Christy Turlington

 

WOMEN TO WATCH

 

CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS

Founder, Every Mother Counts

Director & Producer, No Woman, No Cry

 

Christy Turlington Burns spoke to us about her own journey as a mother as well as what inspired her to film the documentary No Woman, No Cry, which has been viewed everywhere from the Tribeca Film Festival to Harvard Medical School to the World Bank.

 

What inspired No Woman, No Cry ?

Immediately following the birth of my daughter Grace, I began to hemorrhage. Fortunately, thanks to a capable team at the birthing center of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, my daughter and I survived. In the weeks that followed I learned that post-partum hemorrhage was the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. When pregnant with my second child, I began to travel with the humanitarian organization CARE. After visiting a rural community in El Salvador (my mother’s birth country), I made the commitment to do what I could to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality around the world. Upon taking into account what I had to offer in support of this cause, I decided to make a documentary film to help bring the stories of women around the world to the women who may never know that such tragedies still needlessly exist in such great numbers.”

 

What was the most inspiring moment on this journey for you?

It is an honor to be invited into people’s lives during a precious moment such as labor. To be entrusted with their stories is a tremendous responsibility and one that I have taken wholeheartedly each time I share the film with a new audience. With each new audience, I am filled with hope that the power of the stories in the film will make an enormous impact.

 

One thing every woman should know about maternal mortality?

The most hopeful thing about maternal mortality is that of the hundreds of thousands of deaths that occur every year, almost all of them are preventable.

 

How can people get involved?

I launched Every Mother Counts so that audiences could take action, if inspired to do so. The easiest way for them to get involved is to simply see the film and share the information it presents with their friends, colleagues and communities. I would then encourage people to visit Every Mother Counts to continue learning about the issue and discover the list of options we offer to enable you to take action, no matter how big or small. The reality is that we are all intrinsically linked to this issue and therefore we all relate (no matter your sex, race, cultural heritage). It is one of the most universal healthcare and human rights issues across the globe. I also believe that we each have our own unique set of skills that we can contribute in a meaningful way and that, collectively, we can and will make a difference.

 

Mother, model, filmmaker, activist — how do you balance it?

I don’t always feel like I am completely balanced with all that I am taking on, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I do the best that I can and always strive to do better. I am so energized by the advocacy work and it feeds into what I hope to pass along to my children and the world they will inherit. I hope that they will join me in this work someday. If I can instill a sense of service and compassion in them, I will have done my job as their mother.