The Mother & Child Project: Raising Our Voices for Health and Hope is a collection of essays written by 42 celebrities, politicians, medical professionals, and ministry leaders, in support of women's health around the world.
Almost 300,000 women die each year in developing countries because of complications due to pregnancy. Without a mother, many of their children die as well. Eighty percent of these deaths are preventable with resources that are available right now in the developed world. Compiled by Hope Through Healing Hands, an organization whose mission is to promote an improved quality of life for citizens and communities around the world using health as a currency for peace, in this book influential leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Michael W. Smith, Tony Campolo, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley raise their voices together to provide a personal and fact-based glimpse at the plight of women and children living in poverty. The purpose of the book is to issue a call to action regarding the health and well-being of women and children around the world.
The book is divided into four sections: Maternal and Child Health: How Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy Saves Lives; Strong Mothers: The Key to Healthy Families, Communities, and Nations; Other Concerns: Male Involvement, Child Marriage, Slavery, and Orphan Care; and Why Maternal Health Matters to People of Faith.
The contributors offered a good mix of stories of women and children around the world, success stories, and facts and statistics. I found the first section to be a little repetitive. Every essay (as the title of the sections suggests) mentioned how healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies saves lives. I suppose since healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies is the most important factor in women's health, the compilers felt the repetition was necessary. Indeed, the first section had the desired effect of drilling into my brain the necessity of providing tools that women can use to plan their childbearing.
The rest of the book provided enough variety to hold my interest, and included other health care issues and addressed other ways in which women and children are marginalized. I found the book as a whole inspiring, especially the success stories shared about women who had improved their health and circumstances due to education and access to medical care.
As a call to action, this would be an excellent book to read with a group. There is a discussion guide available, and the appendix lists ways to get involved and organizations to support.
Near the end of the book, pastor and author Scott Sauls says:
The notion that every person is equal is one to which any reasonable person will give mental assent. But when we come to understand that Jesus has taken our shame from us, and the because of this we have nothing left to hide, nothing left to fear, and nothing left to prove, we become owners of, and not mere assenters to, the notion that every person in equal. Our energies shift from being preoccupied with self to being preoccupied with God and the flourishing of our neighbor.
I don't know how one could read this book and not feel called to take action in support of women and children around the world.
Bottom line: This inspiring compilation does just what it sets out to do--it calls people to practical action regarding the health and well-being of women and children living in poverty.
I received this book for free from the publisher through Book Look Bloggers for my review. All opinions are my own.