Beyond Health Benefits: The Impact of Prenatals

January 24, 2018
Writing

Original story published January 16, 2018.

“A lot of cultures are different than ours, but every pregnancy is special.”

Michaela, a stay-at-home mother from Kissimmee, Florida, speaks from experience. The 26-year-old mother of two openly shared her struggles and victories during Vitamin Angels’ visit to her home in the summer of 2017, where they met her two daughters Victoria and Vivian. Michaela is also a stepmother to her husband’s older daughter.

Although they have access to more foods and resources than many of the impoverished families Vitamin Angels serves around the world, parenting still comes with its fair share of challenges for Michaela and her husband, who works in the hospitality industry.

With only one source of income to support a family of five, it’s not always easy to put nutritious foods on the table and ensure that there’s enough to go around. When what to eat for dinner is up in the air on a given day, other necessities—like prenatal vitamins—often have to wait. Michaela noted that it was only because of Vitamin Angels that she had access to prenatal vitamins while pregnant with her youngest daughter, Vivian.

“My husband is working, but we don’t have a lot of funds. So me going and buying the twelve-dollar [bottle of vitamins] wasn’t really an option,” she said."I’m grateful for Vitamin Angels because, if it wasn’t for you guys, then I wouldn’t have had prenatal vitamins with Vivian.”

Despite the hurdles that she’s overcome to provide for her family and maintain their health, Michaela emphasized the importance of helping other mothers and children around the world. The value of nutrition is universal, she told us.

“Anybody from a different country, a different culture, the important thing is the nutrition...So them taking the prenatal vitamins can help that child just a little bit, even though, you know, Mommy’s struggling to get food,” she said.

The peace of mind that comes with improved health is significant. Michaela told us that when she isn’t worried about her children’s health, she has the freedom to focus on other aspects of her life, such as going for walks and enjoying music.

“When I don’t have to worry about anything, I feel great...I’m not as stressed,” she said. 

Ultimately, though, the other sources of happiness in her life are secondary to her daughters. Looking back towards Victoria and Vivian as they played, her voice slightly trembled as she added, “With all the challenges in the world, I just want them to be able to do whatever they want -- and know that I'm always here for them.”

View the original piece and full photography at vitaminangels.org.

Photo credit: Matt Dayka for Vitamin Angels