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humanity and culture

Doris Alikado talks about her personal experience of maternal health in Tanzania.

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Stella Artois


Bathrobe. Socks. Insurance card. Snacks.

Sound at all familiar? Maybe, maybe not.


These items would commonly be found on a checklist of things that expecting parents should bring to the hospital with them — in the U.S., anyway.

environment, health, health wellbeing

Doing the checklist.

Image created from Pixabay.

But what is that list like in other parts of the world?

For Doris, that list included water.

Doris, who lives Morogoro, Tanzania, had to bring her own water to the health center where she was giving birth in 2014. The water she brought was used to clean the nurse's hands, clean the delivery area, and wash the babies (she had twins!). Unfortunately, the water Doris brought ran out before she was able to wash herself or her clothes, so she had to wait 24 hours before cleaning herself.

parenting, parenting and children, Tanzania

Doris and family lives in Morogoro, Tanzania.

via GQ/YouTube

I'll let Doris tell the story herself:

Lack of access to clean water in Tanzania is a very big deal.

Everything turned out alright for Doris and her babies, but thousands of other women aren't as lucky. But there are ways to help: Organizations and individuals are pitching in to help build water taps, rainwater tanks, and latrines in Tanzanian hospitals, and they're making a huge difference.

"I want to express my gratitude to the health workers ... because they have a great sense of humor with the patients. But the problem is the availability of enough water." — Doris Alikado


This article originally appeared on 03.26.15

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.


Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Brittany Peck's wedding.


"Just because you didn't do marriage well doesn't mean you can't do divorce fabulously."

That's something my mother-in-law said to me when her son and I were ending our young, impetuous, and ultimately-not-right-for-us marriage. It stuck with me through the years.

These sweet images from Brittany Peck's wedding have struck a chord with families across the Internet, and they seem to be getting that very same lesson about "doing divorce well" through to millions.


The photographer got a clue something unusual was about to happen.

Delia Blackburn, an Ohio photographer, was snapping pictures at the nuptials, as you do. She described to WKYC3 what happened when the father of the bride, Todd Bachman, approached her.

"He said, 'I'm going to do something special, just be ready.'"

Before Bachman finished walking his daughter down the aisle, he turned around in the direction of his daughter's stepdad, who was also in attendance.

Then Brittany's stepdad details what happened next.

“And he came up to me and reached out and grabbed my hand and he said, 'Hey, you've worked for this as hard as I have.' He said, 'You deserve this as much as I do. You're gonna help us walk OUR daughter down the aisle.' At that point, I had no clue what was going on."
— Todd Cendrosky, stepfather of Brittany Peck

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Todd B. looks like a dad on a mission — to be the coolest guy ever.

“I got weak in the knees and everything — I couldn't have had anything better in my life. That was THE most important thing in my life."
— Brittany's stepdad

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Todd C. is like, "What is even happening right now?"

Todd Bachmann explains his last-minute decision like this:

“It hasn't always been peaches and cream, by any stretch of the imagination. ... There's no better way to thank somebody than to assist me walking my — walking OUR daughter — down the aisle."

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

And that's how you do it, folks.

And Brittany herself was pleased with the outcome.

The bride sent a video message from her honeymoon to WKYC, saying, "We've seen it all, been through it all, but at the end of the day we're all happy."

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Divided families know that love isn't a finite thing — there's enough to go around.


This article originally appeared on 9.29.15

Canva

Important summer tips.

In 2008, a young boy named Johnny Jackson went swimming and accidentally swallowed some water.

He had a short coughing fit, toweled off, and then went home. No big deal.

Or so his parents thought.


A few hours later, after going down for a nap, Johnny passed away.

In 2014, a toddler named Ronin came frighteningly close to the same fate. He slipped briefly into a pool before being pulled to safety by his mother. Ronin was shaken up but seemed fine.

Later that night, he lay stretched out in an ambulance as it screamed toward the hospital, where he arrived just in time.

Stories like these have resulted in an outburst of news coverage around what's being referred to as "dry drowning." But that's a bit of a misnomer.

Since we're entering the season of pool parties and beach trips, here are a few things you really need to know about what actually happened to Ronin and Johnny.

First, there is a difference between dry drowning and delayed drowning.

With dry drowning, water never enters the victim's lungs. Rather, it causes the vocal chords to spasm and shuts off airways without actually filling the lungs with water. Otherwise, it looks a lot like normal drowning because it occurs in real time and causes asphyxiation.

Delayed drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning, is a bit different. In cases like Ronin and Johnny's, water gets into the lungs in small amounts — not enough to disable breathing right away. Instead, it sits there and inhibits the lungs' ability to oxygenate blood. From there, the victim starts to have more and more trouble breathing over the course of several hours.

Second, drowning doesn't look the way it does in the movies.

Whether you're dealing with normal, dry, or delayed drowning, don't expect a dramatic scene full of thrashing, coughing, and yelling.

According to Dr. Anna Mendenhall of the Children's Physicians Medical Group, 9 out of 10 children who drown do so even though they were being supervised by a parent because it's so easy to miss the signs.

Here's what you need to look for, even hours after you've left the pool or beach:

  • Difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, or throwing up. Look for rapid and shallow breaths, nostril flaring, or a pronounced gap in the ribs when breathing. These are all signs a child is working too hard to get oxygen.
  • Extreme tiredness. Big-time fatigue can be a sign that the brain isn't getting enough oxygen.
  • Any odd change in behavior. Kids in the beginning stages of delayed drowning may be really cranky, argumentative, or combative.
  • Odd physical changes. Look out for blue lips or pale skin.

Most likely these symptoms will go away over time. But if they don't or they get worse, you might want to call your pediatrician on the way to the emergency room.

And the best way to watch for drowning in the moment? Get in the pool with your kids and stay within an arm's reach. It's the only way to make sure you don't miss anything.

Third, don't panic. Delayed and dry drownings combined make up only 1% to 2% of all drowning incidents.

There's no getting around it. This is really scary stuff, especially to a parent.

I have a 2-month-old daughter, and my first reaction to all of this is to literally never let her near a swimming pool. Ever.

But as scary as they are, these unusual cases are just that — unusual.

It's a really good idea teach your kids about basic water safety and get them comfortable in the pool with swim lessons at an early age (experts say 4 or 5 is a good age to start). But I'll say it again:

The single best thing you can do to protect a child from drowning — wet, dry, or otherwise — is to get in the pool with them.

As long as you're prepared, pools can be great for fun things like throwing your children! Photo from Thinkstock.

At least until they're old enough to be embarrassed by your presence.


This article originally appeared on 07.02.15