Bangladesh: giving a little could mean a lot
I was 11 when my little sister was born. I remember it well. Upon realising that she was going into labour, my Mum calmly made dinner, insisting she’d better eat because it might be a while before she got another meal.
This was to be her fourth child, so I guess she knew what she was talking about. As it turned out there were complications and my little sister was born by caesarean.
You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this.
Nothing but hope
When I was in Bangladesh, the day after I met little Nirob, I met a mum called Shefali.
She too had three children and was shortly expecting her fourth. Except her story couldn’t have been more different from my Mum’s.
Shefali had delivered six times. Three of her children had survived, three hadn’t made it. They’d died in the early hours of their lives.
Shefali hadn’t had any medical help. She’d given birth at home and, like the other mums I met in Bangladesh, she had to hope for the best.
I can’t tell you why Shefali’s children died. She doesn’t know. There is no-one to tell her, no medical opinion, just the loss.
Safe place to give birth
As it goes, my Mum and Shefali’s stories might have been remarkably similar, but for one thing: a safe place to give birth in.
If my mum had delivered at home without any trained help, I doubt my little sister would have made it. We might have lost my Mum too.
In fact, it turns out that my mum had issues with each of her pregnancies. It’s knowing Shefali’s story that tells me how lucky my Mum has been.
The fact is my mum and her children needed help and they got it.
A story with a different ending
Shefali’s story could have been so different if she had got help when she and her children needed it.
By building a clinic near Shefali’s village, we can create an entirely different story for so many women like her.
Who knows, maybe women in Shefali’s village will soon be able to calmly make their dinners before popping to the clinic to deliver their babies, knowing help is on hand if they need it.
Is that too much to ask?