Mariyam a 25-year-old woman, who lived in Addu Atoll in Maldives, was having a battle of wits with Ahmed, her young three year old. He threw temper tantrums and just couldn’t be disciplined. Thankfully, one day Mariyam attended a session on better parenting skills organised by Society of Health & Education (SHE).
SHE was the first non-governmental organisation in Maldives to establish a family planning clinic where couples could get information, education and counselling to plan their families. It also provides psycho-social support and counselling to children and adults. Through various approaches such as play therapy, children as well as adults are helped to develop life skills and cope with the grief, anger, anguish and possible abuse in their life.
During the session on parenting, Mariyam requested for help in dealing with Ahmed. Thereafter through extended telephonic counselling sessions; it was revealed that Mariyam was currently pregnant with her fourth child. Her husband worked away from home and visited occasionally during holidays. Her pregnancy, combined with childcare needs at home, was taking a toll on Mariyam, making her feel weak and irritable, even overwhelmed at times.
Understanding this, the counsellor suggested that she set aside a time to play with her son every day. When Mariyam put it into practice, she discovered that all her son wanted from her was some attention. The counsellor then helped her and her husband explore different family planning options when her husband came visiting the household. Together they decided to adopt a family planning option once Mariyam had delivered. He also decided to stay on the island for a few months and work at his father’s carpentry in order to help his wife to look after the children post-delivery. The couple visited SHE clinic for counselling on contraceptives post delivery and Mariyam has been a client ever since.