A terrible childbirth injury, and a stillborn delivery. Ababa was in pain and terrified. She was only 15 years old. When labor began, Ababa spent two days in excruciating pain at home. There was no progress, and she was taken to the local health centre. It was too late: she gave birth to a stillborn child. Traumatized, exhausted and injured, she then discovered she was incontinent. Ababa leaked urine, day and night. The smell was unpleasant.
“I wondered all the time about what I did wrong… I thought it was all my fault. I was so depressed.” As so often happens in these situations, her husband turned her back on her, and she was shunned by family and community: “They all said I was cursed”. She now felt deep despair and shame.
A few months later her luck turned: at a local community gathering, her uncle heard a woman speak about fistula symptoms and treatment. He quickly brought Ababa to WAHA’s Fistula Hospital in Gondar, 80 kms away. Within a few days, she underwent a surgical procedure. The nature of her injury was so serious that so she did not immediately regain full control of her bladder. But after some weeks of physiotherapy, she was able to function normally again. And once more, to smile at what life may have in store for her.
Related work: Maternal Health