Zhubkabai feeding her grandson, Krishna
Zhubkabai feeding her grandson, Krishna

How Sorrow United This Aurangabad Family

Young Krishna’s mother died of sickle-cell anaemia within a week of his birth. This is his grandmother’s story

‘My daughter-in-law had sickle-cell anaemia. Doctors advised her to not get pregnant. But she insisted on delivering the baby. One day I sat her side, and asked her to think again about this decision, but she was reluctant. We continued with her decision’

There were pangs of sorrow and grief in Zhubkabai Maher’s voice as she continued her story about her daughter in law. Maher lives in a small town in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra.

‘After Savita got pregnant, we took the utmost care of her. During the Home visits, Anganwadi Tai, Ranjana Sheggan gave us a lot of information on how we should take better care of Savita. Finally my grandson Krishna was born. ‘But after an hour of delivery, Savita started to get fits. She was treated at the Valley Hospital. Doctors described her health as worrying and advised us to take Krishnato home, leaving Savita in hospital for medication. How would the child live without his mother? I was in a lot of worry ” she continued

‘Ranjana Tai taught me to use milk powder and feed the little child with a spoon. Somehow I managed to take care of Krishna, but seven days after his birth, a black day in our life arrived when Savita ceased to exist. Our family was immersed in sorrow. Krishna couldn't even see his mother for 2 days.”

‘But I had to buck up to provide a healthy childhood for Krishna. I gave him powdered milk. With the help of the Anganwadi worker didi, all the recommended immunization age-wise was given to Krishna. Six months later, we started giving him supplementary food. Today, he is one year old and weighs 5 kg. He is a healthy child ’

However, “After Savita’s death, there was a lot of gloom in the family. Krishna’s father remained sad. He hardly saw Krishna, but Anganwadi Tai told us that if the home environment was not happy, it would harm Krishna’s growth and development’

During one house visit, the Anganwadi Tai informed Zhubkabai Maher about child care. “Gradually, my family members too began to realize the importance of play and communication. Since then, all the men in the household, his father, grandfather, and uncle have paid close attention to him. They play with him, interact, and take him around,’ she said. The ‘ICDS Supervisor Mrs. Madam, Anita Kodgaonkar also visited the house, and provided useful information about the overall development of children. She explained to us the scientific reasons for playing with a baby.

“I have changed a lot now. Now I am Krishna's mother first and then grandmother. His father spends a lot of time with him. At dinner, he feeds Krishna and grabs his attention through songs. He always interacts with him while eating, bathing, and playing. The atmosphere in the house is now happier. Krishna's growth and development are getting better now and we will always take full care of him. The love for this child has brought our family out of the sadness’, she concludes.

Courtesy UNICEF India.