Harikala faces motherhood with a stronger mindset

Friday 2 July 2021

Harikala had difficult first pregnancy and postpartum, and hence was apprehensive about having another baby. Her husband and family however wanted a second child. During her first baby, she did not know what to expect and how to deal with the changes. She was not prepared for the pregnancy, the birth, and the period after that. “I knew nothing regarding pregnancy, antenatal check-ups, nutrition and preparedness. I was a mother before I knew and an unexperienced, unhappy one,” says Harikala. 

She gave birth to her daughter at the age of 18. Now, at 25, she recalls how painful the experience was. She also compares and notices the difference between her first and second pregnancy. “I was more informed and confident when I was pregnant with the second child. I knew about the changes I would experience during pregnancy and after the birth of child. I knew about nutrition and care needed. I had learnt these things in detail in the HTNYP (Healthy Transition for Nepali Youth Project) group sessions’, shares Harikala.

It was a whole different experience for her. Her son was 3.5 kg during birth while her first child was hardly 2 kg. “I never knew pregnancy, childbirth and childcare things could be fun. I am happy that I could experience this side of motherhood,” Harikala shares her excitement. She thinks the sessions were a boon to her. Now, she has a healthy two-year old. With the knowledge of nutrition for both child and the new mother, she is healthy as well and does not feel the weakness as she did when she gave birth to her first child. She takes her child for regular check-ups and vaccination.

Harikala found the fortnightly group sessions so useful that she bought a radio set just to listen to them. After COVID-19 pandemic, the sessions were adapted into radio dramas and as her mobile phone did not support radio, she bought a new radio set and continued her learning. The sessions did not only alleviate her fear of pregnancy and childbirth but also made her better prepared for pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and family planning. “I wish all the young girls and new mothers would have access to the information that I have now, and no one ever would have to go through the fear and insecurities that I had to bear when I was pregnant with my first child,” Harikala shares her hopes. Through fortnightly group sessions, HTNYP has reached 15697 adolescent girls and young women.