By Heidi Murkoff
August 3, 2016 | The Huffington Post
Before every baby, comes a bump. And as different as bumps can be – they come in every shape, size, color, and ethnicity, from every culture, every religion, every region and every demographic – each represents a beautiful new beginning, and a future in the making.
Motherhood is, as I always say, the ultimate sisterhood. No matter where I go in the world, from Bangladesh to Fort Belvoir, Lebanon to LA, Cairo to Kansas, from a clinic at Riker’s Island Prison to one caring for the displaced mothers of South Sudan, the bush of Sierra Leone to the suburbs of Seattle, all moms share a bond. Every mom wants the healthiest start in life for her baby, the brightest future for her child.
But tragically, for far too many moms and their babies, that start is anything but healthy. Each day around the world, about 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth – and many more are left permanently disabled. Globally, a full one-third of births are not attended by a skilled professional – and even many of those that are take place without adequate equipment, sanitation or clean water. And every year, 1 million babies die within the first day of their life, ending the promise of a bright future before it begins.
Many of the challenges moms face aren’t limited to developing countries. In the U.S., the wealthiest nation on the planet, both maternal and infant mortality are astonishingly high, especially in states such as Mississippi and Alabama where access to prenatal care, proper nutrition, and family planning remain astonishingly low.
But, the good news, the really good news is: we can change that. Together, we can mobilize to shape a healthier, more productive future ? one mom, one bump, one baby at a time. There are low-cost, high-impact, common sense solutions to end preventable maternal and infant deaths and support healthy moms and babies around the world, steps we can and should be taking to protect their future and our own: providing prenatal care to those who can’t afford or easily access it, stepping up programs that provide nutrition to expectant moms and breastfeeding support to new moms, and making reproductive health care (including universal access to birth control and family planning) available to women and girls, so they can choose to become moms at the time in their lives that’s best for them.
Let’s start making that change happen. Wednesday, August 3rd, is #BumpDay. For the second year in a row I’m teaming up with WhatToExpect.com, International Medical Corps, 1,000 Days, and the United Nations Foundation to bring bumps to the forefront — where they belong. And I’m hoping each and every one of you will join us.
#BumpDay is a day to celebrate that sisterhood of motherhood, those beautiful bumps, those beautiful babies, that beautiful promise of a beautiful beginning. It’s also a day to generate awareness about the challenges moms face trying to give their babies the best start — and the simple solutions that can help them overcome those challenges.
And it’s easy. Just post a picture of your bump or a bump you love on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter using #BumpDay. Every bump is welcome. Post your current bump, a bump blast from the past, a bump for each of the babies you’ve had, your mom’s bump when she was expecting you. Dads, share your partner’s bump — and show your bump love with your arms wrapped around it.
Healthy futures start with healthy beginnings, and the health of the world’s mamas-to-be is linked inextricably not only to the future of our physical health but our economic and geopolitical health. There is no more pressing global issue affecting our collective future.
So please join me on #BumpDay. Because every mom deserves the care she needs to expect a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery, and a healthy baby – and every baby deserves the bright future a healthy beginning helps bring.
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.