Seven months pregnant with her second child, no one was expecting Madalitso Cosmas’s mother to go into labor so soon. Her labor pains began after she had suddenly become very ill, but the symptoms of severe headache, confusion, and delerium made it impossible for her call for help. Despite this, she delivered a tiny but healthy son in her home, by herself. She began to lose consciousness shortly after the delivery.
Realizing her daughter had just given birth, Madalitso’s grandmother, Queen, made the difficult choice to leave her sick, now unconscious daughter and take her newest grandson immediately to the hospital. Weighing 1100 grams (2.4 pounds) at birth, little Madalitso was entered into the kangaroo care nursing unit with Queen. Queen later learned that her daughter, Madalitso’s mother, never regained consciousness and died the next day. She was now the caretaker for little Madalitso and his 3 year old sister.
Madalitso’s weight went up and down, but after just under two months in the hospital, he and his grandmother were allowed to go home. Joyful Motherhood first visited the family at home 3 days later and found a small but thriving baby. Madalitso had already gained 200 grams since his discharge, bringing him up to 1700 grams (4.3 pounds). Queen received formula, porridge, information and encouragement on how to care for her small charge.
With continued support and education from the nurses of Joyful Motherhood, Madalitso was discharged at the age of 1 year, at the weight of 7 kg. Beatrice says of Madalitso Cosmas: ‘’Now [he] can walk; [He’s] a big boy now. This is one of our successful stories. The grandmother, the chief, the community; they are so grateful for the help JM gave to this baby and they always say that they could not make it without the food, the care, the educative topics we have been teaching them.’’