I will start off this post saying that I think I have only just realized that I only have two more days left on this project, and this saddens me deeply. After all I have seen and experienced, I must admit that I kinda don’t want to leave, at least not so soon. But all good things must come to an end, I guess, and I must make the most of my last two days here.
Yesterday, as I said in my previous post, I was able to accompany Ms. Charles to one of the classes that the hospital offers as a part of their program for young mothers. This particular class was for girls all in their third trimester, meaning they were all seven-nine months pregnant. Because all of these ladies were coming down do the end of their pregnancies, the classes for third trimesters were geared more towards caring for your child once they were born than caring for them during the pregnancy like the earlier classes. I sat in the back while Nurse Charles and another midwife, who was a mother of 3, taught the girls how to nurture the baby. I learned which foods are good to eat when your breastfeeding, cauliflower and broccoli, and how to change the diaper of a tiny, 6 lb infant. The girls also learned about emotional nurturing-how to get their baby acclimated to being outside of the womb in a way that was healthy to both the mother and the child. I never knew that so much went into caring for a baby once they get home, but I guess it just goes to show you that you can never really know everything about a topic.
After the class was over, I was actually able to speak with some of the expecting mothers, who politely requested that they remain anonymous when told them that I was doing a school project. They were all in agreement that the program was the best thing that could have happened to them, especially sixteen year old Jane (not her real name), for whom the ladies in this program were her only support system. After learning she was pregnant, Jane, who is due March 31, was kicked her out of her father’s house, which forced her to go and live in her aunt’s one bedroom studio apartment. This made Jane feel as thought putting her child up for adoption was her only option, but with the support of the nurses in the program, Jane knows that she can take care of her child under these circumstances and work towards building a better future for the two of them. When asked what these young mothers would say to the younger generation about pregnancy, they all agreed that they would caution everyone to wait, because as exciting as having a baby may seem, as a teenager, you definitely are not ready for all of it.
On the ride back, Ms.Charles and I spoke about her plans for opening the clinic, which were well underway, fueled by her upcoming graduation as an official, licenced midwife in May. According to her, it’s girls like Jane and the other girls from the class that initially inspired her to get into her line of work; girls who see pregnancy as something to being made to look glamorous, or something that is no big deal. She told me that it breaks her heart every time she sees another young girl walk trough the doors of the hospitals clinic with a pregnant belly. She believes that young generation is seriously ignorant to the seriousness of issues like teen pregnancy and unprotected sex. Seeing things like this on a daily basis can cause anyone to feel like this, especially when you are as connected to these females as the nurses and midwives become over the course of a pregnancy; it can be an emotionally draining occupation.
But on a happy note, I hear from the nurses that little baby Amelia is doing fine and she was a week old yesterday. I really hope to see her again before I leave, that would definitely make the whole trip for me.