But ensuring a safe delivery is not only a question about seeking care; it is also a question of delivering the right quality of care. All over sub-Saharan Africa, health workers with low levels of education are often appointed alone to health posts in hard-to-reach areas. The consequences for the women giving birth and for their newborns are often fatal.
How is it that such a grave disparity persists in 2014, with all the wealth in the world? Why do we allow some women to suffer so needlessly because they happen to live in a country without the resources to care for them properly? This isn't a Ugandan problem, or an African problem, or even a women's problem. It's our problem.
If you take my gorgeous, healthy baby out of this story, giving birth was the worst physical and emotional experience I have ever had. It was devastating. It devastated me so much I couldn't get past the shock when the nurses laid my baby's beautifully plump body across my chest, heart racing, sweat dripping from my brow.
Most births don't have complications but some do, and it is unfortunate when women feel they or their births are failures for failing to meet their preconceived notions of success. Women should strive for a birth that is manageable and meaningful, but without a sense of entitlement that it must be fast, painless, and stoic.