Since 1987, when the global community first recognized the high frequency of women in developing countries dying from pregnancy-related causes, little progress has been made to combat this problem. This study follows the global policies that have been implemented in Solola, Guatemala in order to decrease high rates of maternal mortality among indigenous Mayan women. The author examines the diverse meanings and understandings of motherhood, pregnancy, birth and birth-related death among the biomedical personnel, village women, their families, and midwives. These incongruous perspectives, in conjunction with the implementation of such policies, threaten to disenfranchise clients from their own cultural understandings of self. The author investigates how these policies need to meld with the everyday lives of these women, and how the failure to do so will lead to a failure to decrease maternal deaths globally. Nicole S. Berry is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.