Nelly Bassily | June 1, 2009
This week’s script is the third in a special series that is sure to captivate you and your listeners. Through eight interviews conducted over a period of one year, the series tells a story that is both personal and universal – that of a young couple planning for their first child.
In this third installment, the expectant mother discusses the care she received at a local clinic. We learn how the couple is stretching their budget to ensure that the wife can eat a balanced diet. We also hear their concerns that they have not yet saved enough money for the delivery. In coming weeks, the series will continue in FRW’s Script of the Week section. We will follow the couple through pregnancy and the birth of their child, learning important lessons about how couples can make decisions about maternal health and child care along the way.
Notes to broadcaster
When couples are expecting a child, many men and women are uncomfortable talking about issues such as child care, pregnancy, delivery, and the role of men and women in these issues. In some cultures, the husband is the primary person with whom a pregnant woman would discuss such matters; neighbours or close friends can also be involved.
In other cultures, female elders, midwives, and the mother-in-law have a special role to play in encouraging discussion and providing advice to the pregnant woman. Today, however, younger women frequently do not want to follow their advice, even when they advise women to go to a health facility for care.
To talk about these issues, we have visited a couple in a village in Arusha district, Tanzania. They were married one year ago, and have made plans, including how they can make their life prosperous and take care of their children.
This script contains eight separate interviews with the couple, spanning a period from before the wife was pregnant until after the child is born. There are several ways to use this script. You could use it as a guide to interviewing an expectant couple in your own area. Read closely through the kinds of questions and issues in the interviews. Find out how couples in your area prepare for childbirth. Who makes the decisions? Do husbands and wives discuss these issues together? You may also choose to air these interviews as they are, making adaptations to your local situation. The eight interviews could be aired for eight days in a row, or once a week for eight weeks.
This script is based on actual interviews. If you choose to use voice actors to represent the couple who are being interviewed, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interview, and that the program has been adapted for your local audience, but is based on a real interview.
Also, some of the cultural customs and traditions followed by the couple and their families may be different than those of your listening audience. Feel free to adapt the script to the cultural context of your listening audience. Or you could present the story as occurring in a different culture with different values and traditions.
Third interview – the third month of pregnancy
Presenter: We are talking about family, pregnancy and child care with our expectant couple. We have met today in the third month of the mother’s pregnancy. We will talk about her progress so far and their preparation for the baby to come. What is the progress of the baby in the womb? What are the family responsibilities at this stage?
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Producer: Mother, please tell us what has happened after two months of pregnancy, and now in this third month?
Wife: In this third month, I am feeling good. I am not feeling so tired, and I have no more vomiting. I can eat all foods and I don’t feel any discomfort. It was very bad earlier in the pregnancy. If I ate an orange today and then again the next day, I would vomit. But now I feel a bit better. Last week I went to the clinic, and they told me to eat fruit and greens instead of juice. I tell you I faithfully drank a lot of juice. (Wife and producer laughing)
Producer: Husband, is it true? Did she drink a lot? (Laughing continues)
Husband: Yes. She was really faithful, drinking a lot of juice. (Laughing continues)
Producer: What are your thoughts now about going to the clinic for a pre-birth or antenatal check-up?
Husband: She has already started going to the clinic this month. She will continue, in order to get the advice she needs, and to be sure that everything is fine with the pregnancy.
Producer: So, mother, you have started the clinic?
Wife: Yes. I was examined, they checked my blood, and I was tested for HIV and I am negative. I had a lot of examinations and they told me that I have no problems.
Producer: Where did you attend the clinic?
Wife: I went to the health clinic nearby.
Producer: Why didn’t you go to a traditional birth attendant?
Wife: It is true that traditional birth attendants have much knowledge. But the problem is that they don’t have the instruments for examinations and tests like blood tests, HIV tests, blood pressure, and things like that.
Husband: If you suggest going to the traditional birth attendant, it is okay, but they don’t have that kind of knowledge. They can’t provide vitamins or vaccinations, nor can they test blood and other things.
Producer: What do couples do? Do they like attending the clinic before and during delivery?
Wife: There are some who don’t want to go to the clinic. But, to my mind, if you don’t, you will not be able to care properly for the baby. If you go to the clinic, you will learn about the progress of the pregnancy – the health of both the mother and the child. Also, you will find out whether there are any complications. Those who don’t attend the clinic won’t have this advice, or important things like blood tests. Even the blood pressure is checked. Also, the position of the child and the fetal heartbeat is checked.
Producer: For the last few months, how do you see the progress of yourself and the baby?
Wife: There have been some problems along the way. I was so tired and was having headaches. Another problem was that I had a little bleeding for a few days – I was so afraid that I would abort the child. So I thank God for his great help to me. In the clinic, they checked and didn’t find any bad problems. They gave me some iron tablets. Since taking them, I have started getting back my energy.
Producer: With all the problems you have faced, were you still able to do all your work?
Wife: Sometimes I couldn’t manage. I was just so tired. But when I couldn’t manage, my husband helped me, for example, by cleaning the house, fetching water, getting firewood and other hard work.
Producer: When you went to the clinic, did the midwife give you any advice about diet?
Wife: She told me to eat plenty of different foods, and to drink enough water. Generally, she said to eat any food that I feel like eating, but she said to be sure to eat a lot of different foods, especially green leafy vegetables and foods like beans, eggs, and meat to stay healthy and strong.
Producer: How are you following this advice?
Husband: We are trying to do whatever we can by working hard. We don’t have any money saved for that. So we work hard and we get money to buy food. If you don’t work, the food will not come to you. But if you work hard, you will get money and you will buy enough food. We thank God also that we have a farm where we planted beans, maize, and other crops. So we get most of our own food and there is no need to buy it. We are really working hard to buy meat and fruit.
Producer: Have you put aside any money for the baby’s arrival?
Husband: Truly, we haven’t saved any money. When the midwife advised us that my wife should eat fruit, we didn’t have any money. But we worked hard and bought fruit, according to the midwife’s advice. You just do any work that can give you money. And you also have to be more careful with your money. I used to go out and relax with other men in the evening and drink some beer. But I came to realize that beer is very expensive, and if you leave it alone, you can save some money. I have been able to do that and we have succeeded so far.
Producer: What was the advice of your mother in-law during these three months?
Wife: She was close to me for any help I needed. If I needed milk, she provided it. Anything else I wanted, if she was able to get it, she gave it to me. But she never gave me any advice.
Producer: Why she didn’t provide any advice?
Wife: I am not sure; I think she is too afraid. The tradition doesn’t allow her to give advice. She was free to say anything to me, but she has never advised me to avoid something or do something to be healthy. She never spoke to me about pregnancy and how to take care.
Producer: Husband, what advice did you get from your father?
Husband: He said nothing, also because of tradition. He cannot even come inside my house – he stays away. (Husband and wife laughing) When my father visits me, he doesn’t want to come in. He never even advised me. He is one of the oldest now, and they are keeping their traditions.
Producer: Today, I am lucky to find a neighbour here. (Speaking to neighbour) Mother, it seems that you have children. What advice did you give this couple in these last three months on caring for the baby and preparing for childbirth?
Neighbouring mother: My advice for now is about setting aside some money for the delivery. I know you can’t start preparing food yet or preparing anything for the baby, but it is good to prepare for the delivery and to start early. Save a little money, because this will help you during the birth and after the birth of the child. You can use this money for transport, for treatment, and even for food, depending on what is needed.
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