Wild Women Challenge

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

Wild Women Challenge

Wild Women Challenge

Chairperson Caitlin along with her friend Lorraine and survival expert Megan Hine are taking on an immense challenge to complete the Long Range Traverse in Canada’s remote Newfoundland in an effort to raise awareness of the severe pregnancy complication Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and issues around human rights in pregnancy. Caitlin Dean (38) and Lorraine Wright (40) will be raising money for national charity Pregnancy Sickness Support which provides information and support for people with HG. Raised funds will be split with another national charity, Birth Rights, which supports people’s human rights in pregnancy and during childbirth.

About the challenge:

The 5 day challenge will see them ascending gorges through thick vegetation, crossing waterways and deep bogs, navigating, wild camping, right when hungry bears are emerging from hibernation! The Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne National Park is described as one of the most challenging hiking terrain in eastern North America. Physically and mentally challenging, it is remote, strenuous, and potentially hazardous. With no built, marked or signed trails hikers need to be self-reliant, and proficient at navigating with a map and compass in a truly wilderness terrain.

Caitlin Dean, HG survivor and Chairperson for the Charity says “Right now the challenge ahead of us in Newfoundland feels almost overwhelming, but having survived HG myself three times I know that I can get through anything. It’s our hope that by doing this challenge we can highlight just how hard an HG pregnancy is for the women suffering.

For me, HG meant vomiting almost continuously for months on end and an intense, mind crippling nausea every waking moment for the entire duration of the pregnancy. The condition left me severely malnourished, dehydrated and with a host of other symptoms and complications. It robbed me of my dignity and left me humiliated and begging for help which was frequently denied as I was told to pull myself together and try ginger because there is a huge stigma surrounding the condition and a tenacious belief in wider society that it’s just some women not coping with morning sickness. Yet I was one of the lucky ones, I was given some medication and was occasionally rehydrated and I had support from my husband. I was able to survive."

Many people are not so lucky and face heart breaking decision or dangerous complications in the face of diabolical abuses of their basic human right to dignity, autonomy, equality and safe medical treatment. Prior to the invention of IV fluids and modern anti-sickness medication HG was the leading cause of death in early pregnancy and just 100 years ago Caitlin wouldn't have survived. Deaths are rare now but the suffering has not reduced, many people struggle to access care and treatment and are accused of self-inflicting their symptoms or not wanting their baby.

Lorraine however didn't suffer with HG herself: "I have been a Beauty Therapist for 25 years and have been teaching Beauty Therapy for 20 years. I have 3 sons and although I never suffered with Hyperemesis Gravidarum I can appreciate the level of suffering that women endure and the challenges they face around accessing treatments they have a right to receive. Pregnancy Sickness Support and Birthrights are such important charities ensuring people receive the support and information they need as well as raising awareness and educating the public and health care professionals.

This is going to be an amazing challenge for me not just physically but emotionally too. I enjoy camping and being outdoors and although I am looking forward to the physical challenge the scariest bit for me is being out in the wilderness with no contact with my family."

About the charities:

Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS) is the UK charity for people with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). HG is a serious complication of pregnancy which puts the lives of both mum and baby at risk. People affected by it are often bedbound, malnourished and dehydrated for months on end and frequently experience long lasting trauma from the condition as well as severe financial hardship. The charity provides 1-2-1 peer support to help with the social isolation and emotional trauma of HG as well as education for doctors/midwives, helping with service development and research. Additionally the charity supports people to advocate for themselves to protect their fundamental rights with regard to employment and safe and respectful medical treatment.

Birthrights is the UK’s only organisation dedicated to improving people’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth by promoting respect for human rights. They believe that all people are entitled to respectful maternity care that protects their fundamental rights to dignity, autonomy, privacy and equality. The charity aspires to advance the human rights and lawful treatment of all child-bearing people through:

· Provision of free, accurate and accessible legal information and advice on human rights and the law relating to childbearing people.

· Campaigning on respect for women’s rights in childbirth as fundamental human rights that maternity-service providers are legally obliged to respect and fulfil.

· Offering advice, assistance and training to caregivers, professional or otherwise.

You can sponsor Caitlin and Lorraine via this link
https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/WildWomen1

Pregnancy Sickness Support

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