Expecting a new child was not a new experience for Mary Grace. She had carried 6 other pregnancies to term and had given birth to each of them in the local government hospital. Now expecting for the 7th time Mary Grace was hoping for a new experience. An experience that was everything that it was meant to be.
Mary Grace remembered well each of her other births. She remembered the pain of the contractions and the intensity of the labor. But what she remembered most was the feelings she had as she labored alone. She was scared and did not have a labor companion to comfort or reassure her. She remembered the rough treatment she encountered and the lack of compassion she felt from her care providers. She had wanted this day to be special but each time, she felt alone.
Now expecting her 7th baby any day she was hoping for more. She had heard about the birth center in her home town that provided care for expectant mothers. She had begun care and was surprised to find that everyone at the birth center was genuinely excited about her baby who would be joining her family later this year. She found warmth and compassion and most of all she was pleased to see the clean, cheerful, and well stocked birth room.
When the pain of her contractions began she made her way to the center. She was allowed to have her husband join her for the labor. She was relaxed and her labor progressed quickly as she received the supportive, kind and compassionate care she had longed for at each of her other deliveries.
Mary Grace gave birth to a baby boy and wrote the following message to the staff of the birth center. "Thank you very much for a very loving and caring experience. This childbirth was the best. I had a very wonderful and memorable experience giving birth to my baby. I will keep the memory of it for the rest of my life... thank you thank you!"
Not only was Mary Grace's experience a testimony to the care provided by this birth center it was also the only care she would have had access to. As a low income mother she would not have been able to afford the birth fees at the local hospital for this birth, and was considering giving birth at home unattended. Due to the accessibility of a clinic which had removed the barrier of fees for service she was able to have the best birth experience of her life.
Thank you for supporting kind, compassionate, safe care for mothers and babies in the Philippines. We could not do what we do if it wasn't for the support of individuals like you, who truly want to make a difference in birth outcomes.
Salamat, salamat po. (thank you, you thank you ma'am or sir)
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.