Overcoming nightmares with a ray of hope
Every mother has stories to tell when her children grow up. Mostly, they are the same - tales of how they felt like a ray of hope when conceiving the baby in their wombs and how they were happy and excited throughout the pregnancy. However, one young mother has a different story. Her beginning was not a happy one either.
"It was while working at my uncle's tea shop in Magway that I discovered I was pregnant. I immediately contacted my mother for help. Initially, my family attempted to file a lawsuit against my boyfriend, but due to financial constraints, we had to close the case with some compensation from his family," Aye Lin started her story by thinking back on her unhappy days.
Aye Lin, 16, is a six months pregnant mother who lives in Yangon. She is the eldest daughter in her family and has two sisters. Three years ago, her parents divorced, and her father took the second daughter to live with him, while Aye and the youngest sister, aged 4, stayed with their mother. Encountering such a life-turning point, she dropped out of school and started working various jobs to support herself.
Upon learning about Aye's situation through her mother, Save the Children's partner staff, Ma Thuzar advised her to return to Yangon. The place where she lived welcomed her back like a strange world. She hesitated to go outside and could not muster the energy to get out of bed. She felt hopeless, depressed and spent her days lying in her room, and had no appetite.
Aye said that "After two days, Ma Thuzar arrived at my house. She visited me daily, checking on me and engaging in conversations. She reassured me that it wasn't my fault. Thanks to her support, I was able to regain strength. Ma May, a Save the Children Child Protection case management worker, also visited me frequently, encouraging and reminding me that I wasn't alone."
Aye realized that it was not her fault nor the fault of the baby growing inside her womb, and if she continued to despair in this situation, her baby would also suffer like her. Determined to create a positive environment, she halted negative thoughts and instead focused on the well-being and growth of her baby.
"I have recently joined a nutrition awareness session organized by Save the Children, where I have learned about the importance of nutritious foods for pregnant mothers. As a pregnant woman who is 16 years old, while my body is still growing, I need to ensure I have enough energy for both myself and the baby inside me. It means I need to eat more, sleep more, and rest more. I have also learned about the importance of breastfeeding until the baby reaches six months of age, followed by introducing complementary feeding. All of this information is new to me." Aye added to her conversation.
Save the Children provided essential food items such as peas, onions, beans, oil, and rice for Aye's nutrition and clothes and shoes for the baby, ensuring their basic needs are met.
What challenges her the most at this moment is navigating the relationship with her mother, who persistently blames her for past events. However, through a group psychosocial support (PSS) session, Aye has gained valuable tools and techniques to cope with her stress, sadness, and anger effectively and positively. These newfound skills not only help her deal with her mother but also benefit her in addressing her own inner emotions and well-being.
"Before attending the session, I would easily become irritated. Whenever I was angry, I would throw things and yell at everyone around me. However, participating in the PSS session has made a significant difference. I had the opportunity to meet and play with my friends, which gave me peace and freedom. I have also learned how to cope with my anger, and I try to redirect my thoughts by listening to music, reading books, or something simple like napping when I am burning myself with anger."
Now, she is more comfortable and no longer hesitates to go outside, meet with friends or answer questions about her pregnancy. Also, she has developed more resilience, contributing significantly to restoring her peace of mind.
Aye mentioned how she managed her emotions, "In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, reading the book that Ma May gave me for my pregnancy, and researching online about pregnancy and parenthood-related topics."
"For my prenatal care, Ma Thuzar referred me to a clinic where I can receive free check-ups. I am now attending monthly check-ups to ensure my and the baby's health."
While waiting to meet her precious one, she finds joy in communicating with the baby in her womb, believing that the baby can understand and connect with her.
The beginning of the story was different from others. However, the love and hope for her child are the same as all mothers.