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Baby Blessings

Baby Blessings

I was observing two friends of mine the other day from afar as they were chatting; both friends are pregnant, each at her own stage, belly full with the life growing inside her body, possessing that warm glow every women has when she is carrying a child. As I watched my friends smiling at each other their little baby bumps brushed as they laughed, I could hear them discussing nursery colors, baby names, and hospital plans, my mind wandered off to another place, Guatemala. It always happens.

I thought how many challenges both these friends have gone through to be where they are with their expectant babies. For some women having a baby can be the most difficult experience of their life they are willing to risk their own life to have a child. For others it is very easy, they are comfortable, relaxed and, blessed with good health. Then still there are others who are having babies without any form of healthcare.

My two friends were talking about the local hospitals, where they were going to deliver, which one had the better birthing center. They discussed OBGYN’s and Pediatricians, it was interesting to watch and listen. I no longer have young children or get bouts of baby fever so I actually enjoy watching other women and listening to them. I also am able to pull back and remember when; a lot has changed in the twenty years since I gave birth.

My mind drifted off watching them and I began to think about my teacher, Sheny, living in San Pedro la Laguna. She will be giving birth soon too. When I met her she was four months pregnant. I thought about what her belly must look like, about her seven year old daughter and if she was getting excited. I thought about how Sheny didn’t have a doctor, she didn’t have a hospital. I thought about Sheny’s home; she lives with her mother, daughter, husband, sister, brother-in-law and at least ten children that I recall. Their home is dirt floor, corrugated metal sided and make shift roof constructed of the same corrugated material, a cook stove and a few basic pieces of furniture.  They do not have running water or sewer they have power but it is a wire that runs to a bulb over a make shift sink for a kitchen. There will be no nursery, no themes, no colors, no mobiles, lights or lullaby’s to play, no baby shower to plan. Sheny will just work until it is time have her baby and then return to work with the baby in a hand woven sack strapped to her breast.

This is Olivia and her daughter we met in Antigua
Sheny is by no means a poor or uneducated either. She is a school teacher with two full time jobs. She teaches to a group of five to nine year olds in the mornings and adults in the afternoons. As with many men in the area, her husband is unemployed…A lot of responsibilities fall on her shoulders. With each passing day I wonder how the next few months will work for their family. Sheny doesn’t have medical insurance or maternity leave. In fact during one of my lessons Sheny was able to share with me in Spanish and broken English that she has never been to a doctor. Her mother will be with her for the birth. She asked me if she ever came to the United States to visit me would I take her to see a doctor. At that moment my eyes filled with tears as they do now thinking how quickly I take for granted the simplest things…

an idea of what housing looks like for many in Guatemala
To put into perspective just how serious it is to be without proper healthcare and give birth in Guatemala I feel I must share a staggering statistic. At least one woman dies every minute during childbirth in Guatemala. On a global level it is even more mind boggling:

As the time grows near for my friends and my former teacher to give birth my prayers are with each one of you and your babies. No matter where you are in this world I pray for the happiest, healthiest, safest births for you all.

Birth is deadly for Guatemalan women | Worldfocus
I have added this news video feed I hope you will take the 3 minutes to check it out.


Jewles said...

beautiful Jules~ I think about our experience over there more often then not!!! Especially as I look into the eyes of my handsome grandson! We r so blessed~ I luv you Jules & your beautiful spirit!!! So wish you were goin back to Guatemala now~id be goin w you!!!

Juli said...

I love hearing from you my sweet, sweet friend. The time we shared in Guatemala was priceless. We are very blessed to have had that experience and to use it as a reminder to appreciate the life we have here at home. I wish you were heading off to Nicaragua with me too!! Guatemala is our place it seems~~next year baby!!