A Mother’s Letter of Love

antonio 2

Antonio and his mother, who is reading a letter she wrote to him while she was pregnant.

By Nicole Duciaume, Americas Region Sponsorship Manager

A highlight of any trip to the field is the opportunity to cuddle and smile at chubby-cheeked babies. It always renews and refocuses ChildFund staff members from all over the world. There are few things more life-affirming than the innocence and love that spring forth in an infant’s gurgles and giggles.

But the sobering reality in rural Cochabamba, Bolivia, which a ChildFund team recently visited, is that both infant and maternal mortality rates are high. Many mothers never get to hold their babies in their arms, and some even lose their own lives, leaving their other children orphaned.

Yet there are signs of hope in Bolivia. In response to the high rates of infant and maternal mortality, the national government offers mothers small stipends to attend monthly prenatal appointments, screenings and checkups. They also offer incentives for giving birth in government treatment centers with trained health care providers.

ChildFund’s role in this effort is to offer prenatal appointments and tracking through our local partner organizations at zero cost to mothers. But, more than just checking the physical development of the babies and the vital statistics of the mothers, we also support the mother’s attachment to the baby within her — an emotional bond that, the doctor there explained, is as important as physical development.

Nicolas and his mother.

Nicolas and his mother.

That’s where a mother’s letter to her unborn child enters the picture, expressing her love, hopes, concerns and excitement in an early-pregnancy activity that ChildFund supports. Later, using life-sized dolls, mothers practice breastfeeding positions, diaper changing and infant massage. Often, they open up about other concerns in their lives.

During our visit, we met two babies born to mothers who had gone through ChildFund’s prenatal program. Nicolas is 4 months old, and Antonio is 18 months. Their mothers shared the letters they had written so many months earlier.

A letter to Nicolas: Dear son, I anxiously await you as my third child, even though I am afraid of the moment when I will give you life. But don’t worry. I will give you everything of me so that everything will be OK, my little love, and I will meet you with all of the same excitement as your older brothers. I only ask the almighty God that you are healthy and strong, because you are the light in our lives and we are all very happy to have you, my baby. Come and fill our home with love. More than anything, your dad will jump for joy when he sees you and has you in his arms.

A letter to Antonio: With much love for the baby that I am anxiously waiting to arrive, so I can know you in person and feel your little body. I hope it will be a great moment when I have you in my arms because I will fill you with kisses.

2 Responses to A Mother’s Letter of Love

  • Seeing the smiles on Gisel Mendoza, the 7 year old child I sponsor in Bolivia, puts smiles on my face as well. It is always good to know that the money I give to Child Fund for her, helps her live a happy life.

  • Cuando un niño es esperado con amor tiene garantizado gran parte de su bienestar físico, social y emocional, el poder de su aceptación, de los sentimientos de la madre hacia él son fundamentales para su nutrición, su desarrollo y permiten un nacimiento óptimo, con seguridad que Nicolás y Antonio gozan de plena salud y que el vínculo madre-niño es muy fuerte. Felicidades por el trabajo! y a seguir motivando una “dulce espera”

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