Triplets Stella, Eunice and Joseph each weighed about 2lbs at birth. Their parents were already struggling at the edge of survival and now suddenly there were three additional children to feed. It was not uncommon that an entire day would pass with no food. Life -which involved fetching water, washing clothes by hand, and farming with hand tools – demanded great daily physical exertion regardless of the fuel or lack there of in their bellies.
As a midwife in the US, I often have patients tell me they struggle to produce enough milk for their babies. Here, with well nourished patients, we talk about reducing stress, increasing the frequency of feeds and/or breast stimulation; and we talk about specific foods that may help increase supply. Here this support and advice works at times, and at times women start slowly supplementing with formula and eventually stop breastfeeding all together. Women may experience anxiety, guilt or frustration at times, but there is always a way to sustain the life of the baby. In the case of Elizabeth, her body was being pushed to its physical limits on a daily basis in multiple ways. Though the milk any woman produces is always beneficial for her children, the volume Elizabeth produced could not adequately sustain her triplets. Without Joyful Motherhood, she would not be able to purchase the formula needed to supplement her babies.
Joyful Motherhood enrolled the babies bringing supplemental formula and encouraging Elizabeth as she continued to nurse. And yet, for months their weights hovered below 5lbs. At six months of age they added the enriched porridge brought by Joyful Motherhood to their diet and finally they began to gain weight steadily. They are now 13months old, two of the three are walking. Stella weighs 15lbs, Eunice weighs 15.5lbs and Joseph weighs 19lbs.