Being pregnant is difficult in the best of circumstances.  I realize there are women who breeze through this experience but for most of us regular shmucks it’s a very trying time on many fronts. I recall with my second pregnancy, thinking I must have cancer (not to be insensitive to anyone who’s life has been affected by cancer) because within the first 2 or 3 weeks I was literally exhausted and felt very ill.  I did not consider I was pregnant at the time for several reasons. It hit me like a truck and I spent alot of time in bed. Now, at that time I lived in a lovely neighbourhood, owned a home and good vehicle and though my husband and I did not have alot extra, we had a wonderful life. I was a stay at home mom to my 2 year old daughter.

I live in Canada which provides an excellent health care system. I did not have to work, (although looking after a 2 year old is work) not outside the home anyway. I had all doctor appointments, exams paid for, all hospital fees were taken care of ; doctor, delivery room and staff, any drugs, emergency surgery (C-section with my first born) and 3 days in the hospital.  In Canada perscription drugs are not provided for free but I recall I did not take anything stronger than an asprin occasionally during pregnancy anyhow. Just a note, it was not through any great discipline on  my part, I did not drink at all and smoked very little because I felt  sooooo sick for the first 3 months with both my kids and then 4-9months I was used to this routine so it was easy to keep up.

Throughout both of my pregnancies, my second I used a midwife, (there was a fee but it was not much) anyone I saw, as a patient, treated me with the utmost respect, gave me their undivided attention, time, sincere concern, and advice. I never felt looked down upon or unimportant. Good thing too, it’s a very vulnerable position to be in, for anyone! It is also an emotional and frightening time for a woman, her body is changing rapidly and she has to be concerned about another life , in the immediate moment and for several years to come, yikes!  Yes, woman need much TLC during this time, I say this in all honestly and sincerity.

Well, I went through all of that for a reason, to give you a picture, in stark comparison, to the reality hundreds of thousands of pregnant women face each year.  I was aghast, sadly not surprised, to read about some of the horrors poor, pregnant women face in the  vast slums of Nairobi. When some of these women were asked about their major concerns, two things emerged.  One, the poor treatment they received from healthcare workers , due to the stigma of  ‘poor’ branded on these women and the harsh reality of the necessity to earn income outside of the home.

In an article taken from ‘The Standard’, a Nairobi online newpaper, written by Michael Oriedo,  March30,2011,   “The African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) study says poor women shun modern maternity and delivery services, not because they do not have money, but because they suffer poor treatment at the facilities .The study finds that some health providers are not charitable towards poor pregnant women, often abandoning them or ignoring them when they visit health center and hospitals.”   So these women often turn to local midwives who are affordable and give them the  time and respectful service they deserve -as a human being-and to the unborn human being she is carrying!  This is not to suggest the midwife is inferior to the traditional medical doctor/nurse in any way, but one should not have to go without necessary treatment and seek out an alternative, which could take weeks and have financial costs, when there are already, at a facility, capable practitioners in attendance.

It is no longer acceptable to me to not speak out, I do not condone this behaviour from other human beings any longer. These women are equal to the richest of pregnant women anywhere in this world and must be treated as such. They are indeed life as is the unborn child, as are you, as is the care provider who ignores the patient.  In a society of equal money this will not occur as each will be provided for from birth until death, all necessities will be met. There will be no charge for essential health care services. Each will be given the same amount of money to live on for some form of accountability and enough money  for essentials of life. You will not pay rent or a mortgage to a bank so some few families are incredibly rich, beyond imagination and get to have the earth as their playground while the vast, majority of humans suffer horribly with nothing and nothing to look forward to. I refuse to listen to the excuse, ‘well, that is their lot in life’, ‘God, has a plan’, ‘there is nothing I can do about  it’, “it’s up to my higher power, I’m not in control of that, they must have something to learn.’  What crap, shame on us.

if I was to take a can of spray paint and cover your house or car in graffiti would you have the right to stop me, maybe its just ‘gods will’ or your lot in life or a ‘higher plan’ well, you can fix it but each time you fix it , i did it again, would it make you angry? And that was just your property not your wife, mother, sister, child I was damaging. ‘That’s rediculous’, you may retort, no what is rediculous is to let a situation continue in which one pregnant woman is taken care of and another overlooked-simply becasue of the coin in her purse. Literally one baby is given human care/love and another human discarded, that is dispicable.

The second major problem, the pregnant women in the slums of Nairobi face, is the stark fact of needing to make money so their families don’t starve, let alone pay for other necessities of daily living…er I should say daily surviving.  The same article in The Standard, Michael Oriedo reports, “…Poverty forces pregnant women into doing heavy workloads, catering for the children they have already as well as  babies’ needs. Due to poverty, women work hard during pregnancy and the period surrounding it. They work in construction sites as head-carriers and loaders, stay out late selling their wares, or go from door to door looking for work,” 

Head carriers! That is heavy physical labour, I would have puked and fainted and I am completely serious. Now I would have also gotten up , like these women, and ‘soldiered on’ to feed my other children at home, pay rent and electricity etc. but it would be hell.I assume it is very hot in Nairobi so easy to become dehydrated. I wonder if these women get fair/compassionate breaks, water, nutrition, increased bathroom breaks on the job site, paid sick days or just sick days without threat of loosing their job, paid time off for doctors appointments? Perhaps some, I don’t know but I’m guessing no. Why? Am I jaded? Sure, I’ve felt like crap before and been treated like crap before and I don’t wish it on my fellow human sisters.Yes, I am jaded by the proven greed of the human race, the never ending race. Perhaps some employers do or/and some want to be helpful to these women but have their own troubles and family to pay for. I know I have been guilty of this , ‘I’ll be more ‘giving’ after I straighten out this debt I have.’ Slipping into justifying self interest, sadly, it’s the money system. We’re monkeys in a cage, all of humanity but the rich and the invisable elite. They have the freedom/movement that money provides, all the best services (health, fitness, travel, vacations, no stress from money worries).

 Now, I understand other places in the world have trials and tribulations for the pregnant woman, this is not a competition, I am simply looking at one situation in our world. We are not separate;, one world, your world , my world. Indeed, one baby, your baby, my baby. One problem for us all to address and, finally,  find a solution that is best for all.

These women have to work very hard to save enough money to make up for the time they will miss from work after the delivery and time they will spend at home. Many have no choice but to continue with the heavy workload immediately after birth. This often results in sapping the women’s energy and blood and leaves them fragile. Understandably, the women then are exposed to horrific outcomes: bleeding, anaemia, hypertension, malaria, placenta retention, premature labour, prolonged or obstructed labour and preeclampsia (convulsions).These problems often result in stillbirths, premature births, pregnancy loss, maternal mortality, morbidity, and deformity. 

One of the women interviewed, a 27-year-old mother, told of her experience of nearly dying five days after giving birth. She worked as a cleaner until a week before her delivery and resumed her job few days after giving birth. Sadly, on her first day at work after delivery, she suffered heavy bleeding. She had to start work immediately so her children wouldn’t starve. Although she knew she needed to stay home and rest she simply needed the money.It nearly cost her her life.

Please investigate a real alternative, that is best for all at http://www.EqualMoney.Org. Let us all stand together to create a better world, an equal world!  

 

 

 

 

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