Mexico City – A 29 year-old indigenous woman squats while her face cringe in pain and humiliation as she gave birth to her third child in front of the hospital lawn. Her screams of anguish caused quite a commotion and a witness took a picture of the incident.
The photograph shows the woman bending her knees open while her newborn baby boy was still bound by an umbilical cord, lying on the patch of grass. This certain photo horrified Mexicans and other nationalities as it became viral all over the internet.
The woman was identified as Irma Lopez Aurelio who was still embarrassed about the incident. “I didn’t want to deliver like this. It was so ugly and with so much pain,” she said.
Lopez narrated that she and her husband woke up at the break of dawn and started walking to the nearest health center which is an hour away from their one-bedroom hut at the mountains of Oaxaca.
By the time they arrived, she was fully dilated and was about to give birth. However, the nurse said that Lopez was not yet ready to deliver because she was just eight months pregnant. Also, the health center had very limited staff at that time and was shorthanded to accommodate her.
She was advised to go outside and walk. But after an hour and a half, her water broke and she gave birth outside while grabbing the wall of the house next to the clinic. She was taken in by the clinic afterwards and was discharged the same day.
The couple came from the Sierra Mazatec region but Spanish is not widely spoken there, so the language barrier was deemed as one of the problems why she wasn’t given proper medical attention. However, officials said it didn’t justify the mix-up. As of date, the health center’s director, Dr. Adrian Cruz has been suspended.
The widespread photo of Lopez struck a nerve on the inhumane treatment of women that still exists in a lot of developing countries.
“The photo is giving visibility to a wider structural problem that occurs within indigenous communities: Women are not receiving proper care. They are not being offered quality health services, not even a humane treatment,” said Mayra Morales, Oaxaca Representative for the Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.
When asked for her son’s name, Lopez said that she will name him “Salvador”, Spanish word for “Savior.” “He really saved himself,” she added.