What my life would be like if I were…

…a Nicaraguan mother

I would be quarantined in my house for 40 days after giving birth so that no stranger could look at my baby with an “evil eye”.

My baby would wear a red bracelet to ward off any wayward “evil eyes”

During these 40 days I would eat nothing but tortillas and cheese so the baby doesn’t get sick (but, let’s be real, also to lose weight)

I would be a teenager**

I would carry my baby in my arms everywhere I go, even on the bus. Usually people get up and give me a seat.

I would breastfeed wherever I want without feeling immodest. (Unlike in the U.S. as evidenced by this recent tragedy)

I would give my baby a bath in the middle of the market (baby standing and holding onto the back of a plastic chair while I dump bowls of water on him)

My baby would always smells and looks amazing. I never leave the house before dousing him with baby cologne or putting some gel in his hair!

**Nicaragua has the highest rate of teen mothers in Central America:

  • One out of every four mothers in Nicaragua is an adolescent. 
  • 119 births for every 1,000 are to teen moms between the ages of 15 and 19.  
  • 56.8% of girls in urban areas have been pregnant before age 17, compared to 70% of girls in rural areas.

Root causes:

A young population – due to recent war and a population explosion, 49% of women are in the “fertile age”, with 54.5% of them between the ages of 10-19.

Government policies – Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the world to ban therapeutic abortions.

Lack of education – Half of all births in Nicaragua are unplanned

Cultural – Conducting my own informal observations, I sense that babies are very important to Nicaraguan society. If there is a baby in the room, the whole conversation revolves around them. Babies and giving birth are seen as a normal part of life and life would seem empty and boring without them (which is why it is hard for people to understand our childless state)

Lessons learned:

To chill the heck out about parenthood. I can’t believe how uptight many people are about parenting in the U.S.  There are countless “mommy blogs” where picture perfect families seem to do everything right, or others who over think baby’s schedule: nap, feed, diaper change, repeat 5x per day. Granted, I am not a parent so I don’t know how I would act in the heat of the moment. I have learned from these courageous Nicaraguan mothers to not freak out over every small detail. If I ever have a child of my own, I hope I am able to remember the countless young mothers I have encountered in Nicaragua.




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One Comment on “What my life would be like if I were…”

  1. “To chill the heck out about parenthood.” Amen! I am a parent and I am flabbergasted by how people in our culture treat parenthood.

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