My first assignment for this project was to create a square commemorating Susan Goodrich. Susan, a Latin American scholar and associate professor of modern languages and literature, died on January 11, 2009, giving birth to her son, Charles Moses Martin Goodrich.Although shocked and grief-stricken, Susan's husband Robbie gathered the strength and presence of mind to care for baby Moses, in the way Susan would have wanted. This included breastfeeding Moses. The hospital where Susan gave birth didn't store breastmilk, and Robbie learned that the nearest available would take days to reach them. After speaking to a dear family friend who was still nursing her own child, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place, and now there is a community of women in Marquette, Michigan, who are taking turns nursing Moses from sunup to sundown. Ironically, the first literary reference to this kind of nursing was the story of baby Moses in the Bible (Exodus 2:1-10). When I received Susan's name from Ina May, I had already heard a piece of this incredible story. Though I know it is impossible, I tried to capture this moment of new life, new death, mourning, embracing, and community in a single quilt square. Most of this square was created on Friday night, with a full moon shining at my back through my dining room window. There was also a full moon the night Susan gave birth to Moses.Ina May hopes that this project will receive the national media attention it truly deserves very soon. When this happens, she expects to be overwhelmed with names of mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters who have died giving birth in this country. She will need quilters to help commemorate these women and educate our nation about this dangerous trend.
Please contact me or comment on this post if you would like your name added to a list of quilters that we may contact for help when the time comes.
"The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project is a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current maternal death rates in the United States, as well as to the gross under-reporting of maternal deaths, and to honor women who have died of pregnancy-related causes. The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project is a voice for women who can no longer speak for themselves."