As a mother, I cannot imagine the stress and fear of giving birth on an island with little to no electricity and clean running water. With hospitals and operating rooms overwhelmed with others needing care, many women in post-Maria Puerto Rico are now forced to deliver their babies at home. Again, this is not elective home birth, this is “the baby is coming and there is nowhere else to deliver” birth. The women of Mujeres Ayudando Madres (MAM) (http://mujeresayudandomadres.com/ ) have stepped up as a local team of (largely volunteer) ob-gyns, midwives, and doulas. Before Maria, they faced financial hardship and considered closing their doors. Today, they simply cannot. There are too many mothers and families that need them. I am sure my “mom” friends know how essential those prenatal and post-natal visits were for us (and we didn’t even have to worry about Zika).
“They’ve been busy these last two months caring for more than 200 women and families all over the island. In addition to facilitating home births, services include a breastfeeding station at the office (to minimize the chance of babies drinking formula made with contaminated water), Zika prevention, and prenatal and postpartum checkups.” –from the VN article linked above, please also watch video in link
This year for my birthday I hope to pass along the blessings of my wonderful community and relationships to these families who could really benefit from your good will and caring at this time. This cause is deeply personal to me as a woman, a mother and a part of Puerto Rican diaspora. With my father and many generations before him being born in Puerto Rico, I feel like it is incumbent upon me and my generation to help the next one being born.
In lieu of birthday gifts this year, I hope that you will consider giving here instead. I am grateful to all of you vibrant and kind people who have contributed to who I am today, at (almost) 36! All the money raised here will go directly to MAM’s PayPal account. I have shared this campaign link with their office and spoken on the phone with them. Thank you.
More on Centro MAM from their FB page:
"Mujeres Ayudando Madres (Centro MAM) is a non-profit, community-based organization registered in 2007 under state laws. MAM Center was born to serve the population of women and families in the stage of motherhood. This organization was created to unite health professionals who promote and care for safe birth and the reproductive rights of families. In addition, it arises from the need to take the message to the community of Puerto Rico about the evidence-based options proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are considered fair practices in the stage of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. MAM Center believes in the potential of every woman, and pregnancy considers it a healthy stage that must be respected and recognized for its intrinsic strength. Those who lead community work at the Center have contributed to the people of Puerto Rico as activists of the inherent rights of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum in the last 30 years."
Another news piece featuring the center: https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/new-moms-in-puerto-rico-face-a-health-care-crisis-1126740547901