Yesterday I went for an interview for a communications internship at UNICEF in Sydney. Part of the process involved a writing task, which was to compose tweets and a facebook post on a new campaign, 28 Days. Children are 500 times more likely to die in their first day of life than once they reach one month of age. The campaign aims to support expecting and new parents to have healthy pregnancies and to prevent fatal childhood illnesses so that babies can survive the important 28 day milestone.
Sitting at my desk I thought about the births of my two children and the choices I had available to me. Opportunities to choose when to have a baby due to available contraception, a choice between having a natural birth over intervention, a choice to give birth in a hospital or at home, whether to have the baby in a bath or in a bed.
I remember the relief of arriving at the birth centre, knowing the midwives there had helped many women before give birth to their babies. I also knew that should anything go wrong there were qualified doctors and state of the art equipment to assist me.
I was lucky enough to go home the day after the birth of my second child and a midwife came to the house every day to check on us. All paid for as part of Australia’s public health system. There are many cracks in that system but the principal of universal health care is still a tenet of our society.
I look at this photo of little Moges from Ethiopia and his mother. I see the same love a mother has for a child anywhere in the world. I see a tiny, precious life at the beginning of a perilous journey. When I look harder I see a dirt floor and walls and I see that this mother very likely had very few choices about her birth and the subsequent care that she and her baby will receive.
I composed my tweets and facebook post, thanked the interviewers and left. I will find out next week if I was successful in gaining the internship. I see now though that whatever the outcome, my life is full of choices and opportunities, unlike that of Moges and his mother, and I have a responsibility and the privilege to use those choices to make some sort of difference where I can.
For more information on UNICEFs 28 days campaign click here.