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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thank you for making motherhood safer! (updated)

A happy mother and her newborn

A few weeks back during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I invited you to join me in raising money for my favorite nonprofit, International Midwife Assistance. (The website is www.midwifeassist.org.) IMA, founded and operated by a friend of mine, midwife Jennifer Braun, went into Afghanistan and started a midwifery school in Bamiyan, where there were no midwives and where women died in childbirth every day. (To read my original post, which contains more information, click here.)

After helping to train many young women as midwives and after saving many lives and delivering hundreds of babies, the volunteer midwives of IMA had to leave Bamiyan, famous for the statues of the Buddha that were blown to smithereens by the Taliban.

They found new purpose in Uganda, where disease, poverty and decades of violence leave too many women to give birth on the mud floors of their huts with only their friends and mothers to help them. The maternal and infant death rate is staggering there.

I don’t know about you, but I found childbirth to be the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I cannot imagine being in labor for three or four days until I died. Or giving birth repeatedly to babies that die from preventable infections, such as tetanus, within weeks of being born.

IMA began to provide supplies and midwives to a clinic they helped get up and running and which is named the Teso Safe Motherhood Clinic. Women from three nearby IDP (internally displaced persons) camps come to the clinic for lifesaving health care. Not only do they receive prenatal and birthing care there, but they also get anti-malarial drugs, antibiotics for infections, screening for HIV and vaccinations for themselves and their children. Clinic staff also hand out a miraculous lifesaving device known as a “mosquito net.” In other words, they try to do all they medically can to help these women and children, many of whom are victims of rape and other violence.

In addition, they go out to areas with no medical care, places where an ear infection or strep throat or a broken bone might mean death, and they offer care there, too, not only to women and children, but to anyone who needs it.

A pregnant mother stands in the prenatal care area of the clinic

The work that Jennifer and the other IMA staff and volunteers do in Uganda amazes me. Imagine getting an idea one day that saves hundreds of lives. That’s what they’ve done.

Well, some of you took me up on my idea for fundraising, each of you offering a modest sum that, when put together, adds up to a solid donation. You didn’t have to do this, but you did, and I am so very grateful.

My deepest thanks and heartfelt appreciation go to:

Hope Frost, Kris Gilson, Alyson Hackett, Kara Conrad, author Christy Reece, Jackie Prince, Crystal Scott, Mary G, Anne Woodall, and last but not least Ronlyn Howe!



Jennifer standing with local dignitaries outside the clinic

These wonderful women put together a donation of $115 that will go toward helping to save the lives of pregnant women and their babies. I am giving the check, which arrived in today’s mail with a very sweet card, to Jennifer this week, along with the $100 I promised to donate personally.

I called Jennifer to let her know, and she was thrilled. She sends her thanks. She has worked in conditions where there weren’t even sterile gloves and babies had to be caught with gloves that were washed in a sink and hung to dry. She told me that even modest amounts of money go far in these parts of the world. After all, in Uganda $115/US is equal to about $250,000 schillings.

Each of us has the chance to change the lives of others, even people we don’t know. And you nine special women have done just that. You’ll each be getting an advance copy of Breaking Point. So e-mail me your addresses (or send them to Ronlyn to forward to me), and I’ll get your books in the mail when I get them in April. Or I can send you e-ARCs if you prefer that — and you can have that right now, tonight, instantaneously.

Thanks again!

Yes, together romance authors and readers can change the world. Take that, you anti-romance novel snobs!

Update: Somehow, I left poor Anne Woodall out of the original post. Anne, I’m so sorry! Thanks so much for your contribution. It will make a difference to some young mother in Uganda. I really deeply appreciate it.

11 comments:

Christine said...

I don't know how, but I managed to miss that post all together, actually it was probably because it was posted around finals now that I look at it. I was won't be getting paid until friday, and when I am, I am going to give what little I can to this cause. You have my word on that!

Hope said...

Oh Pamela, it was truly an honor to help any way that we could. You are the one that deserves the kudos for bringing the issue front and center. You have such a loving heart and kind spirit, I know we were all just happy to help any way that we could!! Thanks!!! (and to Mrs. Howe for bringing it to her book buddies attention so we could do our part too)

krisgils33 said...

I can't say it any better than Hope, so ditto!!!

Diane W. said...

Oh, wow, what a lovely cause to invest in! I'm so sorry I missed the original post...I wasn't on line much in December. I clicked on the link you had to International Midwives, but it didn't work. Do you have a direct link to the organization? I'd love to make a personal donation, and I'm also going to suggest it to the ballet company my daughter is in. They do a little service project every spring and donate the proceeds to a good cause. I'm sure they would be interested in this one. Thanks!!

Diane, thanks for alerting me to that faulty link. I've tried to fix it. I've also inserted the actual URL in the post now, so you can type it in directly.

And thanks! I can't think of anything more hideous than dying in childbirth. I told Jennifer that when I make it as an author — and I am determined to make it — she will find that IMA is permanently funded.

In the meantime, I keep trying to find ways to make the organization's lifesaving work stretch farther.

Thank you! Thank you!


Hi, Christine — I bet you were in the middle of finals. I appreciate whatever you can do. Ten bucks means a lot in Uganda.

Hope and Kris — Bless you both! Now, get your snail addys or e-mails to Ronlyn so you can get your copies of Breaking Point.

Ronlyn said...

LOL. You told me you weren't going to post until today, so I just sent out an email for everyone to check the blogs. LOL. You're ahead of me! (yeah, no comments from the peanut gallery about that one please.)

You're so generous PC.

Mary G said...

Oh that's great Pamela. Thanks to Ronlyn for putting it together. Just shows what can be accomplished when people put their hands together.

Kara C said...

I am SO glad I read the original blog, Pamela. What a very worthwhile cause. Thank YOU for bringing it to our attention.

Crystal said...

Pamela
You are so amazing! I have to agree with Hope's post! Your the one that needs a big pat on the back!

Carrie said...

I, too, somehow missed the original post. Birthing and motherhood are close to my heart, having given birth to 6 children. I went to the website and donated. Thanks for bringing this charity to light.

Hi, Carrie — Mother of six! Wow! Boys? Girls? Both? I have a close friend who has six sons.

Thank you so much for taking the time to go to their website. I was one of the first journalists to report on what they were doing (Jennifer was a stranger to me then) precisely because I think it's such a needless tragedy when a woman dies giving birth — and it must be horrendously painful.

Thanks again! I know IMA will make good use of your donation.

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