Manjula came to us within 11 days of childbirth with a psychotic illness. Bedraggled, tired, anemic with the little infant not even two weeks old, they arrived into the emergency psychiatry services and were then moved to the Mother Baby psychiatry ward.
Manjula was confused, anxious, fearful, the only set of clothes she had were the ones she wore. It was a cold January evening when they arrived. Manjula’s mother herself an elderly woman was trying to take care of both the mother and the little infant.
They had no infant clothes, no blanket, nothing to keep the mother or the little one warm. Manjula had refused to feed the baby and there was no milk substitute for the infant who looked listless.
This is not just Manjula’s story. Most mums and babies who come to our ward, have travelled long distances or have left their homes in a hurry. The mum’s mental health crisis does not give them time to plan. As a result infants often don’t have clothes. Sometimes an older infant who is more active and needs playthings comes in with the mother who is dealing with her own angst and fears and has no time or inclination to play with the baby. Many don’t have the financial resources or supports to buy infant clothes or supplies. Mothers are often anemic and malnourished.
On our ward rounds three weeks back our nurses looked worried. We didn’t have any more infant clothes or blankets or toys!
As an impulse, I put in a request in a Facebook Group called Second to None! This is a Bangalore based group that believes in recycling, up cycling and not wasting money or resources. They do this by buying and selling usable old items from each other.
But I was not selling or buying anything. My request was for a donation- a plea for baby clothes, prams and diapers and a request for toys and baby blankets.
I sent in the request at 9.30 pm, saw that I had got a few `likes’ within a few hours but was not very hopeful. However, I had under estimated people’s abilities to give------.
The response was simply overwhelming and blew our minds! The calls and texts started coming within a few hours. I am amazed and touched at the generosity of the people of Bangalore! The calls have never stopped since then!
We have been sending out our jeep everyday in the last one week to collect these items and here are a few pictures of a packed jeep, mountains of diapers, clothes, toys, prams. Someone thoughtful even sent in nighties for the mums!
The clothes had all been washed and ironed and many were brand new!
Thank you Seema Garg, Deepti and other residents from Poorva Panorama apartments, Bannerghatta Road, Ashvini, HSR layout, Pooja,Prestige shanthi nikethan apartment, White Field ; Vydehi, R.T. Nagar ; Pavithra, Kasturi Nagar ; Avinash, Jayanagar ; Bhavani, Bannerghatta Road and a donor from Saudi Arabia.
All of us at the Perinatal Psychiatry Service at NIMHANS thank you from the bottom of our hearts and applaud your generosity and willingness to give.
Thank you Second to None- for providing this e-space for connections and relationships that go beyond convention!
Personally for me, this has reconfirmed my faith in the goodness of humankind and the people of Bangalore!