Saturday, 21 March 2009

Remember the mothers

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK. In France it's the last Sunday in May unless this clashes with Pentecost, which it does this year, so it will be 7 June. For me it's always a toss up whether my sons will remember this date, or the French Fête des Mères, or both, or neither.

While I was contemplating that, I thought about all the different dates for Mothers' Days around the world. I've thought a lot about mothers over the years, especially those in developing nations where poverty is a fact of life.

Survival - mother and child tells the story of Marjana in Bangladesh, expecting her second child, where she is 50 times more likely to die in childbirth than a mother in a developed nation. Four million babies die within a month of birth.

She does it all and Tough women both are stories about "substitute" mothers, people who have taken over the care of children when parents have died from Aids, in the first case elder siblings, the second case grandmothers.

Child marriage. There is another sort of mother that we'd prefer didn't happen at all and these are the children who give birth at a very young age, because they have been married as children. Their bodies are not sufficiently mature to cope with childbirth and this can lead to complications and even death.

Finally, a few Numbers to highlight differences between countries:
  • In Sweden, 1 in 17,400 mothers die in childbirth.
  • In the UK, 1 in 8,200 mothers die in childbirth.
  • In Sierra Leone, 1 in 8 mothers die in childbirth.
If (when) my sons don't notice the date, I can count my blessings.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. Shaming that our death in childbirth rate is twice that of Sweden.

    But to have to give birth somewhere like Sierra Leone......

  2. It is shaming. Sweden is by far the best country as far as maternal death rates are concerned. To my amazement, the USA rate is 1 in 4,800.

    The figures are from UNICEF's "The State of the World's Children", which is downloadable in pdf form from their site.

  3. Good info... it is sad that not everyone can get good care.

  4. I had no idea things were that bad in the UK. I guess lots of women dying in childbirth isn't as interesting as Jade Goody dying of cancer. :(

  5. I wish everyone could understand the impact of the death of these mothers. How sad to die during one of natures miracles. Just sad.

  6. Scaring figures! Sounds like something really needs to be done.

    I'm of course very pleased with Swedens figures in this :-)

    Our Mothers day is celebrated the last one in May.

  7. @Sharkbytes, very sad indeed.

    @Solomon, nor had I. Quite sobering. It bothers me how celebrities get so much attention when there are so many others whose voices aren't heard.

    @RE, thank you! My sons remembered too. :)

    @ettarose, it's just such a disaster all around, because of course the babies, if they survive at all, never do so well as they do with their own mothers.

    @Lifecruiser, Sweden is a shining example!

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