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Migrant pregnant mothers don't feel welcome in TJ

Back and forth between Tijuana General Hospital and Justicia en Salud

“Midwives told me that it was important to go to the hospital with the umbilical cord, because they could say that the baby was not mine." - Image by Luis Gutierrez
“Midwives told me that it was important to go to the hospital with the umbilical cord, because they could say that the baby was not mine."

For Honduran Anabel Guzman, 35, and her husband and three kids, it was impossible to pay up to 10,000 pesos ($500 USD) to give birth in Tijuana’s Main Hospital. Anabel and her family were living in the Chaparral Migrant Camp; their lack of a stable income and the treatment by the hospital personnel led them to seek another option.

Anabel found Justicia en Salud, an NGO that provides free health attention to migrants. They have a group of midwives that helped her as soon as she got in contact with them. She told them how the gynecologist had said negative comments about her migration status in Mexico.

'Why did you go with them? Are you crazy? How much did they charge you?'

“I choose to have my child with the midwives because of the attention they gave me. The doctor and the gynecologist at the hospital always treated me badly because of being a migrant. 'Why did not you stay in Honduras? We’ve got too much work already.' They said this kind of thing to me."

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Despite the treatment she got from the hospital, she had to keep in contact with them due to the need for a document issued by the hospital to get an official birth certificate.

When her pre-term labor started at dawn, the collective gave her the attention she needed except for the cutting of the umbilical cord.

“Midwives told me that it was important to go to the hospital with it because they could say that the baby was not mine or that was stolen, but they told me to come the next day. The gynecologist said that I should stay with the midwives since I decided to go through the birth with them."

“They detected my baby had a gastric reflux issue, which midwives are helping me to take care of. I met a Mexican girl that was pregnant when I was there, and for her, everything was way easier”.

Right after she was recovering from giving birth at home, the migrants at the camp were evicted. Anabel noted that everything was so fast that she could only save her family’s official documents but lost the paperwork for the family's refugee case.

For Raquel, a Guatemalan woman, it was not too much different. She went to the Maternal and Child Hospital in Otay but had to sleep in the street because the hospital denied help for her. She was seven months pregnant at the moment and didn’t know anyone in the city.

In the morning hospital staff paid for a taxi to a shelter in El Pipila neighborhood, about 25 miles east of town. There, she connected with Justicia en Salud and the midwives group.

“I told them that I had no money, and they told me they would take care of all the tests I would need. They even paid me taxis for getting to all birth control appointments. In the hospital, the doctor told me that was normal to feel pain. They attend to you so quickly, like if they are in rush, but with the midwives, they sit with you to talk and treat you well”.

When she came to the hospital to get the hospital birth document, doctors started questioning her. They ran a blood test to make sure she was the real mother of the child she was carrying in her arms.

“ 'Why did you go with them? Are you crazy? How much did they charge you?' they said. Five doctors were questioning me if the baby was mine and said if something happened to the child it would be my fault. I didn’t receive that blood test and the test report to prove that is my child. Then I went to the child services and I was told the same… how do they know it is mine. They ran a DNA test and we even had to show pictures of my pre-term labor as evidence”.

After Anabel and her family left El Chaparral camp, they rented a room in Tijuana’s downtown in Zona Norte. She says she is scared because she said a couple of times she was been followed with her son in arms and believes that criminals could want to rob her child.

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“Midwives told me that it was important to go to the hospital with the umbilical cord, because they could say that the baby was not mine." - Image by Luis Gutierrez
“Midwives told me that it was important to go to the hospital with the umbilical cord, because they could say that the baby was not mine."

For Honduran Anabel Guzman, 35, and her husband and three kids, it was impossible to pay up to 10,000 pesos ($500 USD) to give birth in Tijuana’s Main Hospital. Anabel and her family were living in the Chaparral Migrant Camp; their lack of a stable income and the treatment by the hospital personnel led them to seek another option.

Anabel found Justicia en Salud, an NGO that provides free health attention to migrants. They have a group of midwives that helped her as soon as she got in contact with them. She told them how the gynecologist had said negative comments about her migration status in Mexico.

'Why did you go with them? Are you crazy? How much did they charge you?'

“I choose to have my child with the midwives because of the attention they gave me. The doctor and the gynecologist at the hospital always treated me badly because of being a migrant. 'Why did not you stay in Honduras? We’ve got too much work already.' They said this kind of thing to me."

Sponsored
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Despite the treatment she got from the hospital, she had to keep in contact with them due to the need for a document issued by the hospital to get an official birth certificate.

When her pre-term labor started at dawn, the collective gave her the attention she needed except for the cutting of the umbilical cord.

“Midwives told me that it was important to go to the hospital with it because they could say that the baby was not mine or that was stolen, but they told me to come the next day. The gynecologist said that I should stay with the midwives since I decided to go through the birth with them."

“They detected my baby had a gastric reflux issue, which midwives are helping me to take care of. I met a Mexican girl that was pregnant when I was there, and for her, everything was way easier”.

Right after she was recovering from giving birth at home, the migrants at the camp were evicted. Anabel noted that everything was so fast that she could only save her family’s official documents but lost the paperwork for the family's refugee case.

For Raquel, a Guatemalan woman, it was not too much different. She went to the Maternal and Child Hospital in Otay but had to sleep in the street because the hospital denied help for her. She was seven months pregnant at the moment and didn’t know anyone in the city.

In the morning hospital staff paid for a taxi to a shelter in El Pipila neighborhood, about 25 miles east of town. There, she connected with Justicia en Salud and the midwives group.

“I told them that I had no money, and they told me they would take care of all the tests I would need. They even paid me taxis for getting to all birth control appointments. In the hospital, the doctor told me that was normal to feel pain. They attend to you so quickly, like if they are in rush, but with the midwives, they sit with you to talk and treat you well”.

When she came to the hospital to get the hospital birth document, doctors started questioning her. They ran a blood test to make sure she was the real mother of the child she was carrying in her arms.

“ 'Why did you go with them? Are you crazy? How much did they charge you?' they said. Five doctors were questioning me if the baby was mine and said if something happened to the child it would be my fault. I didn’t receive that blood test and the test report to prove that is my child. Then I went to the child services and I was told the same… how do they know it is mine. They ran a DNA test and we even had to show pictures of my pre-term labor as evidence”.

After Anabel and her family left El Chaparral camp, they rented a room in Tijuana’s downtown in Zona Norte. She says she is scared because she said a couple of times she was been followed with her son in arms and believes that criminals could want to rob her child.

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