the edge of joy

01 Apr the edge of joy

I recently had the privilege of screening a new documentary by Dawn Sinclair Shapiro called The Edge of Joy about maternal mortality in Nigeria.

More than 36,000 mothers die in Nigeria each year due to a simple lack of blood for transfusions and a lack of family planning that puts them at risk for multiple births. The film profiles the midwives and OB/GYNs who are fighting an uphill battle for change in the hospitals and villages there.

As much as we may be dissatisfied with health care and access to affordable prenatal care in the U.S., this really puts things in perspective. Especially for me. Being self-employed, Kris and I’s individual health insurance did not cover maternity when I had B, so we paid close to $10,000 out-of-pocket for prenatal care and a normal, uncomplicated hospital birth. That definitely wasn’t easy or fair. Yet, many of these women don’t even have access to a $60 pint of blood for a transfusion if they hemorrhage. Their lives hinge on a single pint of blood!

Part of the challenge is due to the custom that women cannot travel without a male family member. So if her husband is out working when she gives birth and she bleeds, she can’t be transported to a hospital. My favorite quote from the movie is from the male OB/GYN who encourages everyone to value women more and says “no matter if you are man or woman, we all come from the woman.”

It just made me want to hug my babies a little tighter.

If you want to see the film, check online for upcoming screenings at www.theedgeofjoy.com A lot of the screenings include discussion afterward about the healthcare crisis and how we can help these women have better access to life-saving technology.

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