Did you know that childbirth is STILL the biggest killer of young women in the world? Shocking isn’t it? If you aren’t shocked by that fact, you’d better check that you are still breathing – I’d put a pound to a penny that you are an actual member of the walking dead. Take a moment. Let it sink in. Imagine all of the human talent that is lost, bringing the next generation into the world, writes Radica Anikpe, who attended International Women’s Day celebrations on London’s South Bank, on behalf of Media Parents.
Celebrity mums, Helen Lederer, Gaby Roslin and Anna Chancellor, on behalf of the White Ribbon Alliance gathered a room full of people to discuss maternity around the world. The idea is to eventually publish a book filled with upbeat tales of maternity and motherhood.
What did we learn? Well, I was a little late to the Southbank Centre, so all hail the lovely security guard, who, sensing my rising panic, escorted me under the belly of the concrete beast, depositing me a mere lift ride away from the venue. So the first thing we learned was not to panic on route. Oh, and don’t imagine, just because the venue is a hop, skip and a jump from your house, that you will actually be able to get anywhere on a Friday night. Stagger, wait, wait and run, would be more accurate.
In Sierra Leone, a pregnant woman keeps her news of the impending arrival to herself, for as long as she can. A Bangladeshi doctor described her first pregnancy being joyfully celebrated at seven months – once the pregnancy is passed any trickiness. Interestingly, a lot of what would be considered “old wives tales” are generally borne out by science: the notion that a baby shouldn’t be allowed to bond with its mother until the placenta is out because a lot of women die during this time, has been proven by science.
The room was full of goodwill and warmth, and I was full of wine and mini sausages. At the end of the chats, we were all asked if we wanted to take a picture with a speech balloon that said; “hello mum”. I went home and kissed my sleeping mother on the head, but if your mama is further away right at this second, give her a call. Go on. She went to hell and back to get you here, least you can do is say hello.
Radica is a scriptwriter, presenter and v/o artist who has penned words for Davina McCall, Kate Thornton and Cat Deeley, presented for MTV and BBC Three and voiced programmes on BBC2, the World Service and Radio 4. She is returning to work after time out, toiling in the domestic sphere, and is happy to consider any interesting offers.