25 November, 2020

Mudpond Blooms

Witness the persistence of life—where surviving birth itself is a battle half-won

T. Narayan
Mudpond Blooms
They didn’t die being born. By just being able to struggle their way out of the womb, this ungainly, underweight pair of twins outlived overwhelming odds. To emerge into our world, our country. A tiny girl and a tinier boy, howling their resolve to live, to thrive.

We are there to hear their cries. The moans of their frail mother, Shanti Lata Sahu, as she whines weakly through 17 hours of labour. Her shrill screams as she writhes in the delivery room. Her helpless shrieks as the pain tears through her. We hear the doctors who doubt whether both the twins will live. The nurses who cluck in worry each time the stethoscope prods Shanti’s bloated stomach, striving to pick up the heartbeat of either foetus: "The babies are small, the mother’s weak. Undernourished anaemic mothers giving birth to dead or dying babies is common here..."

Here, in Orissa. Where the infant mortality rate has been the highest in India for over two decades, where nine out of every 100 children still die during or within 12 months of birth according to the latest Sample Registration System...



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