In 2009 (I could not find a more recent study) Honduras was listed as having the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Central America. 30% of all mothers right now are under the age of 18, and in rural areas the pregnancy rate is as high as 19.5%. Why am a so concerned about this? I experienced what this means to the baby first hand a couple weeks ago. Many of you have read about Maritza and have been praying for her. When she left our house in January she had just gotten pregnant by her boyfriend who was in his thirties. He left her soon after and she moved home to live with her 10 brothers and sisters, one niece and her parents. Two weeks before her due date she came and ask for money to buy things for the baby. Her parents have no money, since neither of them work. I ask her to make a list of what she needed and then I purchased the bare necessities: 1 pair of pajamas, 2 shirts, 2 pants, blankets, cloth diapers and pins, rags for wipes and diaper rash cream. I cried as I purchased them knowing that this was all the baby had to his name and I had bought that much for my kids the first month that I was pregnant. She called again when she went to the hospital to have the baby and ask if I would visit her. I was shocked by the maternity ward. There were 2 women per twin bed- 8 to a room and 3 rooms with that many women. It was one of the most disgusting places I have ever been. Windows were open with no screens so flies covered the sick and the babies, there was mold everywhere and a loud cat was making its way down the hall. As I talked with her she said her mom would not be coming to the hospital because she had too much to do at home. Maritza was scared and nervous and asked me to come back that evening. When I returned I brought shampoo, conditioner, soap and a towel as the hospital does not provide any of that and Martiza did not have the foresight to bring things with her. I continued to visit her the 4 days she was in the hospital while she waited to give birth. The doctors admitted her to induce since she was 2 weeks over due, but she had not heard back from them so she just laid there waiting. After a week, one of the doctors called and said she had been induced and would be having the baby soon. When I went the next day to check on her I was even more shocked. I held Maritza’s healthy baby boy while she took a shower. Next to her in bed was a young girl who was trying to clean her baby with a cotton ball. She then wrapped the baby back up in the same blanket it had pooped in because she didn’t have another nor did she have diapers or wipes. I then checked Martiza’s baby closer. It was wrapped in a sheet from her bed… no clothes, no diaper, nor had he been bathed after birth. I asked where his clothes were and she forgot to bring them. What is his name? We don’t know, she hasn’t made up her mind so for now it is just Baby. I will never understand a society that does not think enough in advance to take care of their children, give them a name or better yet, not have a child if they have no way to provide. Maritza is not alone in this lack of planning and immaturity. I cried almost everyday when I left the hospital because of how depressing it was. I watched mothers expressionless faces nurse their babies and hand them back to the nurses. It was so different from the joy in faces of new mothers in the US. There was no talk of how cute or sweet their baby was, or what they would become as they got older. No, none of that because there is little hope for the future of the children here. They are born into poverty, will be raised in poverty by teenage mothers and no fathers, and will then have children of their own as teenagers. Please pray for this nation of fatherless children and young mothers.
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