In our workshops, we discussed the differences between Aghanistan, Syria, Egypt and the UK. Lots of the places the women had lived in had very high maternal mortality rates, and they highlighted some big advantages to giving birth here. But, of course, it can also be scary to give birth in a place very far from home, and some didn’t find this easy at all.
One difference was the amount of sex education for children. One woman described:
"In our schools, Islamic schools, they never mention anything about ... like ... in year 6 in this country, children knows everything about period, about married women, what happens pregnancy. They don’t know ... like ... children think that they buy the baby from a shop. They say ... well ... they are coming from my mum but, a baby. So, they are joking, they never mention about it.
She also added that overall...:
"I think 90% better than my country because people don’t get much support over there. They just go to hospital, wait. Mens are not allowed into that room. So, they are alone by themselves with a nurse. If they scream or shout because of too much pain, the nurses will shout on them and swear on them, and slap them … like … to make them cry. So, it’s really, really rude."
But it wasn’t all positive. She remembered that the lack of interpreter made her first experience of childbirth a very negative one, as she didn’t know what was happening:
"I didn’t know because they didn’t book an interpreter for me. They didn’t explain it afterwards. I didn’t get much support. So, it will stay ... this memory will stay all my life but I think it’s really, really important."
But, overall, the women felt that they preferred experiencing birth in Britain. Some remembered that:
"even in Afghanistan, now, doctors and nurses are not really kind."
"They shout, they are frightening with you. If you are in pain ... I mean ... that’s so strange if you are having a very bad issue."
And some women in Afghanistan didn’t have access to healthcare:
"when they are living in a village, far away from the capital, there is no hospital. Many, many ladies are dying during the getting to hospital. So, it’s bad situation, even now. They’re not allowed to go to hospital or seek help because there is no doctor or nothing."