I just started my internship at Peneleh Clinic on the last week of October, but I already saw many facts that used to be hidden from my sight. I saw many poor families have many children. I found out, at least 4 families with 8 children. All of them come from low income family and thus, are not able to give the optimal care and protection for their children. One mother with 8 children came for a monthly group meeting with the other housewives. She had her 8th baby (2-month-old) with her. She is a vegetables seller who had to start working very early every morning and she has to carry her baby and the other 2 toddlers with her. Rumours said that she had no husband, so the children came fromm different men.
Another story also strucked me hard. It happened when I saw a very young baby girl. She was born when she was 6.5 month old fetus and now she’s 1.5 month old. Her weight is far under normal weight of normal babies. She only weights 2.3 kgs. Even though she looks very small, her reflexes are good and she loves to drink milk. Her Grandmother said that she loves to drink bottled milk every 1 hour. Her mother, I think, is at her teen year (probably 14-16 years old). But they claimed that she’s 20 years old. Anyway, her mother is very young and I am wondering whether this condition causes the condition of the baby now. Her mother doesn’t even hold the baby when they came to the clinic. I was the one who was excited enough to hug and hold her.
This condition has been known as a popular phenomenon around suburb community in Indonesia. The low economic income, educational level and insufficient social support groups are the main factors that cause non-healthy habits or lifestyle. People need to be taught about the importance of having small family and how to educate their children properly. Parents also need to learn about positive parenting, in which parents can understand that their children need affection and care, as part of their normal development.
If these children are said to be the next generation, then what can we do to support them?