Supporting women in crisis pregnancy.
Stories straight from Mother's Heart
Our clients come from all walks of life. The beginnings of their stories are all different, and so are the endings. But one thing each woman has in common is this: when she comes to Mother's Heart, she is in the midst of a crisis. Tina (not her real name) is one of the many women who walked through our door. This is her story, as told to one of our social workers who helped weather her crisis pregnancy.
Tina is the youngest in her family. They were so poor that she only finished the 7th grade. She came to Phnom Penh in search of work to help her family. She waited tables and learned massage but didn't earn very much. During this time, she met a man at work and fell in love. Things were going well between them until she found out he was married and it was too late - she was already pregnant.
Tina knew, in her heart, she wanted to keep the baby even if she would have to do it alone. She didn't want her mother to know, afraid that shame and shock would be too much for her mother's ailing heart to bear. She kept it a secret from her whole family.
She knew of Mother's Heart from her friend and made her way to us. When we first met her, she poured out all her emotions and blamed herself. Disappointed, rejected, alone and not knowing what to do next, Tina, we learned, was also on the verge of being homeless. She used to live with friends but, when she got further along in her pregnancy, she could no longer work and contribute to the living costs. With nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to, she found herself on our doorstep.
Mother's Heart accepted Tina to the program with open arms. She entered our women's house and while there, we noticed she was very responsible, helped out when she could, and looked out for the other women there. Mother's Heart helped her not only with the delivery expenses but also taught her practical skills on how to take care of herself and her baby.
After giving birth and feeling stronger, she found work as a manager at a physical therapy shop and worked hard. She is training and managing staff. Tina is happy that she can take her baby with her to work, too. It is challenging for her most times, juggling work and child-rearing at the same time, but she is determined to make it work.
Tina is getting recognized for her hard work and diligence. The shop where she works is expanding and her boss wants her to manage a new branch that is opening in a new location.
Despite this accomplishment, Tina's heart still yearns for her mother and for her family but feels she is not prepared to face them yet. She knows it will come, one day, when everyone is ready and the timing is right. Although she has done very well and rarely needs our help, Tina still comes to us to for counselling. She needs a confidante, a listening ear in the absence of her family. Our social workers see that there is so much confidence and happiness in her life now. Her baby, whom she adores, is growing healthy and her source of joy.
Tina chose to have her baby and it changed her life completely in ways she never imagined. Whatever choice a woman makes, Mother's Heart will walk with her thoughout the journey with love, compassion, and hope for a better tomorrow.
Mother's Heart Organization Highlights
New Clients. From June-August, six women have entered Mother's Heart's Pregnancy Support Program, five are in our Phnom Penh office, and one in Battambang. They are currently receiving counselling and antenatal care with the help of our counsellors, social workers, and midwives. In total, Mother's Heart now has a total of 80 women in our program, 55 in Phnom Penh and 25 in Battambang, from January-August period.
What's making us busy. In Phnom Penh, Mother's Heart prepared education and training activities held separately in Phnom Penh and Battambang. In Phnom Penh, 12 mothers and pregnant women participated in different educational and training activities organized by our social workers; a demonstration class on how to prepare nutritious food for babies using vegetables and fruits that are available locally, and a session on budget management. We also invited clinicians from All Ears Cambodia to share their knowledge on ear health and ear care, especially for babies and children. In Battambang, 19 participated in the activities. They also had a demo class on baby food preparation and another class on the dreaded dengue fever, how to best avoid getting it, and how to care for children with dengue.
Thank you! Mother's Heart hosted a group of international visitors and individual supporters during this period. The visitors got to know more of Mother's Heart's vision, mission and activities and met some of the staff. Some of the visitors were also able to meet the mothers and babies in our office, in the day-care, and in our community. They gained a deeper understanding of the challenges that women in crisis pregnancies are facing, and saw for themselves how their support is impacting them. Overall, the visits were a great way to connect with the community so that they an share these insights to their respective communities when they returned home. We appreciate them spending time to get to know us during their holiday in Cambodia!
We also received donations of clothings, milk, and cash that were dropped off in our drop-in centers in the city. They are absolutely wonderful and useful many moms and babies will be happy to receive them. We thank them for always thinking of Mother's Heart and for sharing their blessings with us.
Antenatal check up
Food preparation demo