Let’s talk about it: A young couple plans pregnancy and childbirth – Part 7

    | June 29, 2009

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    This week’s script is the seventh 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 seventh installment, we meet the couple in the last month of pregnancy. The mother-to-be tells us about the baby growing inside – how she is hungry when the baby is hungry, and the baby laughs when she laughs. The woman also discusses more practical matters, such as the cost of delivering the baby at a local hospital. The couple offers advice to other young married people on how husbands should support their wives through pregnancy.

    You won’t want to miss next week’s Script of the Week section, as it will feature the final installment of this series. We will learn about the birth of their child, and find out if the couple’s preparations paid off.

    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.

    The seventh interview – the ninth month of pregnancy

    Neighbouring mother

    Presenter: Couples should discuss issues related to pregnancy and childbirth, and ?specifically issues such as saving money for delivery, attending the clinic, caring for the mother during pregnancy, and developing a plan to reach a health facility when labour begins. Many couples don’t consider saving money for any complications that may arise. The long distances to health facilities and the lack of transport are very difficult obstacles for some pregnant women and married couples, and many do not even consider trying to reach a health facility if labour begins at night. This is a matter for preparation before delivery

    We are back with the family who are now in their ninth month of pregnancy. The couple are expecting the baby at any time. What preparations have they made so far? Our producer visited the couple again, and here is their talk.

    Presenter: Mother, we are meeting again in your ninth month of pregnancy, when we have hope that God will give you a baby at any time. Do you have any problems now with your health?

    Wife: I have had back pains for a long time, but now it is getting worse. Also, I can’t walk very far and I feel tired all the time.

    Presenter: Are there any problems with the baby moving?

    Wife: The baby is moving well. And many times the baby is hungry.

    Presenter: How do you know that the baby is hungry?

    Wife: When I am hungry, the baby is hungry also. And when I try to eat I feel dizzy.

    Presenter: What about happiness and anger? Does the baby feel these?

    Wife: Yes! Baby knows. I don’t know how the baby knows, but the baby stops moving when I am angry, and when I laugh the baby also laughs.

    Presenter: Have you been able to prepare and put things in order which are needed?

    Wife: I have some money, though it’s not enough. I have prepared clothes and some food and I trust that it will be enough.

    Presenter: Do you think your parents can help with your preparation?

    Husband: They told us not to rely on them. We have to rely on ourselves because they have their families to care for.

    Presenter: You mean that they have not donated anything in preparation for their grandchild?

    Husband: To be honest, nothing. What they are waiting for is their grandchild – only that. Maybe they think that there is no need for them to prepare anything. They just told us to bring the grandchild so that they can see it.

    Presenter: There are many kinds of preparation: preparations for the home, for the hospital and for the mother. How are these going now?

    Husband: About preparation at home, it’s okay. For hospital, we have tried to prepare what we were told to plan and we have finished doing that.

    Presenter: Perhaps some kinds of preparation are expensive. Can you help the listeners understand how much your preparations will cost?

    Wife: The cost will depend on where you go for delivery. For example, some hospitals might cost sixty thousand shillings, others might be thirty thousand, and a government hospital is twenty thousand. For an operation, it is one hundred and fifty thousand, and there are other costs such as a bed. I have been told that when you give birth at home, there is no need for money.

    Presenter: Women who give birth at home – can they be sure that the baby will be healthy?

    Wife: Some who have given birth at home say they had no problems. But I have prepared myself with money and will go to the cheaper hospital because I don’t have enough money to go to the expensive hospital.

    Presenter: Father, perhaps you think that giving birth at home is better because there is no cost for transport to hospital, for preparing food for the mother, and for transport home. Do you agree?

    Husband: My agreement with my wife is to go to hospital. And we are ready for that. It’s difficult if you don’t prepare yourself but we are ready.

    Presenter: Neighbour, we’ve been waiting for this baby now for nine months. What can you say about this very important issue?

    Neighbouring mother: These days we are waiting because at any time, at any minute, the mother can give birth, so the most important thing is transport. You can prepare yourself on how to communicate with those who have transport and help you quickly, but till now we haven’t found anyone and to go to hospital is impossible. If God does his wonders at home we thank him. But we don’t want her to give birth at home because it’s not safe for a baby or a mother. There are a lot of diseases that can arise in delivery and we want as much safety as we can get. Honestly, their plan to go to hospital is good. But they have to keep transport near them at all times.

    Presenter: What about you as a family? When the baby comes home, do you have any idea about how to care for it?

    Wife: Not yet, but I will ask a doctor how to take care of the baby. Also, I have a nice neighbour who has experience, and she can tell me how to do it because it is my first time to have a baby. I believe she will help me.

    Presenter: Father, how about you? Do you have any experience in welcoming a baby and take care of it?

    Husband: I don’t. It’s our first time as she says, and I have never carried a baby. People say that a newborn baby is so tiny that, if you carry it without enough care, you can drop it. But I will ask others how to do it.

    Presenter: Was there any advice from the doctor while you are waiting during pregnancy?

    Wife: The doctor told me that the important thing is to prepare myself and to do exercises, and also to listen to make sure the baby is moving. If the baby is not moving, I have to report to the hospital.

    Presenter: You have met so many challenges from the first month of pregnancy until now. What can you tell others who are married or who are just getting married now?

    Wife: Many men stay away from their wives when they are pregnant. They should not do that. They should be like my husband. Men are supposed to help their wives mop and cook. They can help out with the work and clean the kitchen, and not run away from their wives. Running away is not a solution; it increases the problems for their wives. If the wife is angry, it’s because of the baby in the womb. Sometimes a pregnant woman can be angry, feeling some pain, and can’t do hard work.

    Husband: Pregnant women should avoid hard work to make sure they do not abort. Some men take their wives to their mother or mother in-law’s house and they take care of the women. This is not good because mothers also have their own families to care for. A husband has to take responsibility to take care of his wife.

    Presenter: Many times, men tell their wives to go to the clinic alone. Mother, what do you say about this?

    Wife: I go with my husband when he can. If he can’t, it’s okay, but I need his company.

    Presenter: Have you heard others talk about their husbands not escorting them to the clinic?

    Wife: Yes! Nurses say that men are afraid to go because if a woman is pregnant they do a blood test and men dislike being tested. They are not sure whether they are HIV positive. But my husband went and was tested and he is not HIV positive.

    Presenter: What is your advice to fathers?

    Husband: I advise them to go with their wives to a clinic. It shows love and care.

    Presenter: Pregnant woman get tired every day. How do you help your wife, as even bathing is tough for her, and she can’t bend properly?

    Husband: To be honest, she always asks me to help wash her feet because she can’t bend. I help her to bathe until I am sure she is clean. Truly I do help her.

    Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.