What does it take to save a life?

A letter from baby

Man holding a letter with text and a drawing of a father holding his child.

A father’s involvement in the birth of a child can make all the difference in a safe birth for both mother and baby, but men in India typically haven’t taken an active interest. By speaking directly to their hearts through “letters to my father,” PATH’s Sure Start project found a way to raise men’s awareness and commitment.

When women join a mothers’ group, their husbands are given two letters written from the point of view of their yet-to-be born babies. The first, presented early in the pregnancy, reminds fathers of the pivotal role they play even before a baby is born.

“Papa,” the baby writes in the first letter, “do you know that every month, a mother’s meeting is conducted in our village? Please ensure that my mother attends these meetings so that she will get an opportunity to learn how to take proper care of herself and me.”

The second letter, given in the last months, lists the steps that fathers can take to ensure the infant remains healthy after birth.

“I always hope that there will be no complications for my mother during my delivery,” the baby writes. “But, if for any reason, her labor pain is more than twelve hours, or she has convulsions, excessive bleeding, or any other complication, please take my mother to the hospital immediately.”