A Mother’s Lament, “if only I had known…”

She broke down weeping in the middle of the training.  Sujatha (HHI trainer) had been teaching about feeding of babies, but now she stopped the training to talk to this mother privately and ask her what was going on and why she was crying.  The mother caught her breathe and said, “I didn’t know, no one told me.”

This woman, who we’ll call Seeta, had a sad history and the child she lost years ago still remains deep in her heart.  Seeta told her story and it went like this…  She was married when she was only 13 years-old, a child bride in south India.  By the next year, she was pregnant with her first child and soon enough she was the mother a son.  But, she confessed that she didn’t know how to take care of her baby, nobody told her what to do, but she did the best she knew how.  It is not an uncommon practice for babies to be fed by having a bottle of milk propped in their crib.  Seeta fed her baby this way at times and it is what caused his death.

In the training Sujatha had just been talking about this practice as a part of HHI’s lesson on mother and child nutrition.  This brought Seeta back years to her childhood, when she herself was trying to raise a child.  Seeta said “if only I had known, this would have saved my baby’s life.”  She pledged that she would take HHI’s information to everyone she knew, she would spread it like a gospel in her community and to everyone she knew.

Sometimes the most basic information is the most critical.  Years later, she gave birth to and is now raising a healthy and much loved daughter, but she will never forget her son.

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