Preparing for a new baby should be exciting. But mums living in poverty often have a different experience to our own. Take a peek into the hospital bags of three Australian mums-to-be and one expectant mum from Rwanda.

I know what you’re thinking, *Michael, why are YOU writing this blog? Have you completely lost your mind!? * Well I have a very good explanation for this - my wife, Bella and I are well on the way to becoming parents. Let’s just say we’ve saved the route to the hospital in the GPS and cleared our schedules and of course packed the all-important hospital bag in preparation for this baby’s arrival!

Bella and Michael (My bride and I)

Experiencing this has made me wonder what other expectant mothers are packing in their bags – including mums in the developing world. What would they pack in their hospital bag? What’s their journey like?

Pregnancy in Rwanda

Well, I’d like you to meet Alphonsine Nyiramajyembere, who is eight months pregnant and lives in Rwanda.

Alphonsine Nyiramajyembere (Alphonsine Nyiramajyembere)

In Rwanda there is a one in 85 chance risk of maternal death in a mother’s lifetime, whereas in Australia it’s one in 8,700†. This rocked me, especially with my little bub on the way. But to think this is Alphonsine’s reality tells me we should be so thankful for what we have.

Baby essentials kit (An example of Compassion’s Baby Essentials Kit)

In some countries women have to prepare their hospital bag with items like tarps to deliver on, and razors to cut the umbilical cord! When I heard this I was absolutely horrified and filled with sadness. But I was also overcome by gratefulness as I thought about the support and care Compassion offers to expectant mothers through our Baby Essentials Kit in this year’s Gifts of Compassion catalogue. With the knowledge and understanding of each woman’s pregnancy journey, the Baby Essentials Kit was designed to give each mum the necessary supplies she needs to care for her bub.

Pregnancy in Australia

I asked a few of the expectant mothers here in the office – yep, there are eight, and that’s just in the Marketing team– if they would be kind enough to let us know what they’re intending on packing in their hospital bag. Here’s Monique, who has said her pregnancy journey “has been challenging both emotionally and physically, but I feel really thankful to be pregnant.” Here’s what Monique is taking along to the hospital.

Mon and her pack (Monique and her hospital bag)

I’d also like you to meet Laura, who is also extremely excited to bring her baby girl into this world. By the looks of things, she is all ready to go as well!

Laura and her pack (Laura and her hospital bag)

Then there is our little bag of supplies. (Need to get snacks though, thanks Laura!)

Cauchi pack (My hospital bag)

When I look at Alphonsine, I see a mum who is besotted with her baby and wants to provide her with the best care she can—just like my wife, Mon and Laura. While it’s devastating to think mums in the developing world are delivering their babies in such tough situations, the good news is we can do something to help them. The baby supplies you see in Alphonsine’s photos were provided through our Child Survival Program and meant her newborn was given the best start to life. This Christmas, why not consider giving a vital gift to a brand new mum in the developing world, hand delivered with a hug by Compassion staff! I think Monique summed it up perfectly: “I want my baby to grow up feeling loved, safe and secure. I hope they grow to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ.” And that’s just it, we are so blessed to become parents and to be in this adventure together. Giving a newborn the best start to life can help them on their journey to being all that God created them to be.

Get your Gift of Compassion today!

Words by Michael Cauchi

UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2016 report