Break the Silence
During my time both here in the Philippines as well as in Madagascar, I’ve been with women during childbirth in hospital settings. On this blog, I can’t describe in detail the things I’ve witnessed, experienced and heard… they are not my stories to tell and to be honest, they are too gruesome to share in such a public setting. However, what I can share is my feelings in relation to what I’ve seen. I’ve always known to an extent that women during pregnancy and childbirth can be treated horribly. What I’ve recently experienced though is the complete violation, victimization and abuse that women many times endure during some of the most precious times of their lives… as they’re bringing their babies into the world. Horrific doesn’t even come close to a description. And it happens all of the world. In rich countries and in poor countries. It happens.
The White Ribbon Alliance has a campaign to raise awareness for the right to respectful maternity care. Watch this video clip they put out and familiarize yourself with the 7 rights. And share it. Tell the women in your life. Put it on Facebook. Spread awareness.
The birth center, Mercy In Action, I’ve been interning at here in Olongapo, Philippines provides amazing respectful maternity care to every single woman who walks in the door.
It is this mother-friendly, baby-friendly respectful care that I pray we can provide to the women in Madagascar in the years to come through our own birth center.
The 7 Universal Rights of the Childbearing Woman
- Every woman has the right to be free from harm and ill treatment. No one can physically abuse you.
- Every woman has the right to information, informed consent and refusal, and respect for her choices and preferences, including companionship during maternity care. No one can force you to do or do things to you without your knowledge and consent.
- Every woman has the right to privacy and confidentiality. No one can expose your or your personal information.
- Every woman has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. No one can humiliate or verbally abuse you.
- Every woman has the right to equality, freedom from discrimination and equitable care. No one can discriminate because of something they don’t like about you.
- Every woman has the right to healthcare and the highest attainable level of health. No one can prevent you from getting the maternity care you need.
- Every woman has the right to liberty, autonomy, self-determination and freedom from coercion. No one can detain you or your baby without legal authority.
**If you’re interested in more ministries that have a heart for women and their babies, check out: Mom, Baby, Midwife, a blog by a nursing school friend, Calista Yates, who is a fellow midwife and missionary preparing to return to Indonesia.