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REPORTING. “We said to ourselves that it made no sense to wait”: despite the war, Ukrainian couples decide to have a child


Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the birth rate seems to have dropped drastically in the country. While there are no precise figures at the national level, Ukrainian doctors worry about increased number of premature babies and background-related complications. Despite everything, births take place. Some couples have decided to give life despite the conflict.

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In Zaporizhia, in the southeast of the country, Emilia smiles, sitting on the edge of the bed. She has just given birth to Yessenia, a little girl, by caesarean section, and she is still on cloud nine. Her husband was able to be by her side: “We were together, thank god”says the young woman.

More complications during childbirth

The situation has not disrupted their child project, explains Yaroslav, the father: It was expected. We got married during the war. At first we wanted to wait and then we thought it didn’t make sense.” But above the head of the young dad, hovers the shadow of a potential mobilization, which could change everything: “It can happen from one day to the next. Everyone is afraid of that. If the war continues, it will not be possible to avoid it, we will see.”

In doctor Yuriy Bessarabov’s maternity ward, there are half the number of deliveries than before the war and many more women are under stress. “Now there are many more urgent cases with haemorrhages, psychological problems or even deliveries with complications or premature births”details the health professional.

Project yourself in a country at peace

The presence of a psychologist has become mandatory, especially for women whose husband is at the front or died in combat. “This psychologist meets future mothers when they are preparing for childbirth. During childbirth he helps them psychologically and physically, just like the doctor. And after childbirth he maintains a follow-up”, says Doctor Bessarabov.

Alina says she doesn’t need any support. This mother-to-be walks her rounded belly in the streets of Zaporizhia. The birth is expected in August. A child of hope and not a child of war, she says: “We must still continue to live, restore the infrastructure, the economy, give birth to children… There is everything to do! And if it’s not us, who will do it?”. Giving life is also a patriotic act, and above all a way of projecting oneself into a country at peace.

Despite the war, Ukrainian couples decide to have a child – Isabelle Labeyrie


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