MOTHER’S RIGHTS, segment 2 of 5 (see previous post)
REFRAMING MOTHERHOOD IN THE CONTEXT OF EQUALITY
The Right to Health
The low priority afforded worldwide to the health of mothers is a fact wholly incongruous with their inestimable value. The loss of a mother is an ordeal more devastating to a family than any other. Yet women undergo pregnancy in many cases without adequate prenatal care or skilled birth attendants.5 Widespread mother malnutrition and the high incidence of childbirth mortality in many regions of the world reflect the low priority given to mother’s health by agencies allocating resources.
Even beyond pregnancy, safeguarding the health of a mother would directly affect the survival of children. It is clear that what is good for mothers is good for families. Therefore, in allocating resources to the health of mothers, governments are ensuring the highest benefits to the largest number of its citizens.
5 Remarks by Dr. Fatala, on the World Bank sponsored Forum on the Protection of Motherhood, featured on C-Span Radio, April 7, 1998.
That was all I wrote back then in that article about the right to health. Boy, was I naive! It amazes me that I left out the whole subject of mental health for mothers. How would a mother with chronic depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD due to various forms of abuse for example, be an effective parent without access to adequate mental health support?
When fathers suffer from various mental health problems they often just take off. Mothers who suffer from mental health issues are often trying to cope with their untreated condition while childrearing. They may even feel threatened with child removal by child welfare agencies. Where is the advocacy for mothers? Do mothers have a right to mental healthcare so that they can be effective mothers? What is the cost to society of ineffective mothers?
Hard to calculate, you say. No. I would say it is incalculable.
I have a friend who is poor, severely depressed and trying to raise her daughters without child support. She told me the most egregious pain of motherhood is witnessing her children’s privation. It is debilitating.