Tuesdays and Thursdays are our favorite days of the week when we celebrate success. Fat, breast fed babies on their mothers’ hips file in and triumphantly line up at the scale. We love the chub and glow in the victory of successful breast-feeding moms.
On Thursday the bellies line up at the scale, then sit while getting their blood pressures taken and eat a high protein meal while they wait for their individual prenatals. Happy midwives palpate bellies, give stern talks on drinking water and teach classes on birth.
Wednesdays and Fridays are harder. These are the days that we deal more with Haiti, than with the program’s ladies. Lives are complicated and answers are not easy. Sometimes we have no answers at all.
On Fridays we interview pregnant ladies for our program. This week a 16 year old with a half hidden swollen belly walked in accompanied by her mother. Her story had holes in it. Dates didn’t jive and the story was incredulous, but very well could be true. The story was painful, horrific, sad, and terror filled. She told us of kidnapping, rape, forced tattoos, and a vague memory of the events. Tears coursed down her face as she poured out a story that made little sense. We do know this – a baby is coming very soon and this girl needs catch up prenatal care and lots of love.
At almost the same time another of our pregnant ladies came in with her husband. We told them we had to risk the mom out because her health issues had moved beyond our level of care. Her swollen legs dangled off our prenatal bed, her belly huge, her face filled with sadness and worry. We told her to go to the hospital and do it right away. Both mom and dad hesitated and didn’t want to go. They said they would be worried about the safety of their other children. I pictured little people, tinies. No, their kids were 17 and 19, surely old enough to care for themselves. But, they explained rape and theft are very common in their zone and they couldn’t leave their children to fend for themselves. How heart wrenching to care for the unborn child at the peril of the grown children. How can a mom check herself into a hospital while paralyzed in fear for her lovely teenage daughter.
These stories leave me heavy hearted and I push to get through the rest of the day. There is so much we can’t fix. Broken Haiti is filled with stories of real women with hurts and lives that are beyond difficult. Poverty is the foundation for so many ills. We patch, we fill, we cement, but the foundation is still broken.
We have scores of success stories and many tragic ones. We deliver babies and wonder about their future. .
Fridays are hard, Fridays leave me worn out and I go home and eat a glutton’s amount of chocolate. The opiate of this teetotaler.
I’m reminded of another horrible Friday filled with sorrow and death. That Friday long ago that paid our way to hope. That Friday of death and destruction that ended in Sunday’s resurrection.
That power gives hope to our Fridays. It changes the stories we hear, the women we deal with, the desperation they face. There is always hope, there is always an answer, there is always redemption. Jesus promised He would carry us through this broken world, these broken Fridays. We can trust Him.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33