Like most women coming to the end of a pregnancy, Kawthar is nervous about giving birth. But Kawthar has more reason than most to be nervous.
A Syrian refugee in Jordan, Kawthar has recently been told that funding for maternity care for refugees has run out, and with a history of miscarriage, it is highly likely that she will need hospital care.
“I don’t know how I will cope with the cost of birth. I am nervous because I am not ready,” she said. “I have nothing for the baby. I’m just hoping somebody will help.”
She and her husband Mamdooh married in September 2013. Both from Syria, they met in Jordan. Mamdooh had seen Kawthar and went to her mother to ask for permission to marry her. Kawthar first saw Mamdooh on their engagement day. In that moment, she knew she wanted to marry him.
Unable to afford a big wedding celebration, their wedding was simple. She then moved from her house with her parents and 12 siblings to Mamdooh’s house.
“This house has problems. The walls are crumbling and the ceiling leaks. We have not paid rent for three months and have begged the landlord to give us time. He has agreed. He is a good man.”
Kawthar spends her days doing housework in their small barely-furnished home and looking after Shahed, who is Mamdooh’s two-year-old daughter from his first marriage. She has recently been drying camomile after hearing it could help her during her labour.
Kawthar has been told she is carrying a girl. Mamdooh and Kawthar, both 26, plan to call her Shaima, which means ‘all that is good’. They have managed to save a little money to buy goods for the new-born baby, and have spent 15JD (about GBP £13 or USD $21) on a few clothes but cannot afford anything more. They have no money for a cot, for milk, or for nappies.
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