Let’s talk about it: A young couple plans pregnancy and childbirth – Part 5

    | June 15, 2009

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    This week’s script is the fifth 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 fifth installment, we meet the couple in the seventh month of pregnancy. We hear that the baby is “playing” inside its mother’s womb, reminding the couple that he or she will be born soon. The couple talks about planning for the baby’s birth – saving a little money and thinking about where the birth should happen. The husband reflects that the baby will have so many needs, from food to school fees!

    In coming weeks, the series will continue in FRW’s Script of the Week section. We will follow the couple through the last months 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.

    Interview five – the seventh month of pregnancy

    Presenter: A very important part of preparing for delivery is setting aside funds. Savings are essential in case complications arise, and a couple needs to go to a hospital when labour begins. Saving money is seen as the responsibility of the husband, but women can also do income-generating activities to prepare for delivery.


    Neighbouring mother

    Presenter: We are again with the family from a village in the Arusha region of Tanzania. In today’s programme, we talk about the progress at seven months of pregnancy. How is the husband helping the wife with her duties? How are the preparations coming? Here is the interview.

    Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.

    Producer: Mother, please tell us how you feel in this the seventh month of your pregnancy.

    Wife: I feel very tired and weak. If I walk, I just want to sleep. I sometimes feel backaches or headaches if I walk long distances. I feel very tired, though I am encouraging myself that the end of the journey is near.

    Producer: Are you taking care of yourself or …?

    Wife: It’s not as it was some time back (producer, husband and wife laughing). Even washing my legs is a hard task (all laughing), but I am encouraging myself. And my husband is helping me a lot.

    Producer: Husband, how do you feel? Are you tired? Is the love decreasing or …?

    Husband: I cannot say that loving my wife is decreasing, for I still love her and the baby which we are expecting.

    Producer: How are you managing to help your wife with responsibilities such as carrying heavy things? Is it a difficult task?

    Husband: In truth, I am managing. Sometimes she tells me, ” I want you to do this or that,” and she normally tells me what she dislikes, and if I sometimes make her feel angry she tells me that she is angry (wife laughing), because maybe I am late cooking the food. (Sound of cow) In this way, I get a lot of help from her, and I don’t worry so much about why she is angry, why she is thinking like this, why she is not eating. Also, I am still learning, because we are in the seventh month of her pregnancy, and I keep the thought in my mind that if anything happens, I have to bear it. (Sound of cow)

    Producer: Wife, how is the baby? Is it playing or moving around?

    Wife: Eeeh! In the beginning I was afraid when I felt something playing in my stomach because I was not used to it (laughing). So I decided to ask at the clinic, “How is this happening?” Then I was told it is common. I wasn’t used to it, but for this month it’s playing and I am feeling just okay and used to it.

    Producer: Husband, how about you? Were you shocked the first time you heard the baby playing in your wife’s womb?

    Husband: Myself, I felt very good, because it was different than the previous month (sound of cow). In the beginning I was a little bit afraid when I heard my wife say something is playing in my womb. I thought maybe it could play too hard.

    Producer: Mother, what preparations have you made to receive the baby?

    Wife: Eeeh! We have prepared some things which I will use to receive my baby, but we are still in preparation. We have managed to save some little money these last two months, so that is good. But, if I have a problem, I will have to use that money (all laughing)! But we are planning to save some more money so that we are well prepared for anything in the coming months. (Sound of cow)

    Producer: Father, what are some of the hard challenges, things which make you afraid, with only two months left till your wife delivers the baby?

    Husband: Something which has been a challenge to us is thinking about how we are going to take care of the baby, because the baby needs care and attention – something to eat, something to drink… eeh (hesitating and wife laughing), the baby needs education. He or she will have great needs for many things (sound of cow). But we have faith that he or she will get all of these things that we are thinking about, and because of our good thoughts, we will succeed.

    Producer: Which place do you think will be the best place for delivery? Have you been discussing this?

    Husband: Many are advising us that the hospital is very good. But it is also far, and if the labour pains begin at night, it is difficult to reach there. The midwife at the clinic nearby is also very kind and she has been very caring to my wife, so maybe that is a good place. Truly, we are confused about where we should go for the delivery, but we have decided that it is not good to deliver at home or at the traditional birth attendant’s place. It is not safe because problems can appear suddenly, and the traditional birth attendant does not have the same drugs and equipment that they have at the clinic.

    Wife: I don’t depend on hospitals completely. But I have faith that, if God has planned it so, I will deliver in a good way. To choose the best hospital will not help; what is needed is just to pray to God that I will deliver safely. I don’t know anything more…

    Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.