by Crystal Meeks
The other day I met an elderly lady in her 70s from Bugnay who explained to me how times are changing.
She said in her day, the women were strong and they would give birth in the rice fields, tie the babies to their backs and keep on working. She stated that now-a-days the women are lazy. She said that now, when the women get pregnant they stop working. I needed her to define “work” because I have never seen any Butbut sitting idly. They are always cooking, washing clothes and dishes, pounding rice and chasing after their children. According to the old lady, in her day, women worked much harder.
So I asked, “Do you think it was better in your time and the clinic here is not effective because the women should be strong enough to deliver without a midwife?” She grabbed my arm and prepared to correct me, “Oh no Crystal! We thank God for the clinic!” She continued to explain that before, they didn’t cut a woman’s stomach to get a baby out and that she didn’t like that many women do that now. I agreed with her that I didn’t like that either. She continued, “But at the clinic you let them try to deliver normal and if you think it’s better, you take them to the hospital to have their stomach’s cut and Crystal, even if they have to cut their stomachs when they come home they still have a live baby.”
The next statement I asked a few times to make sure I’d translated it properly. My mouth gaped open when she informed me that she gave birth to 13 children but only three lived past their first year of life. She shared she would have been willing to have her stomach cut also if it meant more of her children would have lived. Our conversation was a reminder of our effectiveness here in Bugnay. My favorite part of the conversation was that she didn’t thank me or the other midwives but rather expressed all her gratitude to the one that deserved all the credit…Our Heavenly Father.