Nazeer Bibi, Pakistan - bloedverlies
Throughout her pregnancy, Nazeer worked in the fields with her husband. One day she felt pain and told her husband. He found an ox cart (ossenwagen) to take her to the nearest village for help, but on the way her pain and bleeding were so great that they stopped while local women gathered to help her. They held up cloths to protect her privacy but had no midwifery (verloskundige) training. One woman pressed down on Nazeer's belly with her foot which made her cry out and bleed all the more. Other locals arrived and told her husband that he must send for a trained midwife or Nazeer would die. He refused and told the male worker not to go near his wife.
An hour later Nazeer died under the open sky. All had witnessed this woman lose her life needlessly. Nazeer's baby also died.
Tulasha Shrestha, Nepal - zorg te ver weg
This panel is dedicated to Tulasha Shrestha by her three daughters - Pushpa, Tumsa, and Binjwala - and granddaughter Akriti.
Tulasha is portrayed in the form of a strong tree to symbolize how women are able to withstand the elements of motherhood. Her roots have drops of blood at the tips to symbolize the bleeding Tulasha endured after each of her children was born. Tulasha's braided (gevlochten) hair is symbolized by the bent branches of the tree. The branches hang low as a sign of the delicate situation of a mother who feels helpless and is losing her life. The four heart-shaped leaves represent the love and affection by Tulasha's four surviving children. The leaves have pictures and inscriptions depicting Tulasha's many talents, such as singing, playing musical instruments, crafts and needlework, and writing poetry. The baby at the base of the tree reaches out to its mother, in search of food, love, and comfort.
The backdrop of the panel includes scenes of the Nepalese village Tulasha lived in. The mountains and rural background indicate a lack of access to roads, transportation, and medical services, which ultimately contributed to Tulasha's death while giving birth to her fifth child.
Sunita Shankar Narnavare, India - bloedverlies
I am Sunita Shankar Narnavare. My story is a mirror of my short life, which I spent with my parents, husband, and two and a half year old son, and the death that came for me.
I was born on May 2, 1981, at Wadaki, which is a tribal village in the Yavatmal District of Maharashtra, India. I was the youngest of four children. My parents were farmers and my childhood memories are all of green fields. I studied until the eighth standard at the village government school. At the age of 19, I married Shankar Narnavare, who was a resident of the Anji Village of the Wardha District. I got along well with my new family and neighbors, and they were fond of me. I used to help my husband with farm work after I finished my household chores.
When I was pregnant for the second time, I attended the Bal Suraksha Diwas, which is the maternal and child health day in the village. I also received regular checkups and complete antenatal care (zwangerschapscontroles). My family members made the decision to send me to my parent's village for the baby's birth, which is tradition. After eight months of pregnancy I came to my maternal home and prepared for the delivery. On January 5, 2007, I developed labor pains (weeën) and was seen by a local registered medical practitioner in a nearby village. The doctor tried his best to deliver the baby, but suddenly decided to refer me to the district hospital.
I was in unbearable pain and helpless in this situation. The district hospital was 75 kilometers away and it was extremely difficult to get transportation because it was late at night. With the help of the community members, I did reach the district hospital several hours later in the early morning. Even in a semi-conscious state I was able to deliver my baby normally. I remember when the nurse informed me that I had a baby boy. I was so delighted and wanted to express my happiness but was bleeding profusely and exhausted. My vision was clouding and the fear of death haunted me until I lost all consciousness. I had experienced postpartum hemorrhage (hevig bloedverlies na de bevalling) and it had taken the hospital some time to arrange blood for a transfusion. Even though the doctors tried their best and I received four units of blood, I could not be saved. I saw my life slowly losing to death.” Twenty-five year ‘young' Sunita Shankar Narnavare bid farewell to the world on January 6, 2007. Her newborn son also died the same day.
Sunita's death has been mourned by her community. Her fabric panel was displayed at the Safe Motherhood and Child Survival Campaign that took place in her village and another neighboring village. Community members organized the first Safe Motherhood Days to raise awareness in nearby villages and developed an Emergency Transport Plan in Sunita's memory so that no more women will die in pregnancy or childbirth.