We Are Pregnant – update

On Sunday May 4 we visited two of the four pregnant We Are Here-ladies. Together with Redmond we wrote an article in which we state the following:

” Our most recent conversations with Hanane and Fartuna, two of the four pregnant members, added a new layer to our understandings of the communities whose flags won’t be flirting with the wind today. During yesterday’s meeting about our call for baby supplies we learned that their lives have taken a dramatic turn. The women, bellies swollen with future and eyes marked by fatigue, call for conversations about political homelessness and its impact on both the housing and health care of the new families. “Write everything and tell everybody,” they urge us. There was a palpable sense of anger and fear among the women, which already resulted in the disappearance of one of the ladies who is due in the first week of June.

“We don’t know where she is. We don’t know what the government does with the babies of homeless mothers, and we don’t know how much longer Fartuna will still get medication for her gestational diabetes (‘pregnancy diabetes’) if she refuses to go to the return centres they want to send us to… everything is uncertain.” Despite the joyous news that the Fadumo has given birth to a beautiful, healthy boy named Musab, the clouds swallowed most of the silver linings and the answers can’t keep up with the questions.

High(er) stakes
The uncertainties Hanane and Fartuna were already facing have become more serious now that they both have a child to plan for. Not knowing if they will be able to offer a stable home for their children creates enormous amounts of stress. Living in the Vluchthaven, the latest of a series of temporary shelters, was uncertain, but at least there they are part of a collective and therefore more visible in their political protest against the policies that are making a stable family life impossible for them. This situation dramatically changed last Friday when the women’s partners– not Hanane and Fartuuna themselves – were contacted by Vluchtelingenwerk with the unexpected news that they should prepare themselves to be sent to a terugkeercentrum, a return-facility in Goes, Zeeland, in the south of the country.

They were expecting to be sent to an asylum center in the last six weeks of their pregnancies, as has happened to the two other pregnant women of the group, Fartuun and Fadumo. What they were not expecting was to be sent to a return facility, which is specialised in ‘preparing’ migrants for deportation. Much less were they expecting to be sent to the other side of the country on such short notice, far removed from their support network and in the case of Fartuna, away from her husband, because their union isn’t legally recognized the state.”

To read the entire article please click here.