Young families have received a nice present from the government. Starting on Jan. 1, 2008, assistance with birth costs for a first child is 12,240 hryvnias and for a second — 25,000. For a third and subsequent child, families will receive 50,000 hryvnias. Tetiana Pekhnio, head doctor at the Kyiv Maternity Hospital No. 2, who fielded a visit from The Day on the first day of the old New Year, is convinced that such financial support from the state will seriously improve the demographic situation in the country.
The New Year brought fame to this maternity hospital, where the first Kyiv baby of 2008 was born. It was a boy, whose arrival was accompanied by chiming bells. He was born on Jan. 1, at one minute past midnight. Six babies were born in this maternity hospital on New Year’s Eve, and seven — during the old New Year.
“We have 10 to 15 deliveries a day. Already this year 160 babies have been born, with slightly more boys than girls,” said Dr. Pekhnio. She says that the birth rate has been slowly increasing in the last two years. In 2007, 4,425 babies were born in her maternity hospital, 225 more than in 2006. Twins are often born here. Last year there were 28 pairs of twins. This year no twins have been delivered yet, but they are expected. Kyiv resident Inna Kucher is due to deliver twins — a boy and a girl.
“When my husband and I found out that we were expecting twins, our first reaction was shock. But we shouldn’t be surprised because my husband’s father is one of triplets. Now we are happy. We’ve already chosen names for our children — Vladyslav and Liza. Our elder son Artur is looking forward to seeing his brother and sister too,” said the happy mother, who is very pleased by the size of the government’s assistant package. Taking care of her babies will now be financially easier.
Aliona Babiak and her newborn son are getting ready to go home where her husband and four- year-old son Dima, who was promised that his parents would “buy” him a brother, are waiting for her.
“We have already bought an expensive carriage for the baby. Now we can afford this luxury since the assistance with childbirth costs has increased. Anyway, we did not have money on our minds when we decided to have another baby. But now that I’m on maternity leave, it’s good not to have to think about money, how to feed and dress the kids,” this new mother said.
Lesia Horonovych, Larysa Stelych, and Iryna Popadynets will give birth in the coming days. These young women are wondering whether to deliver their babies by themselves or to invite their husbands or relatives to help out.
“We often have partnership deliveries: if the expectant mother desires, her husband, mother, grandfather, grandmother, or friend may be present while she is delivering her baby. Of course, before letting a partner into the delivery room, he or she has to pass a special medical exam. Eighteen to twenty percent of women would like to have their loved ones at their side during the delivery,” noted Dr. Pekhnio.
Unfortunately, some mothers leave their babies behind at the maternity hospital. Last year, 26 babies, 9 more than in 2006, became orphans, although their parents were not dead.
“Financial problems are the reason most frequently given for abandoning a child. Let’s hope that after increasing the amount of the childbirth assistance there will be fewer “cuckoo mothers.” But in my opinion, this doesn’t depend on money but on the woman’s consciousness,” said Dr. Pekhnio.
When we were going into the maternity hospital, we saw a happy and confused man with a little girl, who was carrying a bouquet of flowers. “We have come here to take my little brother home,” she declared proudly. “I wish for every family to have babies in the New Year, and for those babies to have brothers and sisters.”
As they say, “From the mouths of babes...”