” Infant death, deficiency and poor health facilities affect a large number of mothers globally. The best public health campaign is the campaign for the life of every child, born and unborn. The life of every child is the anxiety of every mother” – Whitney Edna Ibe
” Theresa, lost the baby again.” Her husband’s voice echoed from the doorway. She could hear her heartbeat loud in her chest, as guilt, regrets, and pains took over.
” What could have gone wrong,” she pondered. ” I did everything right. This is all my fault…” she lamented.
If you’ve ever a lost a newborn, you would understand these feelings. It’s something you can’t explain. The pains engulf you every day, leaving you numb and lost.
Child mortality has become the most dreaded illness for all expectant mothers. Amongst fighting against malaria, weakness of the body, morning sickness, gaining extra pounds, sleepless nights, irritations, vomiting, they also have to worry over the possibility of losing their little ones.
In Nigeria, higher rate of child mortality can be as a result of poor access to medical facilities, financial instability, poor quality, delivery services, religious and traditional beliefs, poor health conditions of the mothers and negligence.
United Children Fund, (UNICEF), has this to say:
” Nearly ten of newborn deaths in the world last year occurred in Nigeria.
According to the report, five countries accounted for half of all newborn deaths last year, with Nigeria third in the list. These are India (24 percent), Pakistan (10 percent), Nigeria (9 percent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4 percent), And Ethiopia (3 percent). Most newborn deaths occurred in two regions: Southern Asia (39 percent), And sub-Saharan Africa (38 percent).
The report also showed that 15,000 children died globally before their fifth birthday in 2016, with 46 percent of the deaths (7.000) Occurring in the first 28 days of life.
The UNICEF Chief of Health, Stefan Peterson, said though the lives of 50 million children under-five have been saved since 2000 through an increased level of commitment by governments and development partners to tackle preventable child deaths, more still needs to be done to stop babies from dying the day they are born, or days after their birth.”
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According to Worldvision.org – Child mortality is a big deal, and a lot of people are fighting to reduce it in the developing world. In fact, the number of children younger than 5 who die each year from preventable causes has decreased dramatically — from 12.7 million in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015. But that’s not fast enough, per the World Health Organization and other development agencies.
One of the greatest miracles of my life is, becoming a mother 😊. The birth of my daughters was perfect and when the doctor brought them in, all I could say was, “perfect”. I’m often cautious about every moment and events in my life, and so has been welcoming my daughters to this world. As I cuddled up to my precious little girls in the delivery room, I realized there was no better place I could ever be than right there with them. The love that flowed from me to them was so strong that I forgot the pains of labor almost immediately.
But, when I hear of mothers who lose their babies at childbirth or after childbirth, I want to rush out, hold their hands, and tell them everything is going to be alright, even though their lives will never remain the same again. I want to reassure them that they are not alone and there are others like them out there.
Losing a child can be devastating to both parents. It’s never easy convincing a bereaved mother that life has to move on after losing a child. No matter how hard you try, her body, mind, and heart won’t listen to any other voice than the voice of self -guilt and hurts. Grieving the loss of a child is truly an unpredictable experience that no mother prepares herself for. Starting from; conception, early morning fevers, the unending back pains, enlargement of waistlines and feet, weird cravings, often loss of appetite, labor pains, to the delivery room, no mother ever preprepared child loss.
Accepting the loss of a child isn’t a walk in the park. It’s one of the hardest things to do. Without warning your life changes automatically when you lose a child. It’s like waking up every day without hearing your heartbeat in your chest. The pain doesn’t go away because you want it to. It intensifies as each day goes by, making every step to recovery difficult to take.
Over the weekend, I visited a friend who had just lost her baby at childbirth. She looked at me and said, “Margarita, my baby didn’t make it home with me. I waited so long for her. She’s not here,” she cried. The pain in my stomach tightened and I could just imagine the trauma she was passing through. She felt guilty for losing her child. Why do we mothers have to feel guilty when we lose our little ones even though we did everything right?
Labor pain is excruciating and often lasts too long. The joy of it is that you get to see and hold your little bundle of joy, but on the other side, when you know your baby isn’t breathing, the pain becomes unimaginable. It takes the patience of Job to deal with the psychological and emotional trauma that follows. No matter what anyone says, nothing ever feels right for a long time. Saddled with these, we still have to add guilt to the list.
To watch your child die at any age isn’t normal. It’s painful and profoundly difficult to handle. A part of you dies with them because they are supposed to outlive you. As much as we would like to put an end to the child mortality rate in our world, it won’t be so easy. But, we mothers must find a way to support each other. We must be compassionate, and courageous towards mothers who have lost their babies.
Here are six feasible solutions to curbing child mortality
1. Easy access to medical facilities for all pregnant and nursing mothers
2. Early registration for antenatal and prenatal care
3. Immediate and appropriate care to both child and mother
4. Early sensitization on the need for medical attention, immunizations, vaccines, and child support to those in rural communities
5. Strengthening health systems by providing them with affordable medical supplies that can help treat and prevent diseases both in rural and urban communities.
6. Recommendation for adequate nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding for babies. Maintain a home free of air pollutions, provide clean and safe drinking water, maintain adequate hygiene and sanitation.
As mothers, all we need and have is each other. Our children are our world, we must do all we can to protect them ❤️.