to participate. The multi-day workshop was taught by Ritah Musoke, a community member and longtime Shanti team leader.

Daisy with her two daughters Teddy and Benah

Teddy and Benah actively participated in the workshop and were given tools and information on how to better face the many challenges of being a young woman in a safe and encouraging environment. Some topics covered by the workshop included: how to navigate emotional and sexual relationships, reproductive health and positive female role models. This caring mother encouraged her children to participate in the workshop knowing that the focus would be on empowerment and self determination.

At home, after the workshop, Daisy and her daughters discussed what the girls had learned, both from the workshop leader and the other young women in attendance. The girls have always been comfortable with asking questions and learning from their mother, however, Daisy was happy to see her advice reflected in the workshop. She now feels confident that by hearing the information from two different sources, Teddy and Benah have a more solid skill set.

Daisy recalls how she received information about woman’s health from her own mother and aunt. Although she recognizes the importance of family education, she is glad her daughters have multiple outlets and role models to learn from. Daisy is happy that her daughters were able to learn and ask questions in a comfortable environment surrounded by girls who face similar challenges as them.

Learn more about our Teen Girls Program here. 


Introducing Jane Drichta: Our Doula Training Instructor!

It is our pleasure and honour to introduce the one and only: Jane Drichta! We are thrilled to have Jane lead our Doula Training and Retreat in Uganda from October 10th- October 19th.

With a resume that is second to none, Jane’s warm energy and experience have been a part of the Shanti family since she volunteered at our Birth House in 2011. Since then, she led our first Doula Training and Retreat in 2012 and has proudly served on our Board of Directors since 2015. As a Midwife, Author of the critically acclaimed The Essential Homebirth Guide, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Massage Practitioner and Trainer: it is safe to say that our retreat goers are in excellent hands!

We caught up with Jane to speak candidly about her own journey into the maternal health world, the role of doulas, and give us a sneak peak into what makes Shanti Uganda’s Doula Training and Retreat so unique!

What do you find most people think Doulas are?

Jane: I think there is a lot of confusion between what a midwife does, and what a doula does.  I think most maternal health people spend time explaining that a midwife is a clinical provider, responsible for the health and safety of both mother and child, while a doula is a non-clinical member of the birth team.

In your own words, what IS a Doula?

Jane: After almost fifteen years working in maternal health and seeing how the birth world has changed, my answer to that evolves almost constantly.  Right now, I see a doula as an unbiased source of information on non-clinical childbirth information, who supports the family emotionally and physically before, during and after childbirth.

What attracted you to your profession?

Jane: The ability to help women come into their power has always been extremely important to me.  Sharing these peak experiences with women and seeing the changes and growth they experience through the perinatal year…it is just the best. It is an honour to attend every single birth, and I still earn something from each one.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned from writing your book, The Essential Homebirth Guide?

Jane:  That there is no such thing as too much coffee!  No, I am always so surprised and delighted when women share their stories with me.  Hearing their words and being allowed to share them with the world is an incredible responsibility that I will never take lightly.

Could you share a standout story from your years with Shanti?

Jane:  Oh, gosh, there are so many, that I couldn’t even choose.   Every time I am in Uganda interacting with our incredible staff and the women we serve, I am reminded that birth is bigger than all of us.  There is  a commonality to birth that transcends nationality or race or anything.  When you are with a women in that space, it is absolutely impossible not to feel so much hope for humanity’s unity.  That’s what I’ve gleaned from all these years with Shanti.

doula bracelets (2)What can retreat-goers expect from your workshop and retreat for doulas?

Jane: This workshop is the highlight of my year!  Retreat-goers can expect a joyful, respectful learning environment in which we pass around some deep human truths.  Students will learn how to support a family through the birthing experience, physically, mentally and emotionally, in a variety of settings and situations.  We will also unpack how we move through the world as individuals and what effect our own ideas and experiences around birth can have on our clients.  There is something about being at Shanti that encourages deep reflections, and I want to build on the insights and knowledge our participants are bringing to the table.

How is Shanti’s Doula Training and Retreat distinct from others around the world?

Jane: We focus on births as a human rights issue and filter the didactic learning experience through that lens.  There is a lot of emphasis on cross cultural support, and how to be aware of one’s own place in the world and how that can affect a client’s experience. We go deeply into the politics of the birth room, and the role of privilege and institutionalised power structures..  It is a unique programme, and there could not be a better place for it than our Birth House in Uganda.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give someone entering a career in maternal health?

Jane:  Get yourself straight with who you are and what your own motivations are for coming to this work.  It  is joyful and beautiful, and intense and messy and important, but you must be able to really know yourself and your heart and motivations before you can truly support a woman in birth.  Work through your own experiences and be clear in both your head and your heart. If you can do this, then your best self will shine through and your connections with your clients and colleagues will be pure and sincere.

walking home (1)


Learn more about Shanti Uganda’s Doula Training and Retreat here!

Supportive Sisters – Interview with Harriet and her birth partner/ sister Justine

Shanti Uganda Project Coordinator, Trine Rasmussen talks to sisters Harriet and Justine about how they support each other as birth partners.

Harriet is 28 years and just gave birth to her second baby Sunday night at Shanti, a baby boy- 2.9 kilo. Her birth partner was her younger sister Justine, who is 26 years, mother of Gladys age 2 and 5 months pregnant with her second child.

Harriet, please tell me why you decided to ask your sister to be your birth partner;

Justine and I have always been close, growing up together, and now living 10 minutes from each other. During my pregnancy Justine has been by my side, going with me to my antenatal appointments, helping me plan and shop for the baby.

 Harriet, what did it mean for you to have your sister as your birth partner?

Justine has been a great support emotionally and keeping me company for all my appointments. When my labor started in the evening, I called Justine and she came and helped get me to Shanti. During my birth, she stood by my side, encouraged me, gave me water and food. When I was feeling pain she told me to breathe and she held my hand. I was happy to have my sister by my side because I really needed her support and it was a great moment to share with her. She has been with me since I have given birth and she helped to cook and clean and sometimes she will watch my baby, so I can rest.

 Justine, please tell me why you decided to be your sister’s birth partner

I am a mom myself and now 5 months pregnant and I understand how it is to be pregnant and give birth. It was therefore natural for me to assist my sister. We have kids the same age, and now we are also pregnant at the same time. We went for antenatal appointments together as well as yoga, and I have therefore been a part of the whole pregnancy.

Justine, what was your role as birth partner?

It was important for me to support my sister emotionally, sometimes it’s hard being pregnant, you feel pain or discomfort and during those times, I had to be by her side and help her through. When Harriet went into labor, she called me and I went to pick her up, and we came here. In the beginning I helped her to walk around, made her tea and encouraged her. During the delivery, I made sure to hold her hand to encourage her despite the pain. After she gave birth I cooked her some food and I washed her clothes. I also stayed the night with her because I wanted to be around if she needed me. I’m going to stay here and we will go home together.

 Harriet is also going to be my birth partner when I give birth in 4 months. 

Long Roads Ahead

By Madelaine Thiel

Development and Partnership Coordinator

My time at Shanti is coming to an end! I can’t believe I will be leaving next week. It has been an incredible four months.  I remember thinking I had forever to spend here back in January.  With a departure date looming I am suddenly wondering where all the time has gone.

There is so much left to do here before I leave.  Asides form packing and saying goodbye to all my friends on the Shanti staff, I have some practical matters to take care of.  I need to set up a platform for the new intern coming in.  When he takes over my role, I want him to have a solid understanding of the priorities of the last 4 months and a sense of direction for his own internship. It is hard to think of this house moving on!  Memories tend to freeze capture individual experiences, while ignoring the changes that happen outside that specific window.  I can’t wait to hear how Shanti grows over the summer.

Here is a list of things I will miss most about this place:

-It is nice to have company. The house may get crowded and hot, but it is nice to be surrounded by people going through the exact same struggles and triumphs.

-I will miss my mosquito net.  I won’t miss malaria threats or nighttime crawlers, but there is something intimate about waking up in your own bubble of blue netting.

-I will miss Rolexes (the local fried delicacy)

-I will miss our project coordinator.  She acts as psychologist, friend, tour guide, cook, manager, translator, and physiotherapist.  One can always count on her to be a straight shooter, and I will sincerely miss her.

-I will miss the Shanti staff and Kasana community members.  My position involved some networking, so I was fortunate enough to meet many interesting people.

-I will also miss the fresh fruit and vegetables.  This is the best pineapple I have ever had in my life.  I will not be able to get this in Canada.

I am sure there are many more things I will miss but for now this is all I can think of. I do look forward to seeing friends and family, but like all departures it is a bitter sweet thing.

Ugandan Medical System

by Madelaine Thiel

Development and Partnership Coordinator

I have had some personal experience with the Ugandan medical system.  I was hit by a motorcycle some weeks back and I am on the mends, but saw some interesting aspects of the health care system.  As a side note-let this be a lesson about the importance of travel insurance.

After the collision I was driven to the local hospital where I was prescribed a lot of painkillers.  Ugandan doctors hand out antibiotics like candy.  Granted, I was missing some patches of skin, but I thought the blood infection antibiotics were a bit much.  I was prescribed some ibuprofen as well.  My doctor came into the office with two avocados.  As I was waiting in the car after my appointment, he saw me and came by to wish me a speedy recovery.  He gave me one of the avocados.

Upon my arrival home, the power was out which was another sign that this was not my day.  My project coordinator put me on strict bed rest.  As I discovered that weekend, ice is surprisingly difficult to come by in rural Uganda when there is a sketchy power supply.

I went to Kiwoko hospital a few days later to get X-rays to ensure there was no bone damage.  I am happy to say there is none.  I found a couple of things strange about the medical system here.  I like that I got a sheet of paper recording all my previous drug prescriptions and all the treatment on the matter until now.  When I have stopped into clinics in Canada they don’t seem to pay such attention to previous care.  Maybe my experience is just an exception to the rules.  I was also caught off guard by how much say I had in the matter.  They asked me what I wanted.  I was offered more painkillers, more antibiotics, and a couple of other scary looking pills.  Overall this was not a bad introduction to the medical system.

I am now looking into physiotherapy.  It is a rarer service and I am not sure many people from this district have access to it.  I was surprised however, that most practitioners seem to work either out of a hospital or have a private practice where they travel to you to work on your body in your living room.  I guess the demand is not there to justify a sports rehabilitation clinic!  I have an appointment later this week to work on my knee.  I am excited to see what this fellow has to offer and to see how we can work together.  I am hoping to see this fellow a few times before I get on a nine hour flight.  Overall, this has been a relatively smooth process of recovery.

A word of caution to those traveling this way: Look both ways before crossing the street and always hold hands. Also-accept the fact that some people are crazy drivers and you have to pay for it.

Mother’s day: Tears and gratitude

By Emilie Salomons Dr. TCM, FABORM

Tonight I attended a screening of a documentary film called ‘Sister’, hosted by Shanti Uganda, and then moderated a panel on preventable maternal and infant mortality. The film ‘Sister’ tells the story of health workers from Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti, exploring how they find meaning while working under difficult circumstances and revealing maternal and newborn death as a human rights issue.

I will admit that the film was not easy to watch. As I held back tears I was reminded that no matter how long you work in the field, or how much you know about the politics, history or socio-cultural conditions around preventable maternal and infant mortality; when it looks you right in the face as it did tonight, the pure gut reaction is one of horror and an almost frantic desire to fix the situation. No woman or child should die from a preventable issue, plain and simple.

I am now siting here in my dark, quiet home, both my husband and son fast asleep. And suddenly I am deeply humbled, saddened and filled with immense gratitude at the same time. I am grateful for my family, my home, and my job. I am grateful for my own mother, whom I adore and owe so much of my personality (quirks and all) and my almost dangerous love of good food to. But mostly, I am grateful for all those lucky enough to have access to good healthcare and perinatal care. We should not feel guilty about having access to good perinatal health care; we should feel outraged that so many women still don’t have access to it.(Developing countries account for 99% of 289,000 maternal deaths a year)

I won’t get into all of the social, economic and political details associated with preventable maternal mortality that were so eloquently articulated by Dr. Shroff, Dr. Shaw and Mrs. Bitek, mainly because I wouldn’t do it justice and because this blog would turn into a novel.

I will say this though. Tonight, on the eve of Mother’s day weekend (as I like to put it), I will be taking a moment to think about the mothers who died when they shouldn’t have. I will think of the babies who were lost too soon, whether from preventable issues or not. I will think of the women who suffer this weekend because they have lost a child, or those who suffer because they are reminded of their longing to have a child.

This weekend I will remember mothers with tears and gratitude, and a renewed motivation to do everything in my power to support the true foundation of human existence.

Re-posted with permission from http://www.acubalance.ca/blog/mother%E2%80%99s-day-tears-and-gratitude 

Learn how you can support our work to provide safe and affordable maternal and infant health care services to families in Luweero, Uganda: 

Become a Birth Partner today!