No Woman, No Cry

Christy Turlington, model, spokesperson, entrepreneur, and advocate, has a longstanding history of philanthropy and service, working with the international humanitarian organization CARE since 2005 and acting as an Ambassador for RED since their launch in 2006.  More recently, she’s expanded her long list of accomplishments to include student and filmmaker.

Never a more powerful catalyst for action than personal experience, a complication following her own pregnancy led to the desire to become involved and to incite change.  Just after delivering her first child, Turlington suffered a post partum hemorrhage- a serious and potentially lethal complication. Though it was addressed and resolved quickly, she was shocked to learn that over 500,000 women globally die each year during childbirth—and that 90 percent of these deaths are preventable.  This inspired her to enroll in the Masters of Public Health Program at Columbia University, and to become the CARE organization’s Advocate for Maternal Health to work towards the greater goal of reducing global maternal morbidity.

The more she learned about global disparities in maternal health, the more she continued to seek tangible ways to inspire change.  In 2008 she began chronicling the global plight of pregnant women lacking access to affordable, and/or timely maternal care.  She traveled to Tanzania, to a slum of Bangladesh, to a post-abortion care ward in Guatemala, and a prenatal clinic in the United States capturing images of maternal strife with a palpable authenticity and rawness.

In Turlington’s directorial debut, her new documentary No Woman No Cry threads these stories together into a unified narrative.  The film is fraught with moments of the dramatic, messy truth, and also with moments of unadorned beauty and joy. The message of the universal importance of a woman’s role in a nuclear family, community, and society permeates throughout the film.  According to Turlington, it is essential that we should seek to secure timely, viable healthcare for mothers to be around the world.  This message connects in a true and relevant way with every woman, in what she refers to as  “the Sisterhood of Motherhood.”

There is no doubt of the authenticity transmitted by the film—that rarefied brand of truth that is, while accessible and forthcoming, also illuminating of each person’s own connection to the greater human lattice and the importance of addressing the disparities in maternal health around the globe.   The message is clear and provocative, gnawing at the antidote for indifference.

In addition to producing and directing this documentary, Turlington has also embarked on a five year campaign to reduce global maternal morbidity named Every Mother Counts. It is an interactive platform providing the tools to raise awareness, education and action.   The keystone of the campaign is the site, which offers accessible information and ways for every individual to get involved in the global endeavor to improve maternal health.

Turlington has learned to transform her desire for change into action—and invites you to do the same for every woman in your life, and for those women whose cry’s go unheard.


  1. Watch Christy Turlington Burns’ directorial debut, “No Woman, No Cry,” Chronicling the plight of pregnant women lacking access to care on the Opra Winfrey Network (OWN) May 7th
  2. Visit her website: for information and educational toolkits
  3. Host a watch party for the documentary with friends and loved ones. RSVP on Facebook to receive your watch party kit:
  4. Give a donation: buy a compilation CD at Starbucks for Every Mother Counts, Sponsor Midwife training, or buy a charm for your mother, whose proceeds will go to EMC. Visit : for details.
  5. Donate your old phone to partner with Hope Phones in effort to equip health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with cell phones that are loaded with software that allows them to connect with their clinics even remotely: Click here

* Visit for countless additional ways to become involved

[box]Written by Guest Blogger, { Kat Wiesinger } a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who has been working in Maternal Infant Health for the last several years.  She’s a Certified Childbirth Educator as well as a Certified Lactation Counselor and is sitting for the board exam to qualify as an IBCLC in July 2011.  We are thrilled to have her as part of the Mom Confessional’s family![/box]