Have you been wondering who HopeCore helps through our Maternal and Child Health program? Or how we decide what our programming should be?
We are looking to expand our maternal and child health clinics to be a comprehenisive program that supports women from their child's conception through the first five years of the child's life. We are currently looking for partners to support us in this effort, but in the meantime have done some research into the experiences of childbirth and pregancy of women in our community. Read through the stories below to hear directly from the women in Maara Sub County!
Nancy is a 35 year old mother of 4. Her children are age 17, 10, 7 and 5. This means she had her first child when she was 18 years old. All of her pregnancies were planned except for the fourth one. Also, they were all born by the same father. Nancy received support from her sister, husband, and her grandmother. However, she did not receive any support by her bothers which was caused strife in the family. During the birth of her first child she had malaria, and pneumonia because of this she could not breast feed. The first child was feed formula. She was also able to visit the dispensary six times during the pregnancy, and she delivered this baby at a hospital. For her next child she was able to breastfeed but began to introduce solid food at three months. Then her last two children after learning from her own experience she breast feed for six months before giving them solid food. She found this method better because her last two babies were not getting as sick as the first two. Even though she visited a dispensary four times with the rest of the pregnancies most of her learning came from her own experience. Her advice to others is to give birth at a hospital like she did for each of her children in case of complications. Lastly, she encourages mothers to get tested for different illnesses before getting pregnant.
Betty is 24 years old and from Gakth. She is married with two children ages 7 and one and a half. Her 7 year old child attends school, and her and her husband are both farmers. Both children were planned and it was her own decision to get pregnant. She did not speak to anyone else for advice. She was very excited each time she found out she was pregnant and was not scared. She went to a dispensary three times for each pregnancy. She felt like the second pregnancy was much easier and she prepared for each child’s arrival by being less active in the last trimester. Her first child was born at home by her grandmother who had lots of experience with being a midwife. Betty was able to go to the hospital the following day for a checkup. Her second child was born in the hospital which she felt was a better experience, because of the care she received. Both children were breastfed and introduced to solid food at six months which was advised by a doctor. She advises others to deliver at hospitals because of the complications, and better care at them too.
Lucy is 38 years old and has four children. The children are ages 13, 10, 5 and 2 and a half. She is from Kigui. The first three pregnancies were planned, and she did have complications with her second pregnancy. With her second child the position of the baby caused her to not be able to work at all. This caused a financial burden for her family. Everything turned out okay and the first three children were born in the hospital. There she had support from her whole family. Her fourth pregnancy caused the most strife for her family. She did not have any support from home, felt financially unprepared, and did not know her due date. Because she did not have support from her husband or family her fourth child was delivered at home with the help of neighbors. After delivery she went to a dispensary right away. All four children were breastfed. the first one was introduced to solid foods at three months and the second one was introduced to solid foods at two weeks. the next two children were introduced to solid foods at six months.
Christine is 30 years old. She has three children, ages 18,13 and 6. her first pregnancy was not planned and she was not married. she was still living in her parents home. that child was delivered in a hospital as her parents were able to afford the hospital bill. Her next child was born on the way to the hospital but since she lived so far away she was not able to make it there on time. her friends helped deliver the baby and she went home immediately after. she had not visited a hospital until two weeks later. Her 3rd child who was also born at home with the help of the neighbors. she was able to visit a hospital two weeks later. Sadly, Christine was not supported very well especially by her husband, and so the financial burden was on her as well as taking care of the children.her first born was not able to attend secondary school because it was too expensive. She is hoping her 2nd child will be able to attend next year. She advises future mothers to visit the hospital when they can, eat a balanced diet, and find way to support the family.
Mercy is 20 years old with one 2 month old child. She was able to visit a true hospital twice while pregnant as well as deliver in a hospital. She did not spend much time at the hospital after the delivery and has only returned for immunizations. Thankfully, Mercy has had much support from both sides of the family and plans to stick to the advice she has been given to breastfeed and introduce solid food at 6 months.
Lydia is 30 and has 5 children ages 18, 11, 8, 6, and 2 and a half. Her three oldest were born to her first husband and the younger two were born to her current husband. With each child she was able to visit a dispensary 3 times during the pregnancy. The first child was born at a hospital in Nairobi, but because she could not afford the hospital, the rest were born at home. Each of the first 4 were breastfed and the last was not because he refused to. Because of this he was started on solid foods much sooner than the rest to limit the cost of formula. Lydia advises women to deliver in the hospital if possible and to make regular hospital visits during pregnancy.
Stella is 28 years old and has two children ages 3 and 3 months. Her husband is a builder. Both of her pregnancies were planned and she hopes to have more kids in the future. During her first pregnancy she was not able to eat well because she did not have an appetite. She ended up losing a lot of weight. During her second pregnancy she was able to eat better. She ate a lot more greens as she had been advised by the doctor. After her second child was born she developed a food allergy and needed to stay in the hospital for several days after delivery. Thankfully, for both pregnancies she was able to visit the hospital several times. Also, both kids were delivered in the hospital. Unfortunately, Stella’s family kept their distance after the children were born for fear that she would ask for financial assistance.
Also! We recently published a video of our work in Maara Sub County. Click below to learn more.