So often in the West we are consumed with the petty and the superficial and the minutia. I have a friend who thinks giving birth in a hospital is the worst thing in the world and that every single detail during labor and delivery is the most important thing in a child's life. As it happens...its not. So many events will overshadow their birth.
In third world countries, the questions of where the baby will be born and whether the mother will have an epidural and midwife or OB are superfluous. For some parents, the biggest question and the most important is will they make it back across a frozen river alive.
In Ladakh, Northern India, there is no hospital. The nearest hospital is 45 miles away across the mountains. When a mother is ready to give birth, the trek is more dangerous than the labor. The 45 mile trek is down the river Chadar at an elevation of 11,123 ft and it takes approximately nine days.
Photographer, Tim Vollmer from Iceland, was trekking up the Chadar with his friends when he spotted the weather-beaten family. They were hiking in -35 degree weather and often in freezing water up to their knees.
Compared to the amount of choice and help that is given to women in the western world when it comes time for them to give birth to the 'normalcy' of birthing in India, there is no question of how blessed we are. Families in Ladakh don't just use the river for walking to the nearest hospital. Its used for the six months of the year that the pass is open to transfer goods and people. Fatalities have been known to happen during the trip.
Just take a moment to be thankful for all that we have here in the western world. Perhaps, its not so bad to get that epidural in that hospital after all.