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Let’s talk about it: A young couple plans pregnancy and childbirth – Part 4

This week’s script is the fourth 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 fourth installment, we meet the couple in the fifth month of pregnancy. They talk about preparing for the birth of their child. They have been told that planning for something that has not yet happened – the birth of a child – can invite misfortune. But in this interview, a neighbouring mother explains how she prepared for her child’s birth, and why she is glad she did. In coming weeks, the series will continue in FRW’s Script of the Week section. We will follow the couple through the last half of 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.

Fourth interview – the fifth month of pregnancy

Characters:
Producer
Wife
Husband
Neighbouring mother

Presenter: These days, doctors, nurses, and midwives advise that, when a woman is pregnant, she and her family should start preparing themselves for the birth. One of the important preparations is discussing and choosing the best place to deliver the baby. Other important preparations are planning for transport, setting aside some money, and even knowing who can donate blood in case it is needed. While some people think that it will bring bad luck to prepare for childbirth, this is not true. In fact, preparing for childbirth can help ensure that women and their babies get through the birth safely.

We are interviewing a young couple aged 23 years and 22 years living in a village near Arusha, Tanzania. They are self-employed and poor, depending on daily casual work. They are now in the fifth month of pregnancy. Today, we will see their progress over the last two months. What preparations have they made so far? Are there any complications in this fifth month?

Our producer continues.

Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.

Producer: It is the fifth month of pregnancy. Are there any complications in this fifth month? Let us hear from the mother.

Wife: I went to the clinic and they gave me a vaccination, and the progress is good.

Producer: Which vaccination were you given?

Wife: The vaccination for tetanus.

Producer: How many vaccinations were you given?

Wife: The first vaccination was given to me the first time I went for a check-up, and this month they have given me a second injection to help protect me against infection.

Producer: What preparations are you making in this fifth month (sound of cow) concerning the child in terms of money?

Wife: I still have far to go – four months… I really do not know what to do. Some people tell me that it is bad to prepare for something you have not seen. I do not want to invite misfortune or interfere with God’s plans by making my own. (Wife laughing)

Producer: Husband, you are preparing to receive a child. What preparations have you made so far?

Husband: (Takes long breath) As my wife already said (wife laughing), we have not prepared so much. (Sound of cow) But I think you are right. We should prepare something so that we are ready when the time to deliver is near.

Producer: How much do you know right now about what is needed to receive a baby?

Husband: Truly, we don’t know. But we hear people saying that a little money must be put aside, and that even food needs to be saved. If you save some money, it can reduce the tension. We are still in the preparation. We don’t have any money in hand now, but we believe we will get some. Once we do, we will save it for the guest, meaning our child.

Producer: We have been lucky again to find a neighbouring mother, who is a friend of this couple. (Speaking to the neighbour) Can you please tell us what are the important things needed in the fifth month to prepare for receiving a child?

Neighbouring mother: By the fifth month, you should have saved some money to get to the clinic and to buy anything that the midwife might need – things like gloves, cotton wool, and medicines. It’s also good to think about how to pay for transport. These are important things to think about when you are preparing to receive a child.

Producer: How well did you manage these kinds of preparations?

Neighbouring mother: Yes, I managed. I saved some money and bought a syringe, gloves, and other things that were needed. If you don’t have any money, you could find yourself in trouble.

Producer: Did you know that such things were needed?

Neighbouring mother: Yes, because I was told in the clinic when my time for delivery was near.

Producer: Have you seen couples make these kinds of preparations before birth?

Neighbouring mother: In the village, it is difficult. Many have to give birth at home because of a shortage of money. They don’t have money for transport to the clinic during birth and to come back home. (Sound of cow) They are also afraid of the costs at the clinic. At least the traditional birth attendant can wait for some days for payment.

Producer: Back to the husband and wife. (Speaking to the couple) There is a common belief that pregnant women should not eat certain types of food. Have you heard of these beliefs in the village?

Husband: I don’t think there is a kind of food that is bad for the child and the mother, but we were told about some drugs that the mother should not take. Concerning kinds of food that can affect the child, I heard people talking in the village, but the midwife told us to eat the kinds of food we wanted and could get. I have never seen a child affected by food eaten during pregnancy.

Producer: Wife, have you ever heard of such beliefs – that some kinds of food can affect the child?

Wife: Yes – I was told not to eat eggs as it will cause the child to be very big. Also, they say that chips can make a child very big and fat. But at the clinic, the midwife told us that these things are not true. She advised us that we should just eat good foods and not worry too much. So, when I get hungry for a particular food, I just eat it. (Producer and wife laughing)

Producer: Husband, what can you say about taking care of the unseen child?

Husband: Truly, my experience is that taking care of the unseen child is really difficult. Sometimes the mother is laughing, but that can change within a minute. (Wife and producer laughing)

Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.