10 Things I Learned About Christy Turlington Burns and Every Mother Counts

Team Brown Gothamite & Christy Turlington Burns

Team Brown Gothamite & Christy Turlington Burns

If you know Christy Turlington Burns, it is probably due to her legendary modeling career. She is an icon of the fashion industry and has one of the more recognizable faces on the planet. But, Christy is not just a model. She is a wife and mother of two. She is a runner, an author, a filmmaker, and a maternal health advocate. She was even named of one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2014, because of her work with an organization she founded, Every Mother Counts. Thanks to the efforts of a high school friend of mine, my daughter and I were able to meet with Christy. She was amazingly generous with her time. She answered questions from both my daughter and me, taught my daughter a little Spanish, and shared not only aspects of her personal journey but also the journey of Every Mother Counts. Here are 10 Things I Learned About Christy Turlington Burns and Every Mother Counts.

1) Christy directs films. She directed a documentary entitled No Woman No Cry (2010). Christy was greatly impacted by the complications she had when giving birth to her first child, Grace, eleven and a half years ago. "A lot of moms think they did something to create the complication, and I learned at that time half a million women (maybe more women) were estimated as dying during pregnancy and childbirth due to complications annually around the world. That information just shocked me. . . When I learned that most of the complications were preventable, it seemed even more outrageous. Why aren't we doing anything about this? So, I started to do as much as I could to learn more and define ways that I could be a part of the solution. . . Telling my story was one way."

I thought by telling those stories and by having women and their families tell their own stories in their own voices, in their own languages that film would be a really important medium to do that and connect people. 

2) Christy went back to school to get her Masters in Public Health and worked with global organizations like CARE and ONE. 

3) Every Mother Counts started as a direct off shoot of her film. So many people saw the film and wondered what they could do to help. "There needed to be another resource that could then take people to that next step or steps." 

4) Since 2011, Christy has run several marathons and half marathons to help raise awareness for Every Mother Counts and maternal health, including the New York Marathon and London Marathon. Team Run EMC had 100 runners race in the 2014 New York Marathon. It's a great way to help and participate, but it is also a way to improve one's own health. 

5) Obstructed labor, which often results in C-Sections, is just one cause for maternal deaths. Severe bleeding and infection are others, often due to lack of strong care or the distance a mother might have to travel for such care.

6) The United States is ranked 60th worldwide for safe motherhood. This is not just a problem abroad.  

7) "Maternal Health is a universal issue. . .  We're all touched by it. . . The best way to ensure healthy lives is to have a strong, healthy pregnancy."

8) As a child, she would often travel to Central America, as her mother was from El Salvador. It became important for her to create a connection with people from another part of the world. These childhood experiences have influenced her global work today.

9) I thought it was important to ask Christy about ways fathers can help the maternal health movement. She mentioned that studies show that when women feel supported, listened to, respected and cared for during pregnancy, the experience is completely different and much more positive. Embracing a truly shared role in parenting is also essential.

10) I also asked Christy about the importance of service work in the education of children. "Leading by example is the most powerful way to teach." So, let's get to it folks! There's always more one can do. 

To learn more about Every Mother Counts and find ways to help this important cause head to 


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The Trailer for No Woman, No Cry