On blankets and by candlelight: having a child in war

Imagine you are pregnant - or your wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter - and there is no water, no electricity.

On blankets and by candlelight: having a child in war

Imagine you are pregnant - or your wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter - and there is no water, no electricity. No security. No normality. And then bombs hit. The same happened to Anna Timochenko.

"On February 24, 2022, all of our lives changed forever," says Anna Timochenko in a self-made video on Facebook. "I'm 21 years old. I've been living with my husband and my older brother in the city of Bucha, in the Kyiv region, for six months. Two weeks before my baby was born, the war started."

Butscha - the name stands for horror par excellence. After the withdrawal of Russian troops, hundreds of bodies were found there. The true extent of human suffering in the besieged cities will only become fully apparent in the future. "I don't think we have any idea what else we'll see there. Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka and Hostomel are just the tip of the iceberg," says a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders. To have a child in this madness - unimaginable.

Because being pregnant is basically a beautiful state. What hope lies in it - the hope of a wonderful life with a child, which is usually the product of a great love. The couple is happy, they know that a lot will change in life. However, those who found out in autumn that they were pregnant probably did not expect a war. At the time, you must have asked yourself whether it was going to be a boy or a girl, and: "It doesn't matter, the main thing is healthy." They will have adapted their jobs and homes to the big event.

"Bukha was shot at from the first days," says Anna, telling us her story about the organization

Anna doesn't know if the doctor is still alive, but she initially had other worries: she had to give birth to her child at home. "Thank God my neighbors came to help me, I'm so grateful to them! I never thought that my neighbors, who I hadn't had any contact with before, would help me so much."

One of the neighbors is a therapist, which means there is someone with a certain medical background. "During the birth of my child, she tried to remember everything she had been taught at university," says Anna. The walls and windows are shaking, there is no electricity, no water and no gas. Anna's child is born by candlelight. Instead of being in a delivery room, Anna lies on blankets on the floor, wet wipes provided a minimal touch of hygiene.

Imagine - if you are a woman - the worries you had when you had your child: will it be healthy, will we both survive the birth ok? And yes, everything probably went well, because you were surrounded by state-of-the-art technology, a midwife and comprehensive hygiene. As a future father, you wanted to support your wife and experience the child from the first second. They made a nest. A nest of safety, warmth and love. Well, there is no lack of love even in the darkest of times, but the rest is. "When our little girl was born on March 8th and the umbilical cord was cut, everyone cried a lot," says Anna, "and we were very curious about the weight and height of the baby. Unfortunately, we didn't have a baby scale or a ruler ."

Anna tells how her child's father stood on the scales, first alone, then with the baby: the difference is the baby's weight. On the day she was born, little Alice weighed 3600 grams and was 49 centimeters tall, measured with a ruler. "We imagined it all differently, but we made the best of it. We succeeded," says Anna, relieved.

Anna and her family are together - they will not give up: "Our people are very kind. I am very grateful to our neighbors for their help, especially my neighbor, the therapist. Thanks to these people, our little girl was born." How it goes on? "We are a strong nation. I believe in our victory. Glory to Ukraine!"


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