Tag Archives: Family

Robin Lim, Midwife, CNN 2011 Hero of the Year!

It is fitting that during the Christmas Season, On December 11, 2011, Ibu (Mother) Robin Lim was honored as CNN 2011 Hero of the Year!

Robin’s honor is also a victory for marginalized childbearing women and those who serve them everywhere!

Every December, Christiandom’s most celebrated holiday honors an unwed pregnant teenager traveling with an older man who was refused a room at the Inn because they were of the wrong ethnicity. Thus, Christianity’s deemed son-of-God was born with little notice in a barn. Despite religious honor given the eternal story of childbirth under duress, there has been little public recognition of the real problem of inaccessible maternity care for the world’s marginalized women.

Robin’s public recognition as a CNN hero this recent holiday season marks a media milestone for the importance of women, babies and families.

Like many midwives the world over, Ibu Robin cares for impoverished, abused, hungry, poor marginalized childbearing woman. Robin’s articulate passionate voice unrelentingly brings these issues to public attention with gentility and respect.

Many congratulations to Robin Lim for her well-deserved acknowledgement!

Robin began serving pregnant and birthing women on the island of Bali years ago because needy women came to her. Robin did not intend to become a hero; she simply could not deny the women who came to her. At that time, Robin thought that minimal care was better than none. Beginning on a shoe string, with their own life savings, Robin, her husband Will, and a few close friends and family began a rudimentary service to provide no-cost midwifery care for the needy near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. She began attending homebirths on Bali’s dirt floors, eventually enough donations came to construct a clinic. For nearly 15 years Robin has worked tirelessly on behalf of the families dependent upon her care, often with little support and meager funds.
CNN “Portrait of Hero, Robin Lim”

Robin’s public writing and speaking on behalf of her passion slowly nourished growth of Bumi Sehat Foundation. By 2011, CNN’s team had narrowed their hero-finalists to a field of 10 heros, each are well-qualified altruistic award finalists,
Robin Lim was awarded the final “CNN 2011 Hero of the Year” $250,000 gift (in addition to $50,000 granted to each of the finalists). Robin’s nonprofit organization, Bumi Sehat Foundation International will use the funds for a much-needed expansion of existing services – clinics, birth centers and youth programs – in both Bali and Aceh Indonesia.

Click onto this line to view Robin’s post-award interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Bumi Sehat models low-cost health promoting care through education, support services, nutritional guidance, exercise programs, risk screening and transfer for medical intervention when appropriate. Funds and supplies come through donations.

Thanks to gentle consistent childbirth education and health maintenance programs, the majority of Bumi Sehat clients give birth with minimal or no medical intervention at Bumi Sehat’s birth center.

Robin’s nomination for CNN’s awared was supported by Christy Turlington Burns with her organization “Every Mother Counts”. Christy’s own harrowing experience with a retained placenta and life threatening post-partum hemorrhage, after a lovely peaceful birth, made her aware that other women in the world might not be so lucky as she. Christy thus founded her own organization to promote global access to maternal-infant care, “Every mother Counts” :

More information about Robin Lim’s work can be gleaned from the film Guerilla Midwife produced by her daughter, Deja’ Bernhardt :

Everyone in the field of maternity care hopes that increased publicity will expand access to preventative and gentle maternal-infant health programs.

Thank YOU Ibu Robin, dear old friend, for your contributions! You inspire us all, and motivate others to consider their priorities.

Society grows healthier from the micro the macro by beginning at the beginning.


9/11 Grief honors birthing families

Losing Lauren, his pregnant wife, in the crash of flight 93 on 9/11, Jack Grandcola found that giving provided his path through grief. Jack incorporated personal loss into his public and private identity. Grandcola’s family foundation supports a beautiful birth suite in Marin General Hospital where Lauren and Jack expected to greet their first child together.

The following article includes a touching video of the Grandcola family foundation’s contribution to a beautiful birth suite:

Pregnant Flight 93 victim honored by husband’s lasting tribute

I’m not able to embed this video, so please click on the article link above to view an inspiring and humble video of profound loss and generosity – as well as views of a lovely birthing suite and nurses with whom I work in my moonlighting job at Marin General Hospital.

From now on, when I attend births in this suite I will remember the generous spirits of Jack, Lauren and their unborn child who provided a lasting tribute to young families.

Grief transformed to life-affirming generosity.

Mother’s Day for Peace

Mother’s Day began as an anti-war protest. Fifty years before America granted women the right to vote, mothers protested that they did not give birth only to send their children to war. Mourning mothers who lost sons and husbands in war directed their pain by advocating for peaceful methods of conflict resolution.

Hallmark came later.

Following the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, the lyricist for the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” wrote her 1870 “Mother’s Day Proclamation” to incite women to demand peace, rather than send offspring to war.

As we honor our devoted mothers with flowers and champagne, may we remember to assume co-responsibility to shape society and unite our voices – to protect all children.

Mothers’ Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of

Julia Ward Howe