Shanti Uganda Project Coordinator, Trine Rasmussen talks to sisters Harriet and Justine about how they support each other as birth partners.
Harriet is 28 years and just gave birth to her second baby Sunday night at Shanti, a baby boy- 2.9 kilo. Her birth partner was her younger sister Justine, who is 26 years, mother of Gladys age 2 and 5 months pregnant with her second child.
Harriet, please tell me why you decided to ask your sister to be your birth partner;
Justine and I have always been close, growing up together, and now living 10 minutes from each other. During my pregnancy Justine has been by my side, going with me to my antenatal appointments, helping me plan and shop for the baby.
Harriet, what did it mean for you to have your sister as your birth partner?
Justine has been a great support emotionally and keeping me company for all my appointments. When my labor started in the evening, I called Justine and she came and helped get me to Shanti. During my birth, she stood by my side, encouraged me, gave me water and food. When I was feeling pain she told me to breathe and she held my hand. I was happy to have my sister by my side because I really needed her support and it was a great moment to share with her. She has been with me since I have given birth and she helped to cook and clean and sometimes she will watch my baby, so I can rest.
Justine, please tell me why you decided to be your sister’s birth partner
I am a mom myself and now 5 months pregnant and I understand how it is to be pregnant and give birth. It was therefore natural for me to assist my sister. We have kids the same age, and now we are also pregnant at the same time. We went for antenatal appointments together as well as yoga, and I have therefore been a part of the whole pregnancy.
Justine, what was your role as birth partner?
It was important for me to support my sister emotionally, sometimes it’s hard being pregnant, you feel pain or discomfort and during those times, I had to be by her side and help her through. When Harriet went into labor, she called me and I went to pick her up, and we came here. In the beginning I helped her to walk around, made her tea and encouraged her. During the delivery, I made sure to hold her hand to encourage her despite the pain. After she gave birth I cooked her some food and I washed her clothes. I also stayed the night with her because I wanted to be around if she needed me. I’m going to stay here and we will go home together.
Harriet is also going to be my birth partner when I give birth in 4 months.