White Ribbon Alliance

Canada Book Launch

Mom deserves 40 days

May 19, 2014
It was a Joe Clark family affair.

When one member of the family takes on a cause, the others are right there in support.

Such was the scene at British High Commissioner Howard Drake’s home, Earnscliffe, on May 7 when Brigid McConville of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood launched her new book, On Becoming a Mother.

Maureen McTeer, the Canadian representative for the White Ribbon Alliance and wife of the former prime minister, Mr. Clark, said the family has worked together on issues related to women’s equality.

Standing close by was their daughter, Catherine Clark, host of CPAC’s Beyond Politics.

The Alliance, which aims to inform women and uphold their right to a safe and healthy childbirth process, has helped send mammogram machines to Ghana, for example.

Ms. McConville, who is director of the alliance’s United Kingdom branch, said she used to be a journalist, but after discovering the plight some women faced while giving birth, she became an advocate. She spoke of a region in Tanzania where a woman experiencing complications during birth would have to travel 200 kilometres to get to a health centre.

“I’d been talking for years about the sad and bad stories. I got to the point where I wanted to hear some of the plus side,” said Ms. McConville of her idea to write the book.

So she started to ask women what they were most proud of and what others could learn from their culture on giving birth.

“And the stories began to flood in. And the stories were so encouraging and so warm. It’s been an absolutely delight to gather them together,” she said.

Much to the envy of many ladies in the room, she spoke of one custom across many African and Asian countries where a mother is doted upon for 40 days after giving birth and isn’t made to do any work. Forget one Mother’s Day in Canada. We need 40!