Suicide - when there is no hope and you are convinced those around you would be better off if you were dead. Srey Kuaj had reached this place. She was five months pregnant and her brother, who had raised her since their parents died of AIDS, was furious. She had tried to hang herself twice but her brother had intervened in time.
Srey Kuaj would have aborted if she could, but at five months it is illegal. Her brother wanted her to give the baby to another family once she delivered. Srey Kuaj was a minor, not very mature and there was no one to help her raise her child. She knew that her brother was right, but she wanted to keep her baby.
Full of shame for herself, the loss of face for her family, and knowing she couldn’t even keep the baby, Srey Kuaj could only think of death.
It is extraordinary how the most tenuous connections can avert a crisis. A moto taxi driver on the street heard outreach workers from another NGO speak of the suicidal girl. He referred her to Mother’s Heart.
Mother’s Heart arranged for Srey Kuaj to stay in a shelter for minors, receiving counseling, and under observation in case she tried to commit suicide again.
When she delivered, Srey Kuaj herself fell in love with her baby and her brother soon felt the same way. They simply could not picture giving the baby away.
Mother’s Heart helped with medical costs, counseling, housing, and food. Rather than find work Srey Kuaj wanted to return to the province to live with her older brother where she was reintegrated into her community. Mother’s Heart continued food and counseling support for her there.
It was on the second to last visit by Mother’s Heart staff that Srey Kuaj revealed the baby’s father was back. He had been working in Thailand. Although from the same town as Srey Kuaj, she hadn’t wanted this known in case her brother made trouble for this man and his family.
Srey Kuaj and her partner began to repair relationships – with each other and with his family, asking their forgiveness. The family invited Srey Kuaj to live with them so they could help look after their grandchild. They were so pleased to see how healthy and big the baby was and, like Srey Kuaj’s brother, were full of thanks to Mother’s Heart.
Now, Srey Kuaj is rebuilding her life. Her partner works hard, wanting what is best for Srey Kuaj and their child. There is a wedding on the way. Srey Kuaj will be marrying her partner and Mother’s Heart staff are invited!
To Mother’s Heart Srey Kuaj says, “I would have killed myself if I had not had your support and encouragement. I thank you. I thank you so much”.
Somphors (Senior Social Worker)
Somphors was with MH when supporting women and girls through crisis pregnancy was still in its conceptual stages. MH has been blessed that Somphors remains a member of the team through the years.
She says, "I want to inform women about their options when they have a crisis pregnancy. I am so thrilled every time a client choose to keep her pregnancy!"
Many of her clients visit her years later to thank her for her support and encouragement. "Sometimes the work is hard. I don't just counsel women and help them with their crisis pregnancies. I have to mediate family problems and help women through their traumas and additions too. It's such a joy to see these women with so many problems find their strengths and becomes amazing mothers."
Somphors is a mother of two girls and is attending university classes to be a certified social worker.