Today's blog comes from ACCI Relief project, Mother's Heart located in Cambodia. Cambodia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the South-East Asia region, with 5 women dying every day during childbirth. More than a third of Cambodian women who die from pregnancy related causes die from unsafe abortions. Mother's Heart is the first and only crisis pregnancy counselling service available in Cambodia.
Today we look at the story of Soklone, a mother of twins, one of the Mother's Heart clients.
Sometimes at Mother’s Heart we get to see our clients long after they are off the books. Soklone called in recently, bearing a basket of fruit for the staff and baby powder as a donation for other clients. What a different woman she has become, confidently in control of her life, assured as a mother and caregiver of her own mum and younger brother.
More than four years ago, Soklone became pregnant after going to a party with some friends.
She’s not sure what happened, either drunk or drugged, but after the party she was pregnant. Her mother was very angry with Soklone. The two of them tried to press charges against the boy who hosted the party, suspecting rape, but dropped the charges when they received threats from the boy’s family. At the same time Soklones’ older brother died. Her mum blamed his death on Soklone, scolding her for being single and pregnant, and bringing bad luck to their family.
The two of them were referred to Mother’s Heart from another organization. Staff helped them find a room close to Mother’s Heart office and helped with food, rent, and medical costs. Soklone delivered two healthy twin girls.
When Soklone began cooking and cleaning training, she was very needy and demanding. She would say, “You have to help me. Can’t you see how hard my life is?!” Stressed at being a single mom, scolded by her family, haunted by suicidal thoughts, she took all her anger, hurt, and frustration out on Mother’s Heart staff – the only people who would listen.
Her social worker patiently listened to all her concerns and problems and kept encouraging her. She taught her how to be a good mum. It took a long time for Soklone to understand that she needed to start taking responsibility for the care of her babies and could not rely on Mother’s Heart for everything.
When Soklone visited, she apologized for her behavior while in our program. She certainly can see now how much Mother’s Heart has helped her. “If it wasn’t for Mother’s Heart I wouldn’t be able to stand today”. Soklone went from solely relying on Mother’s Heart, to taking on the full responsibility of caring for her twins, mother, and younger brother.
Her family is still hard to live with. Despite her support they still call her bad. ‘One day’, they told her, ‘she would end up in hell’. Her tart response was that living with her family was already hell. This is when she calls her social worker for help. She asked, “Am I really a bad person.” Her social worker responded, “Look at how far you have come. You are stronger and are such a good mom. You’re working a good job, your babies are doing so well, and you provide for your entire family. ”
Soklone has been referred to an organization that offers free counselling should she need more support. She also knows she is welcome to visit Mother’s Heart anytime.