wrote about visiting the public hospital's maternity ward awhile back - i haven't just let it lie like so often happens around these parts (these parts = my heart). i am so scared sometimes of being vulnerable, that i just steer clear. i am involved in a number of activities - most just peripherally, one (another post when i can.... oooo, vague) way more intimately. but seeing the conditions, talking with the teenage moms-to-be, holding the babies... it touched me in a way i just haven't been touched in a long time.
i've always had a soft spot for mom's - especially teen-age ones - but it wasn't until i had my own that i knew that this is where my heart was. i had been given tools before we even thought of having children that would make our lives as a family easier (not easy!), and even though i didn't have this impoverished birth experience, i also didn't have a luxurious one. i knew what i wanted and what is good for babies. i was able to choose a doctor, to express opinions and concerns.
that doesn't always happen in the public hospital, and it happens much less frequently for under-educated teenagers.
i've been back to the hospital a few times. i don't really have any sell-able skills to offer, but i'm really good at encouraging women to breastfeed (that's another post for another day!) and just talk to them about their concerns. i like talking to the nurses to find out what is going on and where we might be able to find more help for these women.
my creole is crap, but a quick prayer usually brings a smile to mom's face.
i took my dad to the hospital in december to hand out some diapers and sanitary pads to the recien paridas - i also cleaned out our closets and took ten sheet sets and some baby blankets. it was heartbreaking, really, to see babies lying on sheet-less hospital beds - no incubators, no separate space for mom to relax and sleep before heading home to countless, sleepless nights. no on-call nurse system for a quick injection of pain medicine.
i don't know what this looks like for the future - but i know that it is where i need to be. where i need to be present as some encouragement for the patients and nurses. i hope to get more involved, but i just don't know how that looks. i continue to work with the midwives for the dominican republic, and hope to become more involved as they establish themselves more in the country.
if you know of any place to get post-partum info that i could study, or anything that might be of benefit to new moms, please let me know!