Reshmi´s Story

Protecting the Health of Mothers and Their Newborns: Reshmi´s Story

Reshmi is aged nineteen. At the age of nine she was married. She is part of the ethnical group of the Balami, a tribal community of the so-called "untouchables" in which child marriages are the rule. Recently she lost her third baby. For fear of her husband´s family she only wanted to tell us her story in confidence.

"I sensed that my baby did not stir as it ought to do, and again and again I told them, I had to go to hospital. My mother-in-law however did not let me go; she told me to wait until the onset of labour because the hospital was a waste of money. But I had already exceeded the term more than a month. I tried to get in touch with my parents but my husband´s family did not allow me to leave the house.

Finally, after all, they agreed and took me to hospital. The doctor there told me, I would have to go to to Kathmandu to a special hospital, since the baby was not well. My family  refused and argued not to have the money for that. So I had to go home again and three days later my belly became very firm. That was why I began to scream on and on, until  my husband´s family took me to hospital once more. The midwife said that it was too late. My baby by now was dead. She accused me of being a bad mother, because they might have rescued my child, had I come earlier.

I tell you this, so that you may help to inform pregnant women and their families. I want them all to now that it is preposterous to torture a pregnant woman like that."