Reflections on Childbirth: Reducing the Misery of Delivery in Developing Countries
I have a friend going as a humanitarian missionary to Tanzania and India. This is part of her practical in being trained through a birth attendant school, so she can continue helping women in this way. She needs $1500 by tomorrow for her plane tickets, not including other expenses which she has for the next eight months.
Just reading how she describes where she will being going to aid, breaks my heart. Yes, I have had two births which were “natural” in the sense that I did not have functioning epidural. It hurt like hell! Or at least, somewhat close to what I imagine hell would feel like. I had at least 3 people helping me, each time too! And, I never had to be afraid my baby would die, let alone myself. I gave birth under way too close supervision and at a great hospital, which is very close to some of the best hospitals in the world I could be transferred to in a worst-case scenario. For these women, their death or their babies’ death is a grave possibility. In general, their health is in jeopardy because of the impoverished conditions they live in. In the United State the infant mortality rate is 6:1000. This rate goes up in significant correlation to poverty. Ya, to top of the misery of delivery, having your sweet baby not even survive? That gives a new meaning to postpartum depression.
Yet, in my opinion what is worst of all, many of these women might not have any form of peace. I don’t fear death, or what comes after because I have a relationship to whom I believe is the one true God, in Jesus. Even when I was worried, in extreme pain, and fatigued in labor, I was yelling out conversations to God (really funny weird ones, so I am told) which gave me total peace inside. Heck, not only was I yelling that everyone in the room and world was birthed by some mom somewhere (from the same part of their mom’s body) I was also telling the nurses and my support how wonderful they were and how much I loved them. Odd, I’ve been told. But like I said, I had peace and happiness; we cracked jokes the whole time in between screams of pain.
There are cultural issues too, which can affect these women. Often, in India at least, female children ar e not accepted. Abortions, infant deaths (infanticide- or other “mysterious” death of females) is not uncommon. I am not too sure how I would feel giving birth to a girl, knowing my husband might shun me if I don’t produce a boy child. Just to make it worse! Do these women have spiritual help and emotional support during the crazies of pregnancy and delivery?
These women need help, which Jennifer can help offer. There are other people and organizations to give to as well, or even take a short term trip to a place where you can assist. If you are interested, check out her post below:
“I just wanted to touch base with you about the amazing things that God has been doing this past month while I have been here in Australia. We are into week six of lecture phase, so far we have covered women’s health issues in developing nations, pregnancy, labor and delivery. We have also have nature and character of God, and this week is team dynamics and team unity. It has been very intense and stretching for me personally. I came here to Perth with a passion for women and children’s health and much to my amazement God is daily increasing that passion. My eyes have been opened to the injustice in this area across the world. So many woman and children are dying and don’t have to be! I find my self talking to every person I meet about these things, whether it is someone here on the base, or random people on the train… It seems to be always on my mind. I think that this is what it feels like to really find that thing that you were created to do!
My team is made up of 16 women from 7 different countries. We will be going to Tanzania for 6 months and then India for 2 months.
We saw a picture that really touched my heart, it of a hospital in Tanzania, the labor room. There were 45 woman in a small room, all in active labor. There are five beds that are steel and not every woman even gets a bed, they are sitting on the floor and under the beds. There is not room for them to walk around or even move. There is no family permitted in the labor room and no food is given at all. If the woman wants a drink of water her family has to have it brought it. There are not enough nurses or doctors to take care of them all. So many problems go unnoticed and untreated, leading to many unnecessary deaths. This is the reason that I want to go, there is so much need and so much that can be done.
So this is what God is putting on my heart to do, but in order for this to happen I need help. I can’t do it on my own. There are ways that you can partner with me and my team in this work that God is doing. I need people who are willing to financially support either with a one time gift, or by becoming a monthly supporter. Will you consider joining with me in this?”
Note: Due to the personal nature of the contact information previously listed here, it has since been removed for her safety. If you would like to support this individual or a like cause, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Thanks for you understanding!