By: Li Novak
Belgrade,Aug.25 ,2009, (Serbia Today) - In difficult times, it is not easy to accomplish even the most natural assignments like the parenthood is. Young mothers talk for Serbia Today about situations they are falling into, after their baby’s birth.
When a young couple takes their baby from the childbirth center, they have to calculate necessary costs, and provide all the important things for the Maternity leave, provided by the state (about 24000 RSD for the first child) is not enough for all the needs. For example, only diapers cost 3000 RSD monthly.
Masa, mother of a 7 months old, says for Serbia Today: “A baby, younger than 12 months old, “costs” from 100 to 200 EU, if you don’t count the big expenses (cradle, baby carriage and similar, which you have already bought). And if you don’t count the baby sitter's salary, which is around 300 EU.” Mila Sebic, another mother of an infant, claims that the biggest expenses are in the first month, around 700 EU. If we know that the average Serbian salary is around 350 EU, it means that having a baby is a real bravery.
Ivana from Belgrade gave birth in hospital Narodni front. She is satisfied with a program “baby friendly” which is obligatory here. It means that the mother and baby are joined together from the infant’s birth. However, she is not satisfied with a hospital staff’s treatment and behavior. She says: “The third day, when I had a problem with breasts because of the milk, I was disappointed with the program's efficiency. I found out that many mothers of infants had the same problem, because the medical nurses did not provide the necessary help on time. I asked for help several times and the hospital staff kept promising to send someone, but nobody came. In general, they were unkind and didn’t have the right humane attitude towards the women who are in special physical and emotional state, because they had just given birth.”
Young mothers often have problems related with maternity leave reimbursements. Masa from Belgrade tells us about her struggle with administration, which lasted 4 months. After that, she finally got her maternity payment. She says: “I experienced much offensiveness from a clerk in the Tirsova Street, which is municipality of Vozdovac. She was sending me home, many times, for more and more “necessary” documents. A real nightmare! I even complained to her boss, but nothing had changed.” Also, there are some dishonest employers, who hold the state money for a while, instead of paying the mothers. And then, maternity reimbursements are late.
Mothers say that non of the childbirth centers have really good conditions. They complain about quality of food and especially about the medical staff's behavior. Few days after the baby’s birth, during a hormonally tumultuous period, mothers are in specific condition, emotionally and physically tired. Most of the medical nurses don’t treat young mothers with respect and humanity they deserve, don’t answer all the questions and aren’t helping enough. Because of that, a group of women spontaneously started an initiative called “Mother Courage” on the website www.majkahrabrost.com and that finally drew attention of the Ministry of Health.