Let’s talk about it: A young couple plans pregnancy and childbirth – Part 8

    | July 13, 2009

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    This week’s script is the eighth and final instalment of 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 final instalment, we find the proud parents with a new baby girl. But we learn that the delivery was not easy. Labour started in the middle of the night and an emergency arose during the birth. We find out how the couple’s preparations, including arranging for transportation and saving money, were put to use.

    We hope that you have enjoyed this series, and that it helps to encourage communication about maternal health and childcare in your listening communities. You may follow the links below to review Parts 1-7 of the series:

    Part 1: before the pregnancy:
    Part 2: second month of pregnancy
    Part 3: third month of pregnancy
    Part 4: fifth month of pregnancy
    Part 5: seventh month of pregnancy
    Part 6: eighth month of pregnancy
    Part 7: ninth month of pregnancy


    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 eight interview – childbirth

    Mother in law

    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.

    You have been following a series of interviews with a young couple aged 23 years and 22 years living in a village near in Arusha, Tanzania. They are self-employed and poor, depending on daily casual work. They have been talking about their progress and preparations for receiving a baby. In today’s talk we will hear what happened during childbirth.

    The labour began and the couple went to the hospital. After examining her, the doctor advised the mother that she needed an operation to deliver safely. The couple was worried and scared. But fortunately, all went well, and a healthy baby girl was delivered. The couple is nervous about caring for the child, because they never learned how to take care of a child. They needed advice from the doctor and from their neighbour. But the mother is safe and the child is doing well.

    Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.

    Producer: It has been four weeks since we met and talked about the ninth month of your pregnancy. There were a lot of preparations to make, but today I see you with a loving baby girl. Hi baby, how are you? When did you give birth to the baby?

    Wife: On the 14th of August 2008 at 2 pm in Selian Hospital.

    Producer: What is her name?

    Wife: Her name is Linda. Linda is a Swahili name which means “protect.”

    Producer: When did the labour start?

    Wife: It started after midnight, around 2 am. It was a challenge as we live far from the hospital. I struggled to wait till the morning to avoid the cost, but it was not possible. At 4 am we had to call a driver who charged us and took us to the hospital.

    Yes, it was very tough. My wife was feeling very bad pain. I called my mum and then she called a midwife. When the midwife came, she advised us that there were some complications, and that my wife should be rushed to the hospital. Then I called for a car.

    How did you know that it was time for the birth?

    Wife: The doctor told me the signs of the time for delivery. They say it differs from woman to woman. But this is my experience. I had back pain and abdominal pain the day before I delivered. At midnight, I felt the back pain moving to my stomach. Then I remembered the doctor’s advice about the signs. I told my husband to look for a car. I went to the bathroom and bathed. When the pains went away, I fell into a heavy sleep. When I woke up, I didn’t have any pains and I just continued with my work. But after an hour the pain started again. It continued like that – coming and going, coming and going. And in the early morning we rushed to the hospital for more help.

    How did you get to the hospital?

    Wife: My husband is sharp and loves me. He just called his friend and he came with a car and we went to the hospital. It was costly, but we had prepared some money which really helped us.
    We have been making preparations for almost nine months. But when the doctor said I needed an operation, I was worried as I didn’t have enough money for the operation.

    Producer: What happened in the hospital?

    Husband: I didn’t think my wife would be operated on. But the doctor said if I refused, the mother and child would be in danger. The doctors told me that we had to save their lives. They asked me if I wanted to talk to my wife before the operation and I said yes. So I went to my wife and kissed her and prayed for her. I also prayed for the baby in the womb. They took her to the operating room. Then I prayed to God. I said, “God, I don’t want to lose my wife. You have to bring her back to me. I also need a healthy, living child.” I kept on praying and praying and praying. I waited for almost two hours. Then I saw someone pulling a bed towards another ward. I ran toward the bed and it was my wife sleeping peacefully. They told me not to worry – they were both okay. One nurse was carrying my baby girl Linda. She is beautiful.

    Producer: How did you feel when you got your baby?

    Husband: I felt really encouraged. I thanked God for giving me a child. It was a joyful moment after two hours of crying. My wife was not conscious at that time, but they told me she would wake up after one hour.

    Producer: Do you know how to take care of the child?

    Husband: I didn’t know, but I just held her gently and made sure that she could lie on her mother’s breast, though the mother was still unconscious. It just came automatically.

    How did you help your wife during that time?

    Husband: I made sure they got enough food and warm clothes and I was very close to them, showing love and care as a father.

    Producer: Mother-in-law, you were very far away during the pregnancy, but you are close at the time of birth. Why?

    Mother in-law: It’s our culture. We are not allowed to come to the young couple when they are married because this is my son. But during the delivery, I am allowed to hold the baby and cook for my son’s wife. I can teach her how to take care of the child – how to wash the baby, dress the baby, and other important things. Sometimes the baby cries a lot or doesn’t sleep at night during the first three months. I have to help with that. This is the firstborn baby for this mother and she doesn’t know much about taking care of the baby. So I am responsible for helping.

    Did you teach her how to take care of the child?

    Mother in-law: No. I have been waiting for her to give birth first. It is the right time to do so now. She will understand easily.

    The journey was long from the first month to the ninth month. All in all, the couple learned a lot from neighbours, the clinic and other sources. They made a lot of preparations, including clothes for the baby, money for food, treatment, and transport, and other important things. The result was very good as the amount they saved helped them a lot. They didn’t expect the mother to need an operation, but that was needed to rescue the baby and the mother. And now they have a beautiful baby girl.


    Contributed by: Lazarus Laiser, Radio Habari Maalum, Arusha, Tanzania.
    Reviewed by: Ellen Brazier, Anglophone Africa Program Director, Family Care International.

    Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)