This Mother’s Day I challenge you

There are days created specifically to celebrate people that have been fundamental pillars in our lives. Today we stop to acknowledge mothers globally carrying out what is arguably the most important and challenging job in the world.

Whether its shaping our future leaders or simply teaching children how to tie their shoelace, mums are on the front line, handing this world over from one generation to the next.

So, this Mother’s Day I challenge you to imagine a world where your mother’s life was lost in the process of bringing you into the world. A world where due to something that could have been avoided, your life was lost and with it, her chance to love a child. A world where if you both survived, she was denied the basic support she needs to grow you into the best version of you she possibly can.

Every day, at least 20 women in rural Kenya die during childbirth. Lack of access to medical facilities and timely maternal health information are the key reasons for this tragedy. Their ability to mother and love a child is defined by their socio economic status and geolocation.

When I think about Mother’s Day I think about arguments with my siblings - what tea towel to buy, what photo we should have framed or trying to remember what flowers mum doesn’t hate. The squabbles over who would be tasked with making mum breakfast in bed, when looking back, she probably would have rather eaten at the table.

Now, a few years older and I can look back on my childhood through an objective lens. I would tell my younger self to stop focusing on these trivial notions and appreciate the woman standing in front of you.

This Mother’s Day, I challenge you to think of all the times she made sacrifices for you or lost sleep worrying about you. I also challenge you to think about what pending motherhood might look like for a woman in rural Kenya. She will make those same sacrifices, have the same worries, but she also might die bringing her child into the world or be robbed of the chance to love a child who doesn’t make it out alive.

Now let me tell you about a group of Kenyans who did something incredible for mothers (and fathers) in Kenya. A group of local leaders with a solution to a local problem. With YGAP’s support they developed Totohealth, an SMS and voice technology reducing maternal and child mortality while also detecting developmental abnormalities in early stages of pregnancy and a child’s life.

Totohealth enables parents to receive targeted, personalised messages linked to their stage of pregnancy or child’s age, highlighting warning signs in their health or development and providing access to timely care if required.

With 21,126 parents currently registered across 6 counties, Totohealth’s reach has been instrumental in providing these women with a hopeful future as mothers. It is a privilege women in developed nations are blessed with and Totohealth’s goal to provide every mother an opportunity to safely bring another human life into the world inspires us every day.

This mother’s day I’m going to tell my mum I love her and thank her. My challenge to you is to do the same – on behalf of the children who don’t get that chance and the mothers who will never hear it from a child they lost.