November 17, 2007

from another world

I stumbled upon a blog called 'babycatcher' while surfing around for blogs to read. This blog is written by Joanne who is a midwife working in Malawi. Her blog entries does certainly put things into perspective. I will like to quote part of her entry for 19 May 2005. This entry made me cry..

To be a mother

...Last week I met a girl 21 years old, who had had three pregnancies, three deliveries, and no surviving children. Her most recent pregnancy ended with a term IUFD and she was delivered via c-section. After waiting a week in the hospital for her incision to heal, she was discharged home but soon returned with a raging infection (peritonitis and a necrotic uterus) and had a hysterectomy. I met her while she was in the ward recovering from her hysterectomy. She is a beautiful girl but her young body takes the form of an old woman when she walks - bending forward, moving slowly, each step cautious and tender. And yet, even though everything about her communicates the depth of her loss, she almost always smiles at me when I enter the ward – warm and genuine. Over the past week, I always looked for her when I came and I watched her wounds, they are healing well. One large untidy line - thick here then thin, puckering at points - stretches down from her navel and a smaller perpendicular scar marks the right side of her abdomen. There is nothing subtle in her story or in its transcription on her small body.

I was with her today when the clinical officer discovered that somehow - in the process of her illness, and healing, and illness and healing - she had developed a fistula between her urethra and her vagina. He found a hole where it shouldn’t be, but there it is, and now urine constantly runs down her legs. They can and will surgically repair the fistula, but she must wait three months before her body will be ready for the operation. Three months after losing her third baby. Three months after losing her uterus. She will wait three months smelling of urine for yet another surgery. As he explained the problem to her, tears began to silently spill from the corner of her eyes. He said she could go back to the room, to her bed, and then she could go home. Just come back in three months.

I followed her back to her bed. In the middle of the noisy room filled with mothers and guardians, visiting husbands, crying babies, nursing babies, she collapsed on her bed in a small heap and began sobbing, “Amayi, amayi, amayi.” I rubbed her back and her head. And, when I realized she was crying “Mother mother mother . . .” the tears I was holding, broke free. We are so much the same in our expressions of pure emotions. We all call for the same person when life ravishes us, the only person whose love can offer comfort in moments of utter devastation - our mothers. I also realized with a bit of tragic irony that here in Malawi where women are raised to be mothers, this small woman had tried so hard to be just that and it broke both her body and her heart. I cried. And, I prayed. I prayed that she did have a loving mother and a loving husband, that she would again find hope and strength. I stayed with her until she fell asleep.

Only once she was still and her breathing deep and regular, did I notice a small wizened woman standing near the bed. She smiled a kind sorrowful smile and said, placing her hands over her heart and nodding at the sleeping girl, “Mwana anga,” my child.


Lisa and Liam said...

That broke my heart. Thank you for sharing that with me. Your blog has so many facets: hope, sadness, love, humor. I wish I could meet you...but you are very far away! (Hmmm. That sounds stalker-ish, but I meant it as a compliment...
you must be a very cool person to know!)

dynamitt said...

thanx lisa :)

you are welcome to come and see us if you ever get over to Melbourne.