Making a difference...
Imagine.... you are heavily pregnant and it's time to head for the hospital. You make the journey using a number of peseros, small green buses coming undone at the seams, which stop every five metres to pick up twice as many people as can fit in. It's extremely uncomfortable and exhausting for you. When you arrive at the hospital, they examine you but since there is no Labour Room, they tell you to go away and come back later. You sit on the pavement outside, leaning against the wall, as the contractions start up, wondering how you are going to feed and care for your new baby.
When they finally admit you to the Delivery Room, you cannot be accompanied. There are 4 or 5 women in the same room, in the same situation. At last, you give birth and they show you your new-born baby, so tiny and helpless. Within 24 hours, it's time to leave. You've brought nothing to take the baby home in, you are too poor. Nor does the hospital have anything so you leave with your little treasure wrapped up in newspaper.
Now imagine if you could take your baby home in a nice soft blanket, with a cuddly teddy bear and a few little bars of soap. Wouldn't that make all the difference?
This is the reality at the Hospital General de Tlalnepantla, in the south of Mexico City, where 25-30 babies are born every day. They need a Labour Room so these mothers don't have to wait outside. So they can prepare for the birth with a bit more dignity.
Friends of mine are helping these mums, making a difference. I joined them on Thursday morning. We measured, cut, stitched, filled and finished off 174 blankets and a pile of teddies.
So the newborn babies don't have to go home wrapped up in newspaper.