Image © : Save the Children
Kulsum and Nuru Mia are recently married. They live in a remote village in the north eastern province of Bangladesh. Her husband Nuru Mia is a day laborer and Kulsum is a housewife. Six months into the marriage, Kulsum was pregnant. The entire family including her mother in law were thrilled upon hearing the good news. The elderly women in the family set examples for Kulsum’s pregnancy. They handed down upon her, traditions and cultural norms of how to follow a healthy diet, what not to eat, continue with the regular household chores and the list went on.
As days passed, Kulsum dealt with her pregnancy well. She listened to her elders and remained very healthy and strong. During her ninth month into the pregnancy, Kulsum felt as though there was relatively less movement of the baby inside her womb. Many a times, she would think it was all her imagination or rather, her paranoia. Nevertheless, one fine day she decided to gather the courage and discuss this with her husband and mother in law. Quite panicked yet, reluctantly Kulsum’s mother in law gave her permission to attend the health center for checkup. However, in order to reach the nearest health facility, Kulsum and her husband had to commute for 4 hours and change into 3 modes of transportation, if available at all. With an anxious mind, the couple started off to the health facility. After a long and tiresome journey Kulsum and Nuru Mia reached their nearest union health center. The doctor she concluded that the fluid inside Kulsum’s uterus had lessened due to which they baby is not being able to float as much. Kulsum was recommended to undergo a Cesarean Section and was referred to hospital immediately. This complication came without any notice and the couple feared that a Cesarean Section surgery would be quite costly. They felt very helpless since they didn’t know if the surgery would be within their affordability. However, they promised to give it their all since this was their first child.
That very day, upon reaching the hospital, Kulsum was rushed to emergency and underwent a Cesarean Section surgery. She delivered a beautiful baby girl. Nuru Mia was running in and out to buy medicines and all the necessary things. Amidst all of this chaos, Nuru Mia had no idea how to pay for the expenses. His wife and baby’s life was at cost and he didn’t want to risk it for anything. In desperation, he requested his family members for some immediate loan. It took him two days to manage the money. While Kulsum lied down at the hospital bed alone, Nuru Mia frantically went from one house to the other in search of some money. On the sixth day of having their baby, the couple was released from the hospital and were thrilled to be able to go back home.
However, the struggles of birth remained unchanged for the couple. Due to the sudden leave that Nuru Mia had to take during the child birth, he had lost his job and in that remote area it was very difficult to even find a new job for himself. In the meantime, he was burdened with the loan that he had to pay back. It has been 7 months since the birth of their beautiful healthy daughter, but even today the couple struggle to pay for her birth. The socio-economic hardship of the couple leave them in dire despair. The elderly family members blame them for wasting their money during child birth. Had the baby been born at home they could have saved this money for later. All these accusations leave Nuru Mia lost and helpless. The only ray of hope in his life is that smile from Maya, his beautiful baby girl.
(Disclaimer: The Subject's actual name & picture have not been used for privacy concern)