Have you ever felt hungry? When I’m pregnant, my hunger jumps to a whole new level. I have only ever been that hungry when carrying a child. It’s shocking to me, this very raw and primitive need to eat NOW, no matter what! At one of those moments, I remember talking to a friend from Mozambique. She had just come to New York from a volunteer internship at a pre-natal center in her homeland. And a light bulb went on. What do you do with that hunger, that all-consuming pregnancy hunger, when there simply isn’t enough to eat?
What about the trip to the hospital when that baby tells you she’s ready and there’s no holding her back? Yes, I have lived the cliche of almost having a child in a New York taxi! There is nothing like that climb-the-walls feeling of pounding contractions in the back seat as your panicked driver tries to get you across midtown and hits every pot hole between 1st and 10th Avenues. Dying, right?
When I saw Christy Turlington’s documentary last year, No Woman No Cry, another light bulb moment occurred as I watched a woman in Tanzania walk several miles to deliver her baby, only to be turned away. She walked all the way home, then back again the next day. This time, they had to get her to a hospital. On dusty roads with pot holes that make NYC streets look like the smoothest autobahn. In ACTIVE LABOR, being thrown from left to right for way longer than my 20 minute taxi ride in Manhattan traffic.
I thought about having my husband, my dearest friends, my mother, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my older children gather around me in the hours and day or two post deliveries to celebrate and nurture each new baby in our family. The joy of that bonding, that connection and sisterhood that has been such a pivotal part of birth for me. I love filling my hospital room with my special ones, and then sending them all away so little one and I can snuggle and get better acquainted.
When the hospital is miles away on inaccessible roads, you are far from your loved ones and it’s almost impossible for them to get to you. You are alone, you are exhausted, you have no money as the emergency ride took everything you had. You are hungry from the exertions of labor, but did not bring enough food, as you generally must provide your own meals. It’s a tough way to welcome your baby.
But welcome her you do. Just like almost every mother. When we strip our experiences back to their core, we are more alike than we are different.
What went through your mind when you held your baby for the first time? And how does it connect you to other mothers in your life and around the world? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs October 17 to November 13, 2011. A random winner will be announced by November 15, 2011.