Comfort is not a soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.
Rosenie five hours after giving birth, reading her Bible in postpartum...
Rosenie stayed with us a little over 48 hours. We took her to her home on Saturday afternoon.
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Arrival at Rosenie's home ...
Looking back toward Port au Prince (and the ambulance you all helped us buy!) from her house...
"We will never become the people of hope and blessing
we're meant to be until we learn how to wake up and
pay attention to the glory and pain,
beauty and suffering that are in lives all around us."
The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love
Prayer for their family and prayers of thanksgiving for a healthy, safe delivery.
Rosenie's husband had to work and couldn't join us.
(Below -L to R - Carline and daughter Wilna, Lydia, Rosenie, Emma, Baleline and son)
Carline delivered two weeks ago and has needed to stay for nursing encouragement and support, Emma is pregnant and living at the Maternity Center until she delivers because she lives in a rough area. She worried she would not be able to leave to come to us if she went into labor in the night. Baleline is a young Mom that delivered 4 weeks early and stayed in postpartum longer due to her small baby. They all came on the ride outside of the city to bring Rosenie home. It was a fun field trip that boosted morale for all of us.
Driving back to Port au Prince - something is very hilarious...
We all attempt to know one another better throughout the entire program and process. During intake, prenatal care, class time, labor, delivery, and postpartum care, we slowly build relationships.
Back in the first year of doing this, it used to be intimidating to me to wind deep into neighborhoods uncertain if I'd ever find my way out. I remember averting the job of discharging and transporting in the beginning, leaving it to others whenever possible. Avoiding visiting their homes saved my heart from pain. At times their suffering and living situations are difficult to see. Truth be told, it is much easier not to see it up close.
Something changed once I recognized that sorrow and joy and pain and triumph all constantly dance together. They are a paradox far too intertwined to experience one without the other.
While it might bring a measure of heaviness, I now know what an honor it is to be on their turf, to see and experience life sitting in their chairs, in their homes.
It can be culturally and socially awkward, but as we sit there all fidgety and unsure and we are willing to be a bit uncomfortable together and allow that awkwardness, it almost always builds trust.
Part of what we hope to do during our time with the women that pass through the programs is to offer them an unusual comfort and kindness. Bringing them home, instead of having them take crowded public transportation is one way we can love and comfort them.
The word comfort is from two Latin words that mean "with" and "strong". God is with these women and He makes them strong. He is with us and He makes us strong. Amy Carmichael said, "Comfort is not a soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love." I hope that sort of comfort is what Haitian women are experiencing as they are brought home after giving birth.
Other posts about going home ...
All Photos courtesy of Jenny Duhm