“I didn’t want to leave, but we were very afraid. There was a lot of fighting and shooting around us,” reflects Tatiana Yevhenivina, 36, about the day her family decided to flee from their home in Chernihiv, in the northeast of Ukraine. They left, even though Tatiana was nine months pregnant. On their way to Kyiv, the 142-kilometer distant capital, they needed to check with volunteers if the route was safe enough and where they could sleep with ten people during curfew.
“Every day on the road I was scared that the baby would come. We had some medicine and some clean sheets with us, and although my husband is not a doctor or a midwife, he was ready to support me,” says Tatiana.
In a small town outside Kyiv, they found a hospital. All the patients had left already, but a small team of doctors and nurses were still there.
“I was alone in a dark room in the hospital. Air alarms and explosions scared me a lot. Every time a door closed, I thought someone was shooting,” continues Tatiana.
At 8 pm that evening, Tatiana gave birth to her ninth daughter.
“A safe birth is not something to be taken for granted anywhere,” notes Siobhán Foran, CARE’s regional Gender in Emergencies Coordinator. “But in Ukraine, pregnant women often don’t even know whether they will receive any care at all, nor whether the places they planned to deliver will be safe from fighting.”