By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach at Women Deliver
About a year ago, at the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington, DC, I watched Christy Turlington Burns’ directorial debut, “No Woman, No Cry.” In our huge conference hall, between intense conversations on funding streams and health strengthening solutions, this movie made an impact. It told the stories behind the stats, and it gave a face to the 358,000 women and girls who die during pregnancy and childbirth each year.
Since that day, I’ve seen the film twice more at international women’s health conferences and events. But, I kept thinking, “I wish I could show this to my friends and family!” I wished I could show it to all the people who look at me, perplexed, when I tell them that I work for Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization working to improve maternal health. All those people whose jaws drop when I relay the tragic statistics and they say, “Wow, I never knew.”
This Saturday, the “No Woman, No Cry” film, which portrays four women at critical junctures in their pregnancies and profiles their experiences in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and right here at home in the US, will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The film will be showed on May 7th at 9:30 pm ET and again on May 8th at 1 pm ET. In addition, Christy has launched an accompanying campaign called “Every Mother Counts” that explains the issues around maternal health, offers educational tools, and gives concrete ways to take action. One of these actions is to host a “watch party” for the screening of the film. They’re asking you to invite your friends, your family, your moms group or whomever you choose to watch the film together and use a discussion guide with key questions to facilitate a conversation with your friends. Genius.
The problem of maternal mortality is heartbreaking. And the fact that these deaths are preventable with well-known, cost-effective solutions like family planning programs; skilled care before, during, and after childbirth (including emergency obstetric care); and safe abortion is even more heartbreaking. But the tragedy of these deaths, and the hope offered by saving their lives truly comes to life in “No Woman, No Cry.” So, celebrate Mother’s Day this year by learning about what it takes to become a mother around the world, and sharing that knowledge with everyone you know.