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Saturday, May 11, 2013

The story of 4 Mothers in Swaziland - what would you do?

  Tomorrow is Mothers Day and want to dedicate this blog to my mom, Bernice Willis, who is living in Ontario, Canada, a million miles away from Swaziland.  Mom, I love you and am eternally grateful that you and dad adopted me as a baby and raised me to be the woman I am today. Without you, your faith in God and your faith in me I would not be here in Swaziland today helping other babies who weren’t lucky enough to get you!  Siyabonga Kakhulu Make.

I have a theory that Mothers do the best they can for their children with what they have. That means what they have in the areas of knowledge, upbringing, education, financial means, love, faith, confidence and a host of other tools. I may be wrong, but being an eternal optimist it is a view that I want to believe.  As I think about Mothers Day tomorrow I have been thinking about four mothers who I have had interaction with this week.  These women are not for you or me to judge, but rather maybe to prompt you to give thanks for the mother that you were given, think about the mother that you are and consider what you might do if you were one of these four mothers in Swaziland.

Mother #1 – a 14-year old girl who gave birth on Friday morning via C-section and who refused to look at the child or touch the child after birth.  The baby lies only 30 feet from the mother in the hospital, but this young girl wants nothing to do with it.  Why?  We don’t know, because she has not revealed who the father is.  Her secrecy in itself tells that the father is likely someone close to her or the family.  Is this young mother (or girl who gave birth to a baby) doing the best she can by turning away from the child so that she can focus on her own education and future?

Baby Isaac, born May 10th, 2013. 2.6KG
 Mother #2 –  a 30-year old mother of four children who has lived at the government hospital for the past 57 days.  Her 18-month old child was lit on fire by his own father (not living with the mother) and then hidden for five days to suffer his 3rd degree burns in silence.  This mother has watched her child live in excruciating pain and she has slept on a chair for almost two months resting her head on the child’s bed to sleep each night.  She asked us to take the child to the El Roi Baby home when he is healed so that he may be safe from the father’s revenge.  In the interim we have been able to move the baby and mother to a private hospital so that he can get excellent care while he heals and remains safe from further harm.  Is this mother doing the best she can for the baby by giving him to us so that the child will live in safety?

My new BFF - burned baby is moved to private hospital.
Mother #3 – a mother who handed her 5-week old baby to a neighbor so that she could go and use the toilet, then she ran away, never to return.  The child’s health card reveals that the mother was HIV positive and the baby is on Anti-retrovirals, which we will now give her at the El Roi Baby Home, which is her new home. Did the mother do the best she could by leaving the child with a stranger, knowing that she herself was sick and had no means to feed or care for the child?

Mother #4 – a young mother gave birth at a local hospital and then ran away leaving the child.  The baby girl has been living at the hospital for two weeks and there is no sign of the mother coming back.  The hospital has no record of the mother, no way to find her and not even a name for the baby. We are hoping that this baby may also come and live at the El Roi Baby home, but only time will tell.  We can’t begin to imagine what kind of situation this mother was in that would cause her to carry a child for 42 weeks and then run away from her when she is born.

These are only four of many stories that I we heard and dealt with this week. It was a big week for babies and mothers and I am thankful that I am here in Swaziland to be a part of these stories. 

I am thankful that my birth mother (who was 15-years old) made a choice to give me up for adoption so that I could have a better life than she could give me.  Giving a child away is a heartbreaking act, but in many ways it may be the most selfless act mother can do.

Live from Swaziland … Happy Mothers Day to all women who have brought a life in to this world and to all the mothers who have received someone else’s child to care for.  El Roi see you.


1 comment:

  1. Happy Mother's Day to you, Janine! You are a very special woman and a great mother to your children and the babies of Swaziland! May God continue to bless you and your family.


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