This supermodel icon's message about maternal health serves as a huge wake-up call.

When '90s supermodel Christy Turlington had her first child in 2003, her life changed.  

After she gave birth to her daughter Grace, she started hemorrhaging because of a retained placenta. Thankfully, she was in a hospital surrounded by experienced medical practitioners and life-saving equipment, which ultimately kept her out of danger.

The distressing experience led Christy to learn more about the complication she experienced which is when she uncovered some harrowing facts about childbirth.


Christy Turlington Burns in Hinche, Haiti. Photo by Kassia Meador.

While a retained placenta only affects 2% of mothers and is usually easily treated in hospital, it has a high rate of mortality for mothers in the developing world.

"In trying to understand what happened to me, I learned that hundreds of thousands of girls and women die each year from the same and other complications," writes Christy in an email.

That was it for Christy. From then on, she made it her mission to break down barriers between mothers-to-be around the world and the health care they need.

Christy in Tanzania at Oldonyo Sambu health dispensary with local maternal health advocate Mackrine Rumanyika, mother Lightness Sisitivi, and her baby in 2015. Photo by Heather Armstrong.

Her first major project in this vein was a documentary called "No Woman No Cry." It focuses on the struggles pregnant women and young mothers face in the developing world as well as in the United States.

When Christy traveled to other countries, she saw firsthand just how difficult it can be for women to access proper health care. It was a defining experience and ultimately led her to get her master's degree at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in 2008.

"No Woman No Cry" ended up being her first of several documentaries that show how small facilitations can often be the difference between life and death.

The documentary came out in 2010, which is also when Christy founded Every Mother Counts — a nonprofit that advocates for improvements to maternal and infant care.

Christy in Bangladesh in 2009 shooting "No Woman No Cry" with crew, Clancy McCarty, Dina Hossain, and Wellington Bowler. Photo by Josh Estey.

"The point of both [the documentary and the nonprofit] is to educate the public about a global tragedy and invest funds raised to improve access to quality and respectful maternity care," explains Christy.

And that's not limited to countries in the developing world.

While 99% of maternal deaths occur there, the United States is only ranked 46 globally in terms of maternal health. In fact, maternal mortality in the U.S. is on the rise.

According to estimates, every nine minutes, a woman suffers from a life-threatening birth complication in this country. And since 1 in 4 Americans live in areas where medical care is scarce, a disproportionate number of those complications can lead to death.

Perhaps the most upsetting stat, however, is that 98% of maternal deaths worldwide are preventable.

Thanks to Christy and her nonprofit's tireless efforts, these issues are finally getting the attention they deserve, and things are slowly but surely starting to change.  

Happy International Women's Day! To celebrate #IWD2018, members of the Every Mother Counts team are in Washington, D.C....

Posted by Every Mother Counts on Thursday, March 8, 2018

Change, however, won't happen without improved access to three things: transportation, skilled medical attendants, and medical supplies. It might sound simple, but in countries where women have to walk miles just to get clean water, they're often incredibly hard to reach.

Every Mother Counts' priority is to increase access to these life-saving elements in the United States, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Uganda, Tanzania, India, and Haiti. So far, their work has positively affected the lives of over 650,000 women and children to date.

And they're not alone in their fight to improve maternal care worldwide. In 2010, Melinda Gates announced that the Gates Foundation would invest $1.5 billion over five years promoting maternal and child health, family planning, and nutrition in developing countries. And just this month, they declared they'll be adding another $170 million to that.

What's more, Maybelline — the beauty brand that Christy has represented for years — has stood behind her activism every step of the way.

You don't need to have a ton of money or influence to support this issue though. The nonprofit's site has a number of different ways you can get involved.

Inspired everyday by our founder, Christy Turlington Burns who completed the Kilimanjaro Half last month & the London...

Posted by Every Mother Counts on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You can follow Christy's example and be a running ambassador for the cause. There are official charity races you can participate in, too, or you can simply run on behalf of Every Mother Counts in the race of your choice.

Not a runner? No problem — you can also host a fundraising event or pledge to support bipartisan, no-cost legislation that will bring midwives and obstetricians to areas in the U.S. that are lacking them.

No matter your ability or capacity, you can be a part of the social change so desperately needed all over the world. As long as you have the drive, you can make life better for moms and new babies alike.

It just means taking your good intentions and acting on them as soon as possible.

Christy offers this Martin Luther King Jr. quote for inspiration: "The time is always right to do right."

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Single-use coffee pods might make a good cup of joe, but they're detrimental to the environment.

"Coffee pods are one of the best examples of unnecessary single-use plastics that are polluting our planet," John Hocevar, the campaign director of Greenpeace USA, an environmental nonprofit organization, told USA Today. "Many end up getting incinerated, dumping poison into our air, water and our soil."

Currently, 29,000 single-use coffee pods are thrown away each minute. You have to ask yourself, is it worth filling up the landfills to satisfy your caffeine habit? While the aluminum capsules are recyclable, it's not as easy as tossing them in the bin. Instead, you typically have to take them a designated collection point created by the brand.

But Nespresso has taken it one step further by using its recycled pods to make a bicycle, illustrating the potential for repurposing the often thrown out by-product of its coffee.

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Planet

There are songs that tug at your heartstrings and videos that tap into your soft side. And then there are combos of the two that get you so far up in your feelings, you're not sure if you'll ever be able to climb back out.

For the millions of parents out there—especially the ones watching their babies grow up and move away from home—Michael Bublé's video for his song "Forever Now" is definitely the latter. I'm not even a Michael Bublé fan, but as a parent whose first baby just turned 19, the lyric video showing the years passing in a child's bedroom with a song about kids growing up is almost too much to take.

Wrecked, I tell you. Full-on ugly crying, with the puffy eyes and the snotty nose and everything.

I mean, just check out part of the lyrics and imagine your child's bedroom all packed into boxes:

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other times, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

RELATED: Permit denied for 'straight pride' parade in California

If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

Well Being

There are reasonable arguments to be had on all sides of America's debates about guns.

Then there are NRA lobbyists.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer spoke to state economists last week to explain why a proposed assault weapons ban would devastate gun manufacturers in the state. The proposed amendment, which is being led by the aunt of a student killed in the Parkland school shooting, would ban the future sale of assault rifles in Florida and mandate that current owners either register their guns with the state or give them up.

The back and forth between those proposing and opposing the amendment appears to be a pretty typical gun legislation debate. Only this time, the NRA lobbyist pulled out one of the most bizarre arguments I've seen yet.

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