A Mother’s Story
I still cannot believe I am going to have a baby. I am 17 years old. I am not ready for this. I’ve never been so scared. I hope it’s a boy. In my community, boys are praised, but girls are looked down on. At least if it is a boy, he could have a better life than me.
I don’t know if my baby will even survive birth. I’ve known many women who bought baby coffins before their baby was born because so many babies die in their first month. What will I name it? In Haiti, we do not even name babies until they are 5. We just call them all Ti Chape (little survivor). It hurts less that way. Will my little Ti Chape make it? I do not know what to do. That is all I can say for tonight.
Tomorrow will come.
I have good news. Last I wrote, I was very scared. Well, I’m still nervous and my body is changing. But help has come. A friend from a church in my community comes to my house and talks to me. She told me that right now, my baby is about 12 inches long and weighs about a pound. This week, we talked about breast-feeding. I feel a little better.
She has even arranged for me to have the baby at the hospital. Last year, my sister Maria went into labor on the side of the road trying to walk to the hospital and my nephew died from an infection five days later. So I am very thankful.
She brings me vitamins and teaches me how to clean. Did you know that you’re supposed to wash dishes in hot water with soap? I never knew. I have been tending the garden Gina taught me to grow so we will have healthy food.
My baby is actually here in my arms. I can hardly believe my body can do such a thing. At the doctor appointments, they say we are both healthy. She is so, so beautiful. She has dark, curly hair. Her name is Hope. I have hope that she can do something important and show our village that girls really do have value.
It was fun to take my baby to church and show everyone their prayers were answered. I know that God loves me. I love Hope so much. I pray she will learn God’s love, too.
I started a cake business. I sell cakes to hotels and other businesses and make more money than selling them on the street. I tell all my friends the things I learn from Gina. It’s new to all of us. I’m glad I can better take care of my family now.
Thank you, God, for sending help.
*This diary is representative of the real-life situations and stories of the women and communities involved in Compassion’s Child Survival Program. Read the stories listed below to learn about the experiences of real mothers and babies served by the Child Survival Program.