Roderik's Three Days
The Story Behind Safe World
"On 9th March 2004, baby Roderik was born - he changed my life."
Something happened during labour – I’ll never know exactly what. But Roderik barely stayed in this world for three days.
To come face to face with birth and death together is an indescribable experience. Roderik made me look at life (and death) differently.
He made me look at people differently.
It’s hard to explain without being esoteric. I can only liken it to having a near-death experience. I went through a whole lifetime of emotions. Those two brief days felt like a lifetime...
Indeed they were - Roderik’s lifetime.
"When I think of Roderik, I feel a blessing"
I had to accept that Roderik hadn't come to stay. He never moved, never uttered a sound. In truth, he was still-born - artificially kept in his body.
As his mother, I was with him, between worlds. It was actually a very beautiful place. Very blissful. Very 'at one'. I didn't want to leave - even after Roderik had passed on.
BACK TO REALITY
Gradually, back to 'reality', it dawned on me what had happened.
I began to feel how incredibly vulnerable and dependent we are, as women. My baby had been blocked during the birth process. Medical intervention was needed. He didn't survive, but I did.
I actually don't know what would have happened to me, without medical intervention.
After 20 hours of labour, the baby still wasn't descending at all. He was stuck. I was burning up. Near collapse.
I'd never been in such pain (I'd already given birth twice, and without pain-killers).
It impressed on me what it must be like for a woman living in an impoverished environment, without birth control and without medical care. When each sexual encounter could lead to another pregnancy, another threat to the mother's health, her life - and her family, as she struggles to make the food go even further.
Without the compassion and support of men, and the rest of the world, women living in poverty simply cannot be empowered.
How did Roderik lead me to the path I'm on now?
I don’t actually feel I had any choice.
I guess Roderik destroyed my boundaries.
Before Roderik, I’d been drawn to the life of a recluse.
I’d managed, quite successfully, to live in my own little happy world. Very extreme - including 3 years without elecrity, car, telephone. After Roderik, my world opened up. I was no longer afraid of the world. I wanted to be a part of it.
When you feel the pain and suffering of the world, when you also know what it is to be happy, then actually of course there's no choice. You have to try and help.
Following Roderik’s brief appearance, my life changed in ways which seemed beyond my control. My relationship collapsed and, by pure synchronicity, I met a close friend I'd lost touch with. After three years, we got married. The year before our wedding, my mother-in-law passed away and left a small bequest.
And this was the beginning of my real work.
Founder, The Safeworld International Foundation.