Can you imagine being a new mom in Nepal?

by Annila Harris, World Vision on July 22, 2015


When the 25-year-old discovered she was pregnant again, her joy couldn’t be contained. “I was so happy,” she says. “I went for regular checkups and finally to the hospital for the delivery.”

The baby was a boy, completing Bishnu’s modest household. “It’s a blessing from God to have both a son and daughter in a family,” she says.

Counting every hour, Bishnu anxiously waited for the day when she could give her son a lifelong gift: his name. “We have a custom here in Nepal,” she explains. “On the 11th day [after a birth], we have a naming ceremony.”

Unaware of the danger lurking on Saturday, 25 April, the day of the quake, Bishnu started her daily tasks. “I’d just finished some household chores and was going to the bathroom when the earthquake struck,” she says.

Her maternal instinct in overdrive, she ran to the room where her son, oblivious to the great risk, lay blissfully asleep. Fleeing crumbling houses all around, she ran with her children towards open ground.

“I saw cracks in the walls of my house as they disintegrated and all I could think about was my children’s safety,” she recalls. “I grabbed both of them and ran towards the field. Other villagers were running too. I wasn’t alone.”

Taking care of a newborn during mayhem
Amid the mayhem, Bishnu had no time to consider the risk to her womb of racing to safety. “After having my baby at the hospital, I’d only been at home for a few days before the earthquake,” she says. “And because of the physical stress during the quake, my stomach started hurting. There was some bleeding too.”

“But I couldn’t go to a clinic because the earthquake had completely destroyed the health posts and landslides had blocked the roads,” she continues. “All I could do was deal with the pain.”



Bishnu’s two-year-old daughter, Mausami, is still recovering from the trauma. “The earthquake badly affected Mausami,” her mother says. “She didn’t stop crying for a long time. I tried everything I could to calm her down.”

“I told her she was safe and nothing would happen to her,” Bishnu adds. “She’s recovering slowly, but every time the ground moves [due to an aftershock] or the wind blows strongly, she clings on to me and doesn’t let go.”

Rebuilding her life
Piece by piece, Bishnu is rebuilding her life with whatever is left behind and World Vision’s emergency aid. She says: “The first few days were very hard. My husband is working abroad and I’m alone here with the children, so I stayed with some local people.

“Now I’m living in a temporary shelter. It’s a struggle to live there on the street though because the security is only temporary. It’s not like living in your own home, where there is peace of mind and a permanent sense of security. I miss that a lot, but I have to start somewhere.

“World Vision’s relief aid helped set up the temporary shelter, but the monsoon season is coming and I really fear for my children’s health because it may cause the spread of diseases through the water and insect bites.

“That’s why one of the items in the relief kit, the mosquito net, is so precious. It offers protection for my children against insects that spread disease.”

The family is one of over 2,400 households who have received water, sanitation and hygiene items and temporary shelters through World Vision’s response to the Nepal earthquake. Meanwhile, the organisation has also given baby essentials to mothers with infants, including Bishnu.

 

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