Vulnerability has two faces. 

While worrying on the one hand, it can be freeing and powerful on the other.

Pregnancy is a time of vulnerability for women.

Brene Brown, a Social Researcher in the area of vulnerability and shame defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”

Those who have the good fortune to spend their working lives caring for women and their babies at what can be the most joyous, but also one of the most vulnerable, moments of their life, must  strive to respect a women’s choices, using their knowledge, skills and compassion to accompany women so that the women they care for are safe, respected and empowered.

Kate Gilmore, former Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, speaks of the tough times for women and newborns the world over.  While we have made progress in improving the health of women and children, there is much more to be done, especially in respect of human rights.   She speaks of accompanying  women when they are rendered most vulnerable by the physical and emotional realities of childbearing, stating accompaniment is much more than the medical duties associated with childbearing.  It is not only about healing, it is about dignity, it is not only about science, it is about humanity, it is not just about healing in the physical sense, it is about honouring women in the exercise if their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Powerful words to inform maternity care as we continue to campaign for all women to receive respectful maternity care so as to be physically safe and emotionally well.


Note: This You-tube clip of Brene Brown describing her work in vulnerability is really worth a watch – The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown – YouTube