Feed, burp, nap, dirty diaper, wash, sleepless night … repeat. The routine of the first six months of being a new mom may seem repetitive, but every day is filled with so much more. Little moments of wonder and worry. Delightful new expressions and sounds.
And bottomless buckets of love. Love of a tiny adorable piece of you being shaped by the hand of God into a person.
For our New Moms series, we caught up with Juliet, Kate and Rahuma in Uganda after six months with their little ones in our Survival Program. One thing stood out more than anything they shared with us … a deep and unshakeable love for their daughters.
Just a few months ago we saw how these new moms struggling under the weight of extreme poverty were able to have a chance at a first hello with their babies — a chance that so many mothers in their circumstances don’t get.
And now that sweet Christine, Pamela and Faith have reached their first 6 months, we want to share how they are doing so you can celebrate this joyful milestone with us. Brace yourself for the cuteness!
Kate and Pamela
When we first met Kate, she was a single mother of two with a third on the way. Struggling on her own, she felt voiceless and alone.
“When I joined the center, I felt like I couldn’t speak, I had lost hope. The father (to Pamela) had abandoned us. I was so hurt and didn’t even know if I could give birth. Compassion was my intervention,” states Kate.
Just over six months later, Kate has found her voice! She is fully immersed in a loving community that empowers her, prays for her and cares for her and her family.
“At the Compassion center, I’m now leading music in church. I’m also in a craft class, discipleship class, reading and writing class, and a positive parenting class. I go to the center about four times a week,” shares Kate.
In addition to the skills and community of the Survival Program, her precious Pamela is getting the love and care she deserves to grow healthy and strong.
“I thank God that we have not been sick. We have been OK. I love my daughter very much. She gives me much joy. Even when I come back from the fish market she gets excited. She can sit now and she plays with items like rattles. She’s also trying to crawl,” beams Kate.
Kate sells fish from Gayaza near her home as her main source of income. Juggling the care of her children with being the sole provider for her family is often tiring for Kate. But there is good news …
“I think the most significant thing that’s happened is that Pamela’s Father, Wasswa, came to the church and committed his life to Christ. He has also started being more regular with providing money for food and clothes, which is a great step! I have been kneeling down praying that my family gets back together, that my husband comes back home and provides for his family. I hope that he comes back,” says Kate.
Rahuma and Faith
Rahuma is a first-time mother and she and baby Faith have settled into their life together with a comforting mother-and- daughter routine.
“I get up every day at 6 a.m., light the charcoal stove, wash the utensils and clean the room we live in. After that is breakfast, a bath and I feed her milk for breakfast. Then it’s time to wash up the utensils and prepare lunch. We usually take a rest together. After our nap, I bathe the baby and prepare for her a drink,” shares Rahuma.
With her husband working long hours to provide for them, Rahuma and Faith have the support of their Compassion center.
“When we come to the center each month, we start by doing devotions and are taught many different skills. Today, we are learning about saving money and micro-enterprise opportunities in our community,” says Rahuma.
After a very difficult and dangerous birth, Rahuma is determined to help Faith stay healthy and strong.
“We’ve also been learning about nutrition and how we can prepare high-protein porridge. The other thing they do here is weigh and measure Faith to make sure that she is meeting her milestones. I have really seen a great change in her since she was born! And I’m so grateful she has not been sickly. Seeing her growing up and all the changes she is going through makes me happy,” says Rahuma.
Rahuma’s family has also received mosquito nets, shoes, soap and Vaseline from their center. But the classes and material items from the program wouldn’t be nearly as impactful if they weren’t accompanied by the support of a caring staff.
Staff like Aunt Lydia.
Had it not been for Lydia’s intervention during Rahuma’s labor with Faith, they wouldn’t be the healthy duo they are today. When she recognized Rahuma’s unusual and lengthy birthing pains, she approached the doctors about performing the necessary cesarean section. And six months later, Aunt Lydia is still walking by Rahuma and Faith’s side … supporting them every step of their new journey together.
Juliet and Christine
Christine is vibrant and healthy! Already beginning to sit up and crawl, she’s a true joy for Juliet and her husband, Edward.
“This baby is the bridge that brings us together. There is somebody between us now and we love her very much. I feel more of a sense of responsibility than I did before. Not only for my wife but also for the baby. Things are going well,” Edward shares.
Christine and her momma have been busy at their Compassion center. Earlier in the year, Christine got the flu but was able to get a referral and go to the clinic with the help of the church. Juliet shared that she has been taking physical education classes, learning about the importance of having a routine among other things …
“We’ve been learning each month about different skills. Today it’s about sewing [sanitary] pads for our monthly periods. I am now part of a class learning how to do hairdressing every Monday. You can see I’ve done Christine’s hair.”
Juliet and Edward make chapattis (local bread) for a living — bringing in around $1.50-$2 per day. When she became pregnant, they worried how they would make ends meet and pay rent for their one-room house. But through the Survival Program, the church has been able to help.
“After the influence of the center, we’ve started saving a little bit of money as we hope to buy a small plot of land in the near future that we can grow vegetables on. I joined a class at the center that has taught me how to read and count money which means I’m now able to balance the books in our chapatti business,” Juliet shares.
These first six months are just the beginning of what we pray will be a long and healthy journey of love for this special family.
“I am so in love with my daughter. Maybe it’s because she’s my first born? Of course, I love my husband but I’m intensely in love with my daughter,” beams Juliet.
Halfway through their first year, these babies are thriving! Will you continue to pray for them and their families with us?
We’re following along with these new moms and their little ones during their first year of development. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to not miss out on a single family update or their first birthday celebration!
This Giving Tuesday, give to Compassion Survival to help ensure these moms and others like them have the opportunity to thrive in their first year together.
Photos and interviews by photojournalist Helen Manson.