One year ago today, I had the privilege of laboring and delivering my baby in a well stocked hospital with highly trained and respectful staff, preceded by nine months of prenatal care and proceeded by several weeks of postnatal care.
We entered a gate [to the Haitian hospital] flanked by armed guards, parked our ambulance, and entered a hospital that felt like a prison. We walked over slippery concrete floors and through suffocating heat, but no warmth. We went into the maternity rooms to see lines of sheet-less mattresses on metal frames. Women were laid on the beds in various stages of labor. One was in active labor, two had babies laid out next to them on the dirty mattresses, one was silently crying because she had just lost her baby. I saw no doctors while we were there, no nurses. There was no one to explain to these women what was happening to their bodies or to their babies. And there was no one to serve them. If a patient needs food, the family has to bring it. If a woman needs water, her family has to bring it. If an IV or medication of any kind is needed—the families already living in unimaginable poverty must find a pharmacy, buy an IV or medicine, and bring it to the hospital. So the women just go without. They go without food, water, and medicine. So many hurting women, so many new babies—and it was so quiet. We heard no moaning, no crying from the mamas or even from the babies. It turns out there is no reason to cry if there is no hope of help.
My privilege is not a privilege that Haitian women experience.
Haiti has the highest rate of maternal and infant mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Two out of 3 childbirths in Haiti occur without a skilled birth attendant. One in 83 Haitian women will die as a result of childbirth.
Heartline is a ministry with skilled midwives and early childhood education classes that is working desperately to keep babies with their mamas, thereby reducing number of orphans and empowering Haitian women.
Glennon has started a love flash mob to support the expansion of respectful and loving care for our Haitian sisters. Would you consider joining with me to support this amazing organization?