May 11, 2012 | The Editors

Oh, baby! Stories from moms the world over

In the early-morning hours after my daughter Naya’s birth, I was jolted awake by crying. As I rubbed sleep from my eyes, a nurse plucked the baby from her hospital crib, handed her to me, and encouraged me to feed and soothe her.

Over the next two days, that nurse and others showed my husband and me how to support Naya’s wobbly head, bathe her, even strap her into her car seat. Their experience and information helped me navigate my new role as a mom.

Good information and great support are crucial to moms and babies whether they live in Seattle, in Nairobi, or in the tiny village of Devpuri, India. In Devpuri, and in hundreds of villages and urban slums in India, our Sure Start project has helped millions of families navigate childbirth and get off to a healthy start. You can see some of their stories in our new special web feature.

In the meantime, we asked some PATH colleagues about becoming moms. We invite you to read about them, and then to tell us about your own experiences on Facebook and Twitter. Happy Mother’s Day!

Chocolate again proves its worth

Four-year-old with shoulder-length hair and bangs stands behind little sister, who has a toy and a serious expression.
Jane, 4½, and Olivia, 22 months, daughters of Yuan Yuan. Photo: courtesy of Yuan Yuan.

Yuan Yuan, project administrator in Beijing, and mother of Jane (Ma Yuan Zhen), 4½, and Olivia (Ma Yuan Qing), 22 months:

How did you learn to care for your first baby? Mostly from, which is a great website for parenting.

During my labor, I could not have done without: Chocolate. I restricted my chocolate intake during pregnancy, so it was my moral support during labor.

During my daughter’s first weeks of life, I relied on: My husband and my parents. My parents provided me with nutritious food. My husband was always there when I was too sleepy to hold Jane and soothe her at night. She cried quite a lot during the first month.

“Is she here yet?”

Alice Muthoni, administrative officer in Nairobi, and mother of Nina, 5, and Amanda, 2:

How did you get to the hospital for Amanda’s birth? My friend Maggie drove me from the office. It was my last day in the office and my labor started before I finished handing over my work.

During labor and birth, my support was: My family, Maggie, and my doctor, who stayed with me throughout. My sister walked with me and rubbed my back while the doctor made sure my labor and birth progressed well. The rest kept calling and asking, “Is she here yet?”

Prepared for everything

Haryoli Soza, program assistant in Managua, and mother of Ernesto, 3:

Smiling young mother holds baby boy with big brown eyes.
Haryoli Soza with her son Ernesto, now 3. Photo: courtesy of Haryoli Soza.

How did you get ready for a child? I prepared his room, his crib, clothing, blankets, bottles, everything. For the day he was born, I planned the music…I also got my hair done. I wanted him to see me pretty the first time we met! I made a journal that included the positive pregnancy test result, his ultrasound pictures, and a description of his monthly progress. Now he loves to hear how his life began.

When I look at my son’s first photos: I still can’t believe I’m a mom. It’s been an amazing journey.

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