A weekly visit, a nutritious meal and the deepening of relationships. Over nine months, trust builds and a bond forms—a bond with the women who stand by her side, who hold her hand, who breathe with her, and help her bring her baby into this world safely. After the calamity and torrent of giving birth, then there is the peace—the peace of time, the peace of space, the peace of bonding and nurturing this new life.
These are all luxuries afforded pregnant women and new mothers in many parts of the world, but often a necessity out of reach in Haiti.
But that is the beauty of the Heartline Maternity Center. Heartline Ministries staff and supporters help protect mothers before and during birth and provide critical bonding time in the weeks and months after. This is all part of a proven strategy to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to care for children.
The founders of Heartline began in the late 1980s working with a children’s home to place children into families in North America through adoption. Over the course of several years and multiple conversations with birth families, it was clear that many babies and children were being relinquished due to maternal death and poverty.
Through prayer and reflection, Heartline founders John and Beth McHoul began to transform the work of Heartline with the creation of the Women’s Education Center and the Maternity Center, to care for mothers and support and empower adults who are then able to support their families.
The Heartline Education Center and the Maternity Center were formed out of a desire to help Haitian children and their mothers in the best way possible. This idea is central to one of the Faith to Action Initiative’s 7 Guiding Principles, which states, “The best way to meet the needs of vulnerable children is to strengthen the capacity of their families and communities to permanently care for their well-being and every effort should be made to do so.”
The focus on the health of the mothers is centered on Heartline’s work to strengthen Haitian families and prevent children from being orphaned through holistic care.