and child mortality rates are low.
When I first saw the report by Save The Children declaring the best and worst places in the world to be a mother, which mostly determined by the health care mothers receive and child mortality I spent most of that morning crying. Finland came in first place. It was declared as the country with the happiest mothers; the place where mothers and babies live long, healthy lives. Finland was not the richest country on the list but they came out on top.
Today I came across an article titled "Why Finnish Babies Sleep in Boxes." It's the most inspiring thing I've read in the longest time. The "box" referenced in the articles title is a government subsidy given to all mother from all backgrounds, which comes with a starter kit of all the things baby will need in their first few months of life. In its 75-year history the maternity box (and cash grant of 140 euros, which very few new mother pick) has resulted in a steady and measurable decline child mortality.
The maternity box (and cash grant) come with a condition; in order for a mother to receive this government assistance, they have to go to a pre-natal doctor before the are four months pregnant. This means even the busiest mother will make time to have their unborn baby looked at by a public doctor or the will lose out on the box. The box, filled with goodies that will help with baby's first year, is a lifeline.
Just last week our Corporate Climber discussed the issue of co-bedding and how unsafe it is for babies. When the issue arose the Finnish government took it in stride and made the box into more a bed and even provided mattress to encourage parents to allow their little ones sleep by themselves.
It's easy to see why Finnish mothers are the happiest. They are taken care of. Their health and that of their children, even some of the financial burden that comes with motherhood is lifted. A lot of the stress that brings anxiety to motherhood are taken care of for the most part.
But what I like the most is that all the babies in that society (rich or poor) start on the same foot -- making so much possible.