Tuesday, November 20, 2018

by Maggie Doyne

At the beginning of the year, my husband and I found ourselves in a dilemma.  Do we stay in Nepal where we live with all of our children and have our baby, or do we return to the US for the birth?  As my pregnancy progressed, I reflected on the privilege I had in being able to have access to high quality care. We made the decision to go back to the US, but it wasn’t easy for me. It felt like I was abandoning my Nepali women peers, and abandoning my other children, my home, and my life here. Ruby was born after a long and complicated birth that ended in a C-section. When the doctors told me she was sick and needed to go the NICU, my heart nearly stopped beating. The fear started to take over. In a matter of days, when I realized everything was going to be okay, I was flooded with overwhelming gratitude.  I don't know what would have happened had I given birth in our local hospital in Surkhet, Nepal, but I do know that in Surkhet some days doctors are so scarce that it’s not uncommon for there to be only one in the whole building.

I'm so grateful to be a woman born with freedom and choice and to have access to education and healthcare.  I'm grateful for my husband Jeremy, my sisters and parents, my children and my entire BlinkNow family, which includes all of you reading this. You have pulled me through some of the hardest times. 

Big brothers are the best.

Ruby is now nine months old. The time has flown by, and we are back in Nepal. I've been taking in every moment of us all together as a family again. I cherish these days. We have had an influx of new young children. At the same time many of our young adults have left the nest. They are off at college, living in their own apartments and dorms, laying their heads down to rest under a different roof than mine. Where does the time go?  There is nothing that makes time fly faster than babies and teenagers. 

The kids just had a month off school for the Nepali festivals. We spent a few days deep in the Himalayan mountains as a family, so far up that there's no internet power, running water or cell phone service. My co-founder, Tope, grew up in a village there called Oda, where many of our kids have family ties, too. We spent our days hiking and taking in the nature all around us and having dance parties with Tope's family every night, but we also reflected on how hard it is to walk hours just to reach the nearest road and to grow all the food you eat and to fetch water every day. It was such a wake up call for all the things we have in Surkhet. 

Children in Oda, the same age as Ruby.
Photo credit: Jeremy Regimbal/MPWR Change

As one of my favorite authors Brene Brown says, "It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." And so I'm here, remembering to practice gratitude with morning cups of tea and smiles from my teenagers and perfectly cooked roti and a giggle from my infant and the thought that there are so many of you out there who love these kids as much as I do. Thank you for being on this journey with me. I am so grateful for you.

For me, this Thanksgiving is about you. Thank you for all that you do.  

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