A Mother’s Dream: Marie-Jose’s Story
Being a single mother can be difficult anywhere in the world, but being a single mother in a rural community in Haiti is especially challenging. Today let us celebrate Marie-Jose, a 26 year-old single mother from Marmont, Haiti.
Unlike many Haitians, Marie-Jose had the chance and willpower to finish secondary school. Unfortunately, her family did not have the financial means to pay for university tuition, and she was left with an unfulfilled dream of becoming a doctor. Thanks to the support and encouragement she received from her father, a farmer, and her mother Monique, a stay-at-home mom, Marie-Jose found another way to help members of her community.
For the last five years, Marie-Jose has played an important role on the Project Medishare team. As an archivist at our maternal health center, she records valuable data about each woman’s visit. As one of the first faces mothers see when they arrive, she has developed strong relationships with the women in her small town, and feels grateful that she is able to help them.
Last year, Marie-Jose was not only an employee at the center, but also a patient. Pregnant with her first child, she accessed the same pre-natal and counseling services she helped so many other women receive. Like many moms preparing for childbirth in Haiti, Marie-Jose was overwhelmed with fear and stress. She was afraid her baby would not be healthy or that she would experience complications during delivery.
Her mother Monique’s tough experiences with pregnancy 30 years ago sparked much of the anxiety Marie-Jose was feeling. Before Project Medishare’s maternal health center, pregnant women from the community were left with two choices: Give birth at home in often times unsanitary conditions or ride a horse or donkey to a clinic in Hinche, seven miles from Marmont.
When in labor with the first of her seven children, Monique chose the first option. In the middle of the night, she mounted a horse and started the journey toward Hinche along an unpaved, rocky road. Due to the difficult road conditions, she made several stops along the way, her husband carrying her on his shoulders when the road was especially treacherous. Eventually, she made it to the clinic and delivered her baby. She decided to have her next six children at home.
Fortunately, there’s now a better, safer choice available than when Marie-Jose’s mother was pregnant. The maternal health center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s also an ambulance service that transports women in labor to the center.
In December 2015, after working her usual shift, Marie-Jose gave birth to a beautiful girl she named Sanderli. At five and a half months, Sanderli is a happy, healthy baby. After two months of paid maternity leave, Marie-Jose returned to work doing what she loves: helping women. She hopes that one day her daughter achieves the dream she couldn’t, and becomes a well-respected doctor in their community.
* Mother’s Day may be over in certain parts of the world, but we’re recognizing and honoring Mother’s all month long as Haiti celebrates May 29th, 2016