Community Voices: Sharing Stories of Early Birth

Just like our children, no two birth stories are exactly the same. As we share them, we feel a connection, particularly as we face the unexpected, the unplanned, and the uncontrollable. Knowing we’re not alone is a key component of community. Many of you have generously submitted elements from your own experiences. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing and honoring your stories. Today is a selection from those who have faced early or premature births.


Preventing Polio: A Shot Away From an Equal Shot

Since the age of three when I contracted polio, every day of my life has had challenges -- challenges that are completely preventable with a polio vaccination. I was paralyzed from the waist down, but with determination and physical therapy that I had to fight to receive, I regained full mobility in my right leg but remain paralyzed in my left leg. Even as an adult I still live with the consequences of polio.

More than a mosquito: Elizabeth’s story

Like many mothers, Elizabeth Apem clearly remembers the last time she was awakened by her child, sick in the middle of the night. “My daughter woke up from sleep complaining of a severe headache and joint pains. I checked on her and she was shivering in bed. She had a high fever.” For most of us, our next response would be to rush to the emergency room. But Elizabeth lives in rural Kenya, far from care with no car or means of transportation. So 13-year-old Silale had to wait until morning to go to a local clinic.

How Voicemails and Text Messages Changed One Woman’s Life

Asha Rani, a mother of two children living in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, learned how to provide better care for herself and her newborn through a mobile service provided by the local team of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Health (MAMA) called 'Aponjon' or "the trusted one." After the birth of her second child, Asha and her husband signed up to receive weekly voice and SMS messages, which are also used by her husband and her mother-in-law.

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