As I write this post the sun is beaming through the window in my office, lighting up my desk and placing spotlights on pictures of my children, which surround me. The pictures capture “moments in time;” freezing memories of special days spent with my children that now live on and on. In a similar way, as if by spotlight, images and feelings from the moments of my children’s births, also are vividly locked forever in my mind and heart.As Mother’s day approaches, I am thrilled to be part of an awareness campaign on newborn survival rate and what can be done to improve this, illuminated by Save the Children, and coordinated by Mom Bloggers for Social Good. According to Save the Children’s, State of the World Mother’s Report 2013, a baby’s birth day is the most dangerous day of it’s life, with more then 1 million babies dying the day they are born.
As part of my participation in this awareness campaign, I am allowing myself some real time to reflect, to relive and remember those moments again and to sit back and think deeply on what it means to me personally to be a mother; how that very moment of my children’s birth forever changed me in large ways and small.I have two children who are now teens, Alana 13 and Elliot 15, both of whom where born in hospitals in New York City. Elliot came several days earlier then his due date and as he was my first, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I worked until 36 hours before he was born, and left my office as I was beginning to feel the first twinges of labor. With Elliot, I went to the hospital with these first labor pains, only to be sent home to wait, as I was told that it could be a day or two before he made his entrance into the world. My husband and I were both off from work so we passed the time being “tourists” in our city. We went on a “back stage tour” of the Metropolitan Opera house, caught a movie and walked in Central Park. At 4:30pm that afternoon we went back to the hospital and this time they told me to stay. The next 12 hours seemed long and hard for me, but I was constantly under excellent care and monitored at all times. Elliot arrived at 4am, healthy and happy.
Alana’s birth was a different story. The date was fixed and planned. We had family in place to care for Elliot, the doctor had organized everything at the hospital and we felt completely prepared. We were ready for almost everything, except the weather as it turned out in the end. (Perhaps an omen and a sign that a few years later I would train with Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project and make fighting climate change my life’s passion and work!)The day Alana was born was one of the wettest in New York City’s history, with multiple inches of rain falling in a very short time, flooding streets and also stopping the subway in it’s tracks. We were able to flag a cab who navigated the flooded streets and got us to the hospital safely. Our doctor was coming into the city from Westchester County, so while a little late getting to us, she made her way into the city, driving herself to be sure she could get to us. I was in labor only 3 hours, and Alana came out with bright eyes and already smiling, a happy child then and now.
Two things now stand out to me amongst the strong memories from both of my children’s births.
First is the fact that I felt completely safe and in the most capable hands, not only on the day of their births but throughout both of my pregnancies. I never doubted that I and my children would survive and flourish, and I was certain that if there were any problems, I had a medical team who would make sure that all problems were addressed and taken care of. This feeling of security and the care I had throughout my pregnancies and during my children’s births is a luxury that many mothers in developing countries and even many mothers in my own country, do not have. In fact according to a new Birth Day Risk Index found in the 2013 State of the World’s Mothers Report, based on data from 186 countries the chances a baby will die on the first day of life places the US behind 68 other countries. An eye opening statistic for me.
Second, while I felt incredible joy and unconditional love holding my children for the first time, I also felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility wash over and through me. It was now my responsibility to make sure that the world that my children would be growing up in was a safe and secure one.
As I learn more and more about the realities of climate change, and the crash course we are on with our environment as we head full steam for the climate cliff in front of us, I feel that it is MY JOB as a mother to help everyone I meet, via my blog, on line and in person, to understand more about the climate crisis. I feel a sense of urgency, for my children’s future and now, to help as many people as I can become equipped with the proper toolkit we will each need to draw from to slow down the damages we are doing and to put the breaks on while we work to transform our world to one which is safe, clean, renewable and truly sustainable….
Whether you are a parent or not, I hope will join me on this transformational path. As super storm Sandy showed those of us living in the northeastern US, we are ALL in the path of climate change. We are ALL vulnerable to extreme weather and changing climate conditions through our reliance on fossil fuels and our thoughtless dominance over our natural world – regardless of race, creed, political persuasion or color. To me, our responsibility to our children has never been clearer. How we treat and tend our natural world has far reaching ramifications for our children’s health directly and for the health, welfare and future of all mothers and children around the world.
As part of the Global Team of 200 and Mom Bloggers for Social Good, bloggers around the country collectively support a cause or action to bring attention to an important issue. This month we are thrilled to bring attention to Save the Children and their Saving Newborn Lives program which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Newborn Lives program works in partnership with countries to reduce newborn mortality and improve newborn health. As part of the Global Team of 200 I also am honored to have the opportunity and play a role in helping others “connect the dots” between our climate crisis and social issues impacting us all.