Six-month volunteer, with Cuso International, re-affirms Canadian midwife Jennica Rawstron’s decision to follow her career path

By Troy Landreville (Langley Times) |

Canadian midwife Jennica Rawstron saw life and death unfold before her during what was at times a difficult and eye-opening experience in Ethiopia.

For the 32-year-old Rawstron, who grew up in Fort Langley, the moments that stand out from her recent placement with Cuso International as a volunteer midwife supervisor in Ethiopia include working alongside local midwives, who were helping women through difficult deliveries – often in situations that most Canadian women would never face.

Cuso International is a a charity that places skilled Canadian volunteers around the world.

Jennica Rawstron recently returned from a six-month volunteer placement in the African nation. She will be featured in an upcoming campaign and TV advertisement from Cuso International, which launches on Nov. 20, to raise awareness and funds to support midwives in countries like Ethiopia.

“I always enjoyed traveling but I also wanted to give back,” Rawstron said, about her motivation for going to Africa.

“It’s definitely something I wanted to do. That was what I grew up with in my family. My dad’s done a lot of work overseas and I’ve been to Africa before, 10 years ago, and that was really life-changing for me in terms of how I chose to live in Canada.”

While in Ethiopia, Jennica Rawstron was tasked with training her Ethiopian counterparts at a hospital.

While most of the ‘baby-catching’ was done by the local midwives, Rawstron did attend several deliveries.

In one of those first deliveries, the baby was breech.

“This baby was unresponsive at birth. It was a difficult delivery. We tried to resuscitate, but it was obvious the baby would die,” Rawstron said.

“It really had an impact on me because I’ve never had a stillbirth in Canada. Vaginal breech deliveries are not common in Canada because most women in that situation would have a scheduled C-section.”

Continue reading this story at Langley Times
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