Friday, November 18, 2016

Justice Devotional - Child Nutrition

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration
Child Nutrition
Matthew 18:10

Babies! Whether it is mom, dad, grandparents, aunts or uncles, we get so excited about babies. When we hear the news of expectant parents we throw parties and buy gifts and start planning what the life of this child will look like. We think about bright eyes and chubby cheeks and smiling, happy faces.

I planned all of those for my first pregnancy, too. At 7 months I began to have problems with my health. In spite of the blizzard outside, I was sent to the hospital for tests. A quick x-ray (before the day of sonograms) showed that there were, in fact, two babies. “Oh no! I need a second crib and a second car seat and twice as many clothes and bottles and diapers.....” Well, at least I had two months to get all the plans made.

Regardless, the snow was still falling and we were told to double up in houses in case the grid couldn’t handle the demand of heating everyone’s home. Ten hours after my x-ray, in the midst of the blizzard, I went into labor. The doctor said not to get to the hospital immediately because they were coming too soon and we needed to be certain to be there before they were delivered. They arrived two hours later. They lost weight, had breathing problems, had to be fed intravenously. It was 16 days before I was permitted to hold them in my arms.

Scary? Challenging? Yes. But within a year they had gone from a weight of three pounds up to within normal development range. After those initial challenges they grew and developed normally and there were no residual difficulties.

How can preemie babies thrive so well? How is it that some babies go full term and still struggle? The truth is there is a whole host of reasons. One of those reasons can be addressed: nutrition for the child for the first 1,000 days from conception to her second birthday. I was blessed to have proper food, vitamins, and medical care during my pregnancy. When this unexpected challenge came along my daughters were healthy enough to be able to overcome those early difficulties. How different might the outcome have been without that safety net? If they survived, they might still have had emotional or learning challenges. Full term babies without the proper care face those same challenges.

As we face the challenge of child nutrition, may we recognize the hope that lies in the fact that WE CAN DO something about it.

Rev. Dr. Patricia Donahoo Disciples Women Indianapolis, IN Women and Children
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