For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
Infertility is an issue that transcends cultural difference. Child rearing is of utmost importance in Ro culture, so not being able to conceive brings great shame on a woman. Added to the cultural stress, being unable to conceive means missing out on a UNHCR card for Ro refugees living in Malaysia. With a high demand for UN protection, the UNHCR only grants cards to pregnant women, minors, and the seriously sick.
Each time we visit with M she expresses the same desire – for a UNHCR card and a child in her womb. With no UNHCR card she fears being bribed or arrested if she ventures outside. As a result, she rarely leaves her small room in a shared apartment. Her husband is impatient for her to be pregnant. It is expected that after two years of marriage she should be pregnant. The onus and pressure is on M alone, with very little understanding that the issue may not be so simple.
Last month in desperation M sought help from a doctor. With no UNHCR card she had to pay a premium to access healthcare. After the consultation, M spent $50, almost a week’s wages, on multivitamins folic acid and iron tablets that would have cost a mere $5 from a chemist.
M is always keen to pray together, and sees God as being the answer to her problems.
- Pray the giver of life would grant M her heart’s desire and that through this she would come to know life in its fullness.
- Pray for other women like M who are desperate to conceive and that they know there is no shame in Jesus.
- Refugees in Malaysia are vulnerable to injustice; police bribes, expensive healthcare and unfair landlords to name but a few. Pray for justice to flow like a river in this land.
- Pray the local community would have compassion on the Ro and treat them more fairly.