In a foreign place all alone

How will you feel if you are all alone in a foreign country/state or place, as a new mother with a child who is very ill? Whom do you turn to? Who is going to quell your worries? No one can tell you what the future holds, no one can guarantee you whether your child is going to be ok. You won’t get any home-cooked meals or warm smiles from you loved ones. Then, there are mothers whom had stayed for months and years in the hospital. Some mothers watched in despair as their child is slowly slipping away. That is what some of the mothers we met in UMMC faced.

The members from MyMomsBest who visited UMMC had never set foot in the children intensive care unit or been to the cancer wards. Therefore, we were overcome with a lot of emotions and overwhelmed with the kind of situations the children were in. Though our mission was there to distribute the gifts, we spent several hours comforting some of these mothers, hugging them, listening to their predicament and just being there for them.

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One of the mother there is an Indonesian nationality. She doesn’t speak much but we can see the distraught look on her face as her baby was just born and was ill. Being a breastfeeding support group, we were very pleased to see how adept she was at breastfeeding her baby. Note that breastfeeding provides better chances of survival to an ill baby. And many of these mothers who are from very low income group cannot afford to buy formula milk. Some resorted to diluting the formula, some mixing rice flour to thicken the milk. All these can make a baby severely ill and has long term effects on their health. Therefore, breastfeeding is the safest choice.

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While we were there, we managed to spend some time with Kah Shin who is baby Ryan’s mom. Sadly, baby Ryan passed away this January. However, Kah Shin is one special woman. She is actively involved in this year project.

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This new mother is from Sabah. Her newborn baby was warded at the ICU and she was all alone as her family members including her husband weren’t there. (if I remember correctly, she gave birth earlier than expected) The Head of Consultant, Prof. Lucy Lum was pleased to see us and asked us to console her. Dr. Ros, Ninuk and all of us provided her some sisterly support and helped her by providing tips on how to express milk for her baby. (MyMomsBest had earlier donated a unit of hospital grade breast-pump to UMMC PICU ward.)

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Some of the wards have children who were less ill, i.e. active and playful. Therefore, our visit together with reporters and photographers from The Star and Berita Harian brought a lot of smiles and cheers to these children. This year, we are hoping to engage clowns to entertain the children in these wards.

**All the above patients/caregiver who were photographed had given their written consent to the UMMC Admin. Department.**

Please drop a gift for the mothers? Info at the top of this blog.

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