Amal takes part in Save the Children’s Health Project
Amal was depressed after two miscarriages and then the death of her first daughter, who died just one month after being born. Amal’s next baby, a boy survived with the support of Save the Children’s health project.
Amal’s story in her own words
“I was married in 2001. I miscarried twice without knowing the reasons. After that I successfully delivered my baby girl with the help of a midwife who told me to give my new baby water with sugar for three days beside breastfeeding. Then my daughter died. I became very upset as I had miscarried twice and then when I succeeded, my daughter died. I became very tired and always felt like I wanted to sleep. And I had headache all the time.
My mother in law tried to convince my husband to marry someone else, but my husband insisted that it was not my fault, and stayed with me.
After that I hated everything, including being pregnant again, until one day two people who I knew stopped by my house for a visit. I asked them what they were doing and they told me that they were going to discuss with me the advantages of the health unit so that when I am pregnant I can come and visit them. I cried again, and told them that I hated being pregnant, and that I’d heard it all before. However, they convinced me to listen to them, and stated the advantages of regular visits to the local health unit while pregnant. I told them I had had a miscarriage twice and at the third time my daughter died. They asked me whether I went at any of these times to the health care unit; I answered “No”, as whenever I asked my mother in law to go to a doctor, she replied in a very aggressive way, “You don’t need a doctor”.
When I felt that I was pregnant again, I didn’t tell my mother-in-law and “escaped” to the health care unit. After a urine test, he congratulated me on being pregnant. At that time I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. When the doctor asked why I looked sad, I told him my story. He then asked whether I had visited the unit before; I told him no. He asked me to come to the health unit for periodical checkups and then see the result, so I went to take a blood test. The result of the test indicated that I had severe anaemia. The doctor asked me to have iron tablets and to eat yoghurt, liver, black honey, and dates. I agreed to do that and to see the effect.
Then a community leader met me and told me that there is a seminar every Tuesday in the health care unit. I went to the health care unit that day and I saw many pregnant and non pregnant women. By the end of the session, I knew what to do, and had more confidence too. I employed everything I learned until my baby was due. I went to the doctor who transferred me to the hospital and I delivered a baby boy, Mohamed, who was three kilograms at birth. The doctors then stressed that I must breastfeed him for the first 6 months without giving him anything else. After that I went with my baby to the health care unit, they gave me a follow up notebook containing the dates of vaccinations and weighed my baby. They also advised me not to be pregnant again for a while for my health and the health of my son.
After I successfully delivered Mohamed, my mother-in-law started to attend these seminars. Mohamed is now 3 years old, and healthy, and I am full of joy because of it. Thank you for what I learned – it changed my life, and saved his!”
Save the Children implements safe-pregnancy and infant nutrition classes in 7 governorates in Egypt. We raised awareness of the importance of regular medical check-ups and provide health, hygiene and nutrition information to families, as well as work to improve access and quality of health care services to the poorest populations.