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Monday, 6 July 2015

The unwed mother of 7

During one of my clinic duties last month, a case referred to me involved another unwed pregnancy. I have handled a few cases of unwed pregnancy cases before, so I figured it was nothing new to me. That was, until the nurse told me a little background of the case.

The lady referred to me was Aida, 28 years of age. Age-wise, she’s older than the previous unwed pregnancy cases I’ve handled. But the most shocking revelation was that this was Aida’s 7th unwed pregnancy. Her first child would already be 9 years old this year. Out of the 6 earlier pregnancies, she gave 5 of her children up for adoption. The only one she’s taking care of now is her 4th child, a 6 year old girl.

When I spoke to Aida during the clinic duty, she did mention that she wants to take care of the yet-to-be-born baby. Her mother by the way, who stays in another state, is only aware of the child she’s taking care of now, and doesn’t know that Aida is pregnant again. For the moment Aida stays with her foster mother, who is not well to do herself. Together with the foster mother’s own children, they stay in a small flat.

Aida hasn’t been working for the past 5 months, and so she had not been contributing to the household expenses. Understandably, her foster mother, with her own children to take care of, is not helping Aida with anything else but a place to stay.

When I contacted Aida last week, I was told her c-sect is scheduled immediately after the Raya holidays. Without any income, Aida has yet to prepare anything at all for the birth of her baby. She was so relieved when I told her I’d take her out on Monday to shop for the necessary items.

So this morning I fetched her and brought her to a supermarket. I took the opportunity to have a chat with her… what her plans were after giving birth… who will take care of her baby… etc. I wanted to make her feel comfortable with me and trust me enough. I think I did quite well… a few times she mentioned herself as “Along” instead of her own name to me. Along is what she’s called in her family. I believe that means she’s comfortable enough with me.

Since Aida doesn’t want to give the baby up for adoption this time, she plans to open up to her mother after her confinement period. She plans to balik kampong, together with the baby, and tell her mother the whole truth, including the fact that she has been infected with HIV. She knows her mother may be upset and angry initially, but she’s hoping that her mother will accept the baby, just like she had accepted Aida’s other child. Aida is hoping that her mother will help to take care of the baby. She plans to work after she comes back from her kampong, and so if her mother is willing enough to take care of the baby, Aida doesn’t have to worry about looking for babysitters.

I told Aida to start thinking of her future, and the future of the 2 children. The past is over and done with. She needs to pay serious attention to her future.

Aida seemed very receptive. She’s not as stubborn as Zana, another unwed pregnancy case I’ve handled before. She’s willing to listen to my advice.

The important thing right now is I need to follow up on her case quite often and provide her with the necessary support.

Yes, what she needs most right now is support.

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