Excited. Scared. Penniless. Fearing expenses, yet cherishing the little life growing within in, Desire felt so many emotions when she found out she and Charles were pregnant.
At just 20 years old, living in rural Uganda, her fears echo that of so many young pregnant women around the world:
- “I was terrified because we had no stable means of income and we were working just to meet our basic needs.”
- “I worried about where to get money for birth requirements and hospital bills.”
- “I was also worried because I had never been pregnant, and I didn’t know what to expect.”
But the Lord was looking out for Charles and Desire. A Bright Hope partner church invited them to a training session that strives to improve maternal healthcare in Uganda.
After the meeting, Desire gained a new confidence and peace about her pregnancy.
“It was like someone had informed the midwife about all my worries and fears. She explained everything very well and my fears were relieved,” she said.
In Uganda, if women want to give birth in a hospital, they are required to bring their own medical birthing supplies—things as basic as gloves and a razor blade. And if they’re giving birth at home with a midwife or at a minimally equipped health center, supplying your own hygienic items is critical for the health of the mother and new baby. However, the cost of attaining these items alone can be overwhelming.
“What was most encouraging was the promise of a Mama Kit if [I] continued going for [prenatal] care with my husband. I made myself a promise not to miss an appointment with the midwife.” Desire said.
A Mama Kit is a beautiful package of new baby essentials, like clothes, blankets, soap, and mosquito netting, as well as all the medical and birthing supplies required for delivery.*
When Desire and Charles received their Mama Kit, they were overjoyed, as Charles explains.
“We got more than we expected from that Mama Kit,” he said.
Labor pains started early one day, at about 3 o’clock in the morning. With their Mama Kit ready, Charles and Desire rushed to a neighbor who had a motorbike and got to a midwife at a health center.
“When I heard the baby cry, I was overjoyed. The battle was finally over. Everyone at the health center respected us for being so ready and organized and having unique things for our baby.” Charles said.
Maternal healthcare in Uganda is minimal to non-existent. And maternal mortality rates are tragically high, but Mama Kits are changing the statistics, one birth at a time.*
Charles and Desire are so grateful to God and others for blessing them with a Mama Kit.
“We knew the Lord had provided and we are so thankful to the people who thought about us. May the Lord richly bless them. We were down to the last penny and couldn’t afford it. [A relative] said my baby will go naked, but through that Mama Kit you clothed her with those beautiful clothes,” Desire said.
And Charles, what did he have to say? He kept on smiling and said:
“We chose to call our daughter ‘Gift’ because she is really a gift to us. Through her, God has shown His love to us. And the first thing we did when we got back home from the hospital was to take her to Pastor Timothy Kisakye at Namasujju Community Church to pray a blessing upon her and also give our thanks to God for His goodness.”
Give women better access to maternal healthcare in Uganda with the gift of a Mama Kit
According to UNICEF, “More women and children survive today than ever before. Despite strong progress, however, every 11 seconds, a pregnant woman or newborn dies somewhere in the world – deaths that can be prevented using skilled care before, during and after childbirth.”
Together, we can change the statistics and give mothers and babies a healthy, safe start to life!
*Learn more about Mama Kits, read stories of a pregnant mother and a midwife, and give a kit here. When you give a Mama Kit in honor of a mother, you can download and print a commemorative bookmark to give her as a reminder of the gift given on her behalf.
(If you want to learn more about pregnancy and childbirth in developing nations, check out our infographic here.)