Please help keep hope alive for mothers, like Faith in Nigeria, living with the life-long smell, shame and isolation of obstetric fistula!
“…she forgets the anguish because of her joy…” – Jesus, in John 16:21
Life is challenging for so many New Zealanders right now. Each week at our staff devotions we pray a blessing over you and your loved ones, and pray for people who are experiencing hardship all over our country, as well as for those we serve overseas.
If you have a prayer request, please let us know. We’d love to include you and your loved ones in our devotions.
This month, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, we remember a group of mothers who have lost their hope, due to the life-long smell, shame and isolation of obstetric fistula.
Faith, in Nigeria, was one of these mothers. Every day she faced the living nightmare of constantly leaking bodily waste, due to the traumatic birth of her precious baby boy.
Today, please help restore the dignity of mothers, like Faith, by sending your generous gift for obstetric fistula.
Do you see what it says on Faith’s shirt? “Work hard. Dream big.” Faith’s big dream was to learn cake baking and event planning, to support herself and her family. But that dream was shattered when she developed obstetric fistula. For two long years she was shunned, isolated and became utterly depressed.
Despite “dreaming big”, no amount of “work hard” would earn enough money for Faith to pay for her obstetric fistula surgery and wraparound after care.
Please will you prayerfully consider sending a gift to help restore hope and dignity to mothers like Faith.
Faith’s homeland of Nigeria is challenged with some of the world’s worst health conditions for mothers and newborns. For lack of maternal healthcare, more than 13,000 women a year find themselves uncontrollably leaking bodily waste, and living with the life-long smell, shame and isolation of obstetric fistula.
“I felt really helpless,” Faith remembers. After delivering her baby boy, Faith was shocked to discover urine leaking freely from her body. “I thought it would pass, but it continued day after day.”
Without help from people like you, obstetric fistula is a life sentence. When we first began to ask cbm supporters to fund obstetric fistula, many mothers had been leaking urine and bodily waste for 30, 40 or 50 years. Their lives tragically limited by this debilitating health condition.
We praise God for the generous support from people like you, to help restore mothers who have been suffering from obstetric fistula. Because of these faithful gifts, there are far fewer of those decades-long tragedies now as there is greater awareness that mothers living with obstetric fistula can be healed. Many mothers and their families, particularly in cities, now know what obstetric fistula is, and how to seek help.
In Faith’s isolated village though, her family did not understand what had happened. They had no idea that in Faith’s long and arduous labour, her little boy’s head had been crammed too hard for too long against the wall of her birth canal.
The pressure of her baby’s head cut off the blood supply to her thin wall of flesh. The living tissue died, causing a small hole to form. Urine started to leak through, straight from Faith’s bladder into her birth canal. It would not stop. It would never stop.
She tried in vain to keep herself clean – tightly wrapping herself, scrubbing and washing herself until her skin was raw.
Life became very isolating for Faith. Any time she went out, people would instinctively move away from the smell of her urine. Her heart broke every time.
Please help keep hope alive for mothers, like Faith, who cannot afford to have their obstetric fistula surgically repaired.
The generous gift you send will help find mothers hidden in shame and isolation living with obstetric fistula. Your gift will help support life-restoring obstetric fistula surgery, wraparound after care, and help to teach mothers new skills so they can live independently.
Faith put her health at risk, trying to reduce the flow of urine by not drinking water. Mothers who do this become dangerously dehydrated – but to them the infections, constant headaches, joint pain and constipation of being dehydrated, is better than the overwhelming shame and smell of urine.
“I stopped going out,” said Faith.
This is what so many mothers with obstetric fistula are forced to do: isolate themselves from everyone.
Because of this, the first challenge in fighting obstetric fistula is to find these precious mothers and let them know there is help. This is done through publicity campaigns with the cbm-funded partners, Survive Fistula Health Foundation (SFHF) and Vesico Vaginal Fistula Centre (ECWA).
In the cities, cbm-funded SFHF and ECWA use newspapers, radio and community noticeboards to spread the good news of obstetric fistula hope. In remote villages like Faith’s, though, they depend on the ancient Town Crier system, where community messages are broadcast over a loudspeaker for the whole village.
Thankfully, even in her isolated room, Faith could hear the village loudspeaker. That is how she first heard the news of the obstetric fistula ministry you support.
After two years of isolation, Faith’s big dream of freedom from obstetric fistula was reborn. She had doubts of course. It sounded too good to be true. “I was so happy that I might finally find a solution to my trouble, but I did not know what to expect.”
She never expected to find the warm and welcoming wraparound care that was waiting for her a bus ride away, at the cbm-funded SFHF obstetric fistula service operating inside Kwali General Hospital in Yangoji.
The surgery is not complex. But the skills required for this delicate surgery are rare. Your generosity is making it possible for surgeons to come to Kwali, learn, and then take these skills all over Africa to set mothers with obstetric fistula free.
Thanks to the generosity of people like you, Faith received life-changing surgery to restore her hope and dignity. The flow of urine stopped. At last, Faith was able to enjoy drinking water again, without fear of being shunned for her smell.
“I’m happy!” she exclaimed. “I can now drink water – without fear of passing urine with no control.” How wonderful!
Many mothers, like Faith, bear deep mental and emotional wounds because of
the humiliation of uncontrollably seeping bodily waste – but your gifts will help provide counselling and psychological support. It is greatly needed. Obstetric fistula is deeply traumatic.
Faith also needed a practical way to rebuild her life as a mother providing for her son. Thanks to kind people like you, her big dream has come true. She has enrolled in a cake baking and decorating class, and hopes to make a good living as a baker.
“I am thrilled to be learning how to make cakes and snacks. These skills will help me support my son.”
It is a beautiful thing for a woman who was once shunned because of her smell, to regain her standing and dignity in the eyes of her community. It restores her hope and dignity.
Faith now has her life back. For two unbearable years she thought her big dream was gone. Now her face beams and shines with a joyful smile.
This is wonderful news to be celebrated! But right now there are more mothers, like Faith, who are living with the smell, shame and isolation of obstetric fistula.
Please will you prayerfully consider sending a gift to help restore hope and dignity to more mothers like Faith. Here is how your loving kindness can help:
Your gift will help find mothers hidden in shame and isolation living with obstetric fistula. You can help mothers regain their respect and standing, through new and better livelihoods for their families. And your gift will also help support life-restoring obstetric fistula surgery, hospital care and home medicine for mothers, like Faith, to heal.
Your gift will be helping women who haven’t received care for years and years. They cannot earn enough to pay for the surgery they need.
Thank you for being willing to be part of this vital ministry, through sharing your prayers and your blessings so generously with heartbroken mothers, like Faith, who have been suffering from the smell, shame and isolation of obstetric fistula. Please prayerfully consider sending a generous gift for mothers, like Faith, today.
What a difference in Faith’s photographs, before and after surgery. This is the precious impact of the ministry in obstetric fistula care. Please send your generous gift today to help find mothers hidden in shame, so they can regain their respect and standing, through new and better livelihoods for their families. Your gift will help support life-restoring obstetric fistula surgery, hospital care and home medicine for mothers, like Faith, to heal. Thank you for your kind and caring heart.