This is 31-year-old Isabelle Maxi with her 16-month-old son Nathan outside her home in Hinche, Haiti. Isabelle works as an interpreter with Midwives for Haiti, a charity organization working to end preventable maternal and infant mortality in Haiti. After three miscarriages and five months of bed rest, Isabelle safely delivered Nathan with help from Midwives for Haiti. She says having her son Nathan was the proudest moment of her life.
Isabelle and her boyfriend of three years want to have two children total, and Isabelle wants to wait four to five years before having her next baby. They use condoms now, she explains, but she used to be on birth control pills and would sometimes use cycle beads, or natural family planning. She plans her family now because, as she puts it, “I want a good life for [Nathan], a good education.”
Before becoming a translator, Isabelle worked as a social worker, and saw firsthand the effect a lack of family planning information and services had on families: “Sometimes I’d visit some families, and you can see a woman with five or ten children; but they don’t have a good life, they don’t have a good bed to sleep in, they don’t have good water, they don’t have any food.” Now she advocates for every woman in Haiti have access to family planning information, saying “I want to have a seminar so we can talk to women about family planning …. It is important to get their birth control. It’s so very important.”
Although she enjoys her job as a translator, she wants to finish her nursing degree and become a midwife. “I love children, I love to take care of people, and I like to help women in need; it’s my chance,” she explains.
Her one piece of advice to other girls in Haiti is to stay in school and delay having their first child until they have completed their education, because, as Isabella notes, “For the girls and women, it’s not easy to have a good life in Haiti.”
“I want to have a seminar so we can talk to women about family planning …. It is important to get their birth control. It’s so very important.”