Women Who Dare: Christy Turlington Burns Takes On Maternal Mortality

Christy Turlington

This post is part of Pathfinder's "Women Who Dare" series in celebration of International Women's Day 2013. Because remarkable women around the world continue to "dare" each and every day, Pathfinder will continue to feature "Women Who Dare" beyond just International Women's Day.

Christy Turlington Burns is the founder of Every Mother Counts, a campaign dedicating to ending the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths linked to pregnancy and childbirth that happen every year around the world. Prior to her work with Every Mother Counts, Christy directed and produced "No Woman, No Cry," a documentary about the state of maternal health for mothers worldwide. As a part of "No Woman, No Cry," Christy dared to share her personal experience with postpartum hemorrhage, a condition that claims the lives of nearly 350,000 mothers every year.

Recently, Pathfinder spoke with Christy to learn more about the progress she's seen on the sexual and reproductive health front and her advice for changing the world.

You were very candid about your personal experience with postpartum hemorrhage in your film, "No Woman, No Cry." Did you ever imagine then that you would now be such an incredible advocate for maternal health?
I knew the moment I became a mother that my life would be profoundly changed, but I was surprised by the experience I had postpartum after everything else had gone so smoothly. Even with the complication, the experience was incredibly positive and liberating on so many levels. Then, when I discovered that pregnancy often leads to death for so many women and girls around the world, I needed to know more and do all I could to help raise more awareness. The film was basically a long research project that further proved that so much more could and should be done to save these lives. Once the film was complete, I knew that I still had a role to play and now, with Every Mother Counts, I am continuing to advocate with a mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all moms.

You’ve committed tremendous time and resources to raising awareness for improving women’s health. Do you ever consider that work daring?
There is a certain amount of daring that comes with sharing intimate details of your life and putting yourself out there over and over with audiences of complete strangers, but I feel that it’s healthy to share vulnerable aspects of our lives and if doing so inspires more mothers to share their stories with others and for others, I believe together we can make a difference.

In your work thus far, have you encountered any resistance or negative feedback?
Not that I am aware of. I think my passion and commitment is pretty transparent. But there is a certain amount of scrutiny because people who are known by the public know you for your other associations. I have been very open about what I know and don’t know and it seems clear to most people that I take this issue very seriously and am committed to doing everything I can to keep it in the hearts and minds of anyone I come into contact with.

What changes have you seen in the last few years for women’s sexual and reproductive health?
When I set out to make  “No Woman, No Cry,” over a half a million women were dying from complications in pregnancy and childbirth every year. Today, the numbers are closer to 300,000. This number is still way too high, but the fact is the world now is more aware of the problem and we are counting girls and women and registering births in more countries than we were doing previously. And the world is changing and our population is continuing to grow and we still aren’t reaching millions of people who wish to access family planning to help them control their family size so that they can care for them. Women’s reproductive health continues to be politicized, even in (the US) where women remain perilously close to losing the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy.

What inspires you to continue this work? Are there particular other daring women who motivate you?
I keep good company these days and frequently meet women who are so extraordinary that they inspire me daily. Even the most ordinary women in some places in the world are extraordinary to me given all they endure and yet continue to persevere. But women are daring in so many ways. Each and every one of us.

If you had one piece of advice for someone interested in changing the world, what would it be?
If you truly want to change the world, set an intention and the “what” and the “how” will present themselves. When you’re dedicated to making a change, and you believe deeply in what it is that you care about, you will make it happen.

This post is part of Pathfinder's "Women Who Dare" series in celebration of International Women's Day 2013. Read more stories of daring women and learn how you can take action at www.pathfinder.org/WomenDare.

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

Thank you therefore much pertaining to sharing the actual great blog.Hope anyone move forward to be able to share added of any ideas.Very inspiring AND ALSO helpful too. Frases
Name October 25, 2014
After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it. EL Symphony Condo
sadas October 25, 2014
This is one of the best articles! Cash Register Manufacturer
sass October 24, 2014
Hos oss hittar du ett stort urval av riktigt prisvärda hörlurar i alla kategorier, från enklast möjliga in-ear hörlurar till branschens ledande och mest exklusiva on-ear och over-ear hörlurar. horlurar
sass October 24, 2014
I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. Veryy awesome post thanks !!!! End of tenancy cleaning London
Name October 24, 2014
I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. mobile news
Name October 23, 2014
We are 100% REAL and professional anabolic steroids source and we provide to the world best and licensed 100% genuine anabolic steroids for sale online. steroids for sale
sadas October 23, 2014
I knew that I still had a role to play and now, with Every Mother Counts, I am continuing to advocate with a mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all moms. Buy tumblr reblogs
Name October 23, 2014
thanks , for the health of the female organs information please visit ... crystal x jual crystal x asli nasa jogja
cx October 22, 2014
I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. We are really grateful for your blog post. A very awesome blog post. buy youtube views
Name October 22, 2014
Women’s reproductive health continues to be politicized, even in (the US) where women remain perilously close to losing the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy click here
Name October 20, 2014
I knew the moment I became a mother that my life would be profoundly changed, but I was surprised by the experience I had postpartum after everything else had gone so smoothly click here
Name October 20, 2014
Thank you therefore much pertaining to sharing the actual great blog.Very inspiring AND ALSO helpful too.Hope anyone move forward to be able to share added of any ideas.I will certainly love for you to read... finansowanie inwestycji
Name October 20, 2014
I am always searching online for articles that can help me. A very awesome blog post. There is obviously a lot to know about this. We are really grateful for your blog post.I wish to show thanks to you just for bailing me out of this particular trouble why buy apple watch
Name October 20, 2014
We provide the online tools to make sure your focus remains running your business, keeping the time you spend working on your finances to a minimum. We do the work behind the scenes to make sure your finances are in the best possible position. online accounting services
sadas October 20, 2014
W naszej pracowni dysponujemy najwyższej klasy aparatem USG - AIXPLORER® firmy Supersonic Imagine z opcją elastografii SWE i opcją Doppler. Wszystkie wykonane u nas badania archiwizujemy cyfrowo oraz nagrywamy na nośnik USB. http://elastograf.pl/
sadas October 20, 2014
Selling a home in Rochester on your own has never been easier. From the city to the country – and all points in between- you can sell your home today without any hassles. or fill out the form below to get a written offer on your home the same day. Sell my house fast Rochester
sadas October 20, 2014
the public know you for your other associations. I have been very open about what I know and don’t know and it seems clear to most people that I take this issue very seriously and am committed to doing everything I can to keep it in the hearts and minds of anyone I come into contact with. First Oil Painting
First Oil Painting October 20, 2014
Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. travel insurance
sadas October 20, 2014
Stay updated with crazy viral stories going on across the globe that makes your mind go crazy. heartwarming
Name October 20, 2014
Scroll to top