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The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—And the World by Roger Thurow

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chapter seven

THE MOST PERILOUS DAY

SHYAMKALI ARRIVED AT THE CLINIC JUST IN TIME. THE BABY WAS coming. There was still no bed free, so she remained on the floor. And there she gave birth.

She studied the faces of those who moved quickly to tend to the baby. They looked sad. “We’re sorry,” they said.

The baby was alive and seemingly well. Shyamkali heard the crying. Why, she wondered, were they apologizing?

“It’s a girl,” she was told. Such a pity, the midwife and the nurse said to each other and to the other moms waiting to deliver; this mother now had five girls.

Shyamkali ignored them. She loved this fifth daughter immediately and rejoiced at the birth. Her name would be Anshika, which means “to be a part of something.” Part of a house full ...

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