Rahma’s Journey: Navigating Pregnancy Amidst Hardship in Gaza

Foreign Policy Brief #135 | By: Aziza Taslaq | April 05, 2024
Featured Photo: www.middleeastmonitor.com

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In Gaza, life resembles a relentless uphill climb, especially for soon-to-be mothers like Rahma, who, at seven months pregnant, faces each day as if scaling a mountain. Rahma, a 25-year-old resident of Khan Younes, confronts the formidable challenges of pregnancy amidst the turmoil of Gaza. This marks her first pregnancy, with no prior experience of motherhood. Compounded by the uncertainty surrounding her husband’s whereabouts as a civil defense member, Rahma finds solace amidst the rubble with her mother, two sisters, and a young brother in Rafah. Their familial bond serves as a beacon of hope amidst the destruction wrought by an Israeli airstrike, which razed not only their home but also that of Rahma’s husband’s family.

First off, there’s not enough food to go around. Rahma finds it really tough to get her hands on good, nutritious food that she and her little one need. Vitamins? Forget about it. And during Ramadan, when she’s fasting, it’s even harder. It’s like trying to run a marathon without proper fuel. Clean water is also hard to come by, which makes things even trickier.

On top of all that, Rahma can’t even get the important medical tests she needs to make sure her baby is healthy. Imagine not being able to see a doctor when you’re worried about your little one! It’s because the hospitals don’t have the right tools. So, she’s left feeling really anxious about any problems that might pop up during her pregnancy. Plus, her body aches all over, but she can’t get the treatment she needs to feel better.

Looking ahead, Rahma faces additional challenges in the process of giving birth and feeding her newborn. With no access to hospitals, Rahma is uncertain about how she will navigate childbirth. The traditional method, involving the assistance of a “Dayeh” at home, may be her only option, adding to her anxiety about the safety and well-being of herself and her baby. Furthermore, the scarcity of food in Gaza presents obstacles to breastfeeding, raising concerns about how Rahma will nourish her newborn. While she may seek assistance from charities for formula milk, the availability and accessibility of such support remains uncertain.

But it’s not just the physical stuff that’s weighing Rahma down. The constant fear of violence and not knowing what’s going to happen next is really tough on her mind. She’s always worrying about how she’s going to keep her baby safe in such a dangerous place. Seeing all the scary stuff that happens during wars has left her feeling really scared and unsure about the future.

Rahma’s not alone in all this. There are lots of other moms-to-be in Gaza going through the same struggles. Can you believe that over 52 thousand women are in danger? That’s a lot of moms facing the same tough times, but even in the darkest of days, Rahma finds strength in her community. They stick together and help each other out, which gives her hope that she can make it through this tough time.

Rahma’s journey is a reminder that even when things seem really hard, there’s always hope. She’s like a shining light in the darkness, showing us that even in the toughest times, people can find strength and keep going. She’s a real hero for all the moms out there facing tough times.

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