The objective of the ‘Mommy on board’ car sticker is to make the general public aware of their responsibility to recognize pregnant women travelling on the road and to help protect them from accidents. This is the initial intervention of InGaDS's novel project called "Quality of motherhood: from pregnancy and beyond", which aims to explore the motherhood experience of women in Sri Lanka.
The "Mommy on board" sticker is the output of a series of exercises conducted by InGaDS with mothers in Sri Lanka to collect experiences that they underwent on the road during their pregnancies.
More than 90% of the respondents had at least one bad experience or incident while driving during their pregnancies. As pregnancy is a stressful and difficult time in almost every woman's life, practices, like unnecessary honking, careless and panic overtaking, were brought up by the respondents as situations that must be prevented, as they create a feeling of vulnerability and can increase the likelihood of road accidents. According to them, society must be more responsible and recognize, respect, and help pregnant women to travel safely by giving them some priority on the road.
Eranda Bandara, a designer and an activist in citizens responsibilities in Sri Lanka conceptualized and designed the first ever sticker for pregnant women on the road. He says that the reason for designing the "Mommy on Board" sticker was the problems that his wife and other female acquaintances have met while driving and travelling while pregnant.
"I wanted to show the same respect that I have for my wife and baby to other women and children in this country, and it is the very reason that made me design this sticker. I made my wife's pregnancy an opportunity to understand the difficulties that women face as pregnant mothers. In addition to biological difficulties, they undergo a series of social issues. We (men) have so much to do to be sensitive to our wives and recognize, and respect them during pregnancy rather than just expecting them to deliver babies to carry the "man's family name". It's a great opportunity that I got with InGaDS to design this sticker," said Eranda.
InGaDS has made the sticker available in baby and mother care shops and in some hospitals. The income generated from the sticker will go towards the research fund on "Quality of motherhood- from pregnancy and beyond".
This research project has a series of forums open for mothers to talk about motherhood- how they were treated by the social institutions (including family, hospitals and society in general), and further research on the issues of working mothers in Sri Lanka, and status of single mothers. With this research, InGaDS is hoping to explore and explain hidden sides of motherhood, beneath its surface, and make society more aware and understanding about the quality of motherhood- which should be happy, healthy, peaceful, and dignified.