Representational Image Alokita Jha

A Cheerful Heart Is A Good Medicine

How a visit to an Angawadi centre transformed Anita Suresh Pawar’s life

Sangeeta Kale, Lokesh Tamgire | Feb 23, 2021

Nagapur is a remote village in Kannad Taluka, Aurangabad. Although Nagapur is not far from the taluka, it is difficult to reach through dense Gautala Sanctuary via poor roads.

During the Monsoons, the situation is much worse’, said Anita Suresh Pawar who belongs to the Bhil tribal community in the village

She says ‘Now a happy family, we've been in a delicate situation a few days back. I had become pregnant for the second time when my eldest son was just four years old. But as they say we all are connected and there’s a little we can achieve without the help and talent of others. And thus when Sangeeta Kale, a very supportive and sympathetic Anganwadi Tai of our village, found out about my pregnancy during a home visit, she helped me register with the Anganwadi Service. I was called in for routine maternity check-ups.’

‘But then one day I became profoundly concerned as I heard that my weight was just 37 kilograms. My low weight was really dangerous to my child in the womb. When the Anganwadi Tai visited my home, she was really dismayed to find out about my improper diet and how I was the only one doing all the domestic chores. She got really worried when I told her that my husband was an alcoholic. The stressful environment at home had immensely affected my health condition.’

‘Then one-day Anganwadi Tai and Asha Sevika called me to the mother's meeting with my mother-in-law. We began attending the mother's meeting on a regular basis. I was mesmerized to see that mothers actually took part in the games and activities.'

'With the help of information received at the Mothers Meeting, my mother-in-law also took care of me. I started taking iron and calcium pills on a regular basis, and I also took vaccinations, monitored my weight, BP, and had blood and urine tests. Mothers meeting and home visits increased our awareness of taking better care during pregnancy. Later, after the advice of Anganwadi helper, my husband stopped consuming liquor. Fruits, beans, milk and other healthy food items were included in my diet. The atmosphere of the house finally appeared to be much more pleasurable. As a result, my weight started to increase. I gave birth to a 4.5 kg healthy baby. It was a good end to a difficult journey of 6 months. But only half of the stage had passed. And my family had to put all the efforts for my post-natal care’.

‘Now we receive regular information through ASHA and Anganwadi workers about the care my family can provide after the birth of the baby. She told us that exclusive breastfeeding, vaccination, hygiene are important for the well-being of the baby. I was also given new and very useful information about the baby’s brain. The growth and development of the brain occur very quickly in the first two years. Playing and interacting with the baby along with a proper diet is helpful for brain development. My family is responsive to all the information received. I interact with the baby while breastfeeding or while doing any other work.'

‘My husband is also very much involved. My mother-in-law is especially very enthusiastic to make play items at home. She made colourful birds from a clean cloth and tied it to the baby’s swing cradle. Now Mayuri looks at the sparrows, raises her hand to catch them, and gives a pleasant smile every time she looks at them.'

‘This slow change in our family is due to our motivation to always lead a happy life. We should know that a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Therefore, we all must understand that an enjoyable environment at home makes the journey of life easy for a child’ Anita concluded.

Translated by: Alokita Jha

Courtesy: Unicef India