Having been a reproductive rights advocate for close to 10 years now, I think the importance of having an enforceable framework that supports women’s maternal health hit close to home after giving birth to my daughter in March 2014. I looked into her eyes the first time, a little overwhelmed and scared and my first thought was ‘I can’t believe I’m someone’s mum!’ Quickly followed by ‘I want MY mother…because what do I do next!’
All levity aside though, I am very grateful to have had family and medical practitioners with me during my journey to motherhood. I am well aware that in Kenya, where I live, maternal mortality rates are heartbreakingly high. These are preventable deaths and governments in Africa really ought to prioritize this issue.
As I celebrate my first ever Mother’s Day as a mother, I continue to support the work of the African Women Leader’s Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning that supports the efforts of African women to improve reproductive health and access to comprehensive family planning. Mother’s Day to me this year means a chance to celebrate my daughter and an opportunity to advocate and ensure reproductive rights for all women. It is time we support policies that make women and their families more secure. Our countries would be better off if we give women control over their health decisions. That would be a truly special Mother’s Day gift.
* Nerida is a human rights and legal professional with over ten years’ experience in the legal and non-profitmaking sectors in the East African region.