What a crazy week at Birth Behind Bars....two babies, one false alarm, and two classes taught at two different jails!
Today was an especially hard day. Sydnie Arnold and Brittany Johnson met with two new pregnant inmates. They were both quiet and reserved as some of them are the first time meeting us. One of them is pregnant with her 4th child, due in December, and will most likely still be there when she delivers. She volunteered that one of her other children is in foster care, but didn't say where the others were. The other is pregnant with her first child and did have questions for us about pregnancy and childbirth. She is not due until February and probably (hopefully for her) won't be incarcerated by then.
I went to medical to see the two postpartum inmates and to speak with the one that is due on 10/16/11. She was able to meet with the two who just delivered at the same time, which was a blessing for the new moms...They were able to share their birth stories and memories of their babies, as well as to talk about how hard it was to leave them and be at the jail without them. Many tears and smiles were shared and the dialogue was healing to both of them. I encouraged them to use this bond and these emotions that they have in common to continue to cope until they are with their babies again.
With tears in her eyes, the inmate that is due soon came to meet me. She is still having pain and still worried about her baby and delivering her while she was in jail. She is still not eating or drinking. They talked through the tears and made a plan to be proactive in case she did deliver while there, and to make arrangements for where she wants her baby to go, to do what she can to lessen the amount of time she may have to serve, and to set goals for her future with her children. I also asked her to promise that she would think about her baby, if not herself, and make herself eat and drink to nourish her baby. She promised that she would try...Sometimes that is the best we can hope for. We try our best to not only listen, but to understand what they are feeling, thinking. But in the end, we get to go home and they are left there with their thoughts and fears.