Are you ready for Mama?


The first word that most children learn.

I was surprised to discover that the word is nearly the same in every language.  A quick Google search will bring up lists of translations: ‘Mom’, ‘Mama’, ‘Meme’, ‘Maman’ or ‘Mami’.  With slight variations, the word for Mother can be repeated across the globe and be understood by almost anyone.

Mama is also the title of my next book. 

This book, still under construction, is going to share with you stories from mothers that you may have never considered before. Mama is going to take you to the doorstep of Bimbi Health Facility, specializing in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Malawi, Africa.

Until a few years ago, I had never before considered the challenges that women and infants in Africa face throughout pregnancy, birth and first years of life. I was introduced to the matter while working on an article for an NGO’s Maternal Health project, and the research I was uncovering broke my heart. How could young mothers and children really survive in these kinds of conditions?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO),

  • Approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 99% of these deaths occur in developing nations.
  • Almost all of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.
  • Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.

They have been overlooked for so long. Their nutrition has gone unnoticed, their health care centers sit in lonely disrepair, their education forgot about and unprioritized. As Canada and the West developed their medical and birthing practices, we left Africa behind in the dust, and it’s only now that we are taking notice.

It is important to reveal these stories to a world so unaware of their existence. Stories of poverty, of childbirth, of suffering. Equally important are the stories of tragedy that are coupled with truth and healing.

The ones that are riddled with pain, yet plastered with hope. The ones that offer a solution to the tragedies that are hidden in the corners of the world. It is important to present this hope because it influences societies to react, to pursue the solution and to remedy the suffering.

This book is to be a lesson to a world who hasn’t yet noticed the mothers and children of Africa; this book is to be a megaphone for the mothers and children who haven’t had their voices heard.

As always, 

Caitlin Arlene



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