Mary came to us at Tejus home when she was around 30 weeks pregnant. A smart, young, girl who gave no traces of sadness or sorrow considering the fact that she was raped and pregnant. She was bright and smart and quickly endeared her to us in our hearts within no time. We focused on her diet, exercises, educated her about her birth and what to expect. She blossomed well in her pregnancy. I asked her once, “Are you afraid?” She said, “Why should I? I shall face things as they come. Besides, Chechi, I know you are all there for me.” Except to practice deep breathing exercises, we never spoke anything with respect to her coping skills in labour after that. Tejus home is also a place where girls have the right to keep their babies if they wished or give them up for adoption and they would be supported in their choices without judgement. Mary chose the latter. As she came in for her regular prenatal visit, she looked radiant and lovely just like any other pregnant mom. She was assessed during her prenatal and was found to be healthy and fine. As we talked about the baby she told me that she wished that the baby was a boy and I asked her why? She said I don’t like girls. This world is very hard for them. Let’s make it a boy. I said It doesn’t matter girls can be very strong just like you and can go on to rule the world. Let’s pray for good health and prosperity for the baby. As we were about to end the prenatal she said Chechi as soon as the baby is born please do not show it to me, I may not be able to give it up. We both fell silent for some time and held hands. As she left, instinctively I felt it wouldn’t be too long now. I ran up to her and said do not worry stay strong we will get through this. She said don’t worry, go have your lunch! At 6:30 p.m I received a call from Thejus home from Elsy Chechi our caretaker at Thejus home. Mary came on the phone and said,” I think I can spot some blood on my undergarments along with some mucous.” She confirmed she wasn’t feeling any pain/ contraction. I explained to her that it could be the mucous plug and that there is a fairly good chance she will be in labour in 24- 48 hours. I asked her to call me back within half an hour. She called me in 5 minutes with active contractions with strong sounds that I could definitely hear that were the sounds not of a girl but of a woman in active labour. As I drove to the centre I prayed Dear God, Give me the strength to support this child while she has another. Pave your way as it was meant to be. I repeated this over and over again. Mary arrives at the centre at 8:00 p.m along with Cristelle from Dil Se. She is in strong active labour, she chooses to birth on the birth stool. Not once did she complain about the pain or the discomfort, the strong girl she was. While I took my place behind her(though I am currently in training as a primary midwife right now, I knew that night this, was not my role), and as Cristelle sat beside her with kind words and Kate ready to assist Mary in her efforts, she leaned her back against me gripping my arms strongly for support. Usually, in labor, I always comfort my women with “You can do this! You are strong”. None of those phrases came out. All I could do think was “Please, Dear God, let this be the last one and not one more.” As we recited the Lord’s prayer together, she gave birth with courage, dignity and surrounded by people that she loved and soon a beautiful baby girl was born. There wasn’t a single dry eye that night, as Mary kissed my arms already wet with tears and hugged me and said Ithram ullo? (Was that it?)Thank you, Amma. Where was I? At that moment who was I?. Her care provider in training? Her doula? Her chechi or her mother? We shifted our baby downstairs for newborn assessments. They say God will find a way when there seems to be no way. Our precious angel had not one but two other mothers/nurse to breastfeed her and keep her warm throughout the night. She was also blessed to have received pumped milk which we had coordinated over Facebook/other social networks from other mothers in the community which sustained her for over a month. She found a well-knit family who took her in and fostered her with love, milk and warm hearts. Mary went on to heal beautifully postpartum and will be going back to school soon. And our little one will be soon placed in a happy home with loving parents. Our little Mary was only 14.
As seen and experienced by Birthvillage midwives in conjunction with Birth for Change Foundation. There are many Marys out there in this world. Help us to support them. To learn and to support our foundation and the work that we do please do visit https://www.facebook.com/BirthForChange