I think that the most beautiful thing in life is the purity and enthusiasm that makes up the hearts of children. The children in Iqaluit take up a huge amount of the population. It seems that every woman in sight has a baby in the hood of her amauti.
Unfortunately the sad truth of the most beautiful things is that they aren't always appreciated for the gifts that they are.
There are social problems here that I could not have fathomed while living in the South. The reality here is that teenagers don't seem to be getting the education that they need about sex and preventing pregnancy. It seems as if the government and the school systems have almost given in to the fact that the kids will do as they please. Instead of teaching methods of safe sex, they post fliers to send the message out that we should "help women and babies by encouraging alcohol free pregnancy." The message is fantastic and needs to be retained but it is devastating that the message wasn't "help women prevent pregnancy."
Pregnancy and bringing another human being into the world is incredible and beautiful and miraculous. Here, the young women are offered the birth control pill free of cost, and as sad as it sounds, many refuse it because they are worried it will make them "fat." Instead of taking the pill or wearing condoms, so many young women use abortion as a form of birth control. So many more women find themselves in a hard spot with a new baby or a baby on the way and walk around town trying to find someone to adopt their child. The women approach other women and literally offer them their babies.
I think that these children having a chance at a better life is fantastic. I also believe that for individuals or couples wanting to adopt that this is an incredible opportunity but it simply breaks my heart to see a woman approach others and offer her child away.
Yesterday at work Matt was standing with two female co-workers when a young woman, who had already had multiple children, approached them with an offer of her soon to be born child. The story tore my heart to shreds. I'm not sure I would be strong enough to say no. Every day I think about the sweet, tiny babies who never got a chance to choose for themselves what kind of life they would be born into.
I have a new friend at work who is five months pregnant with her third baby, a baby girl. I found out today that she has already found a family for her baby and will be giving her away. My heart nearly stopped beating. This girl is a loving, caring mother to her two babies and is the sweetest girl you've ever met. I feel so sad for her. I feel physically sick knowing that this could have been prevented and maybe she wouldn't have to go through the experience of parting with her baby. I know that although she could have taken precautions, this situation isn't entirely her fault.
I am learning to accept the culture here and embrace the different way of life but if I could change anything here, I would teach the women here to love themselves more. I would teach them to take care of themselves so that they would never have to feel the heartache of giving away their newborns. I would flip the education system on its ass and teach every child, boy and girl, to respect each other, themselves and what happens when you aren't careful.
On a more cheerful note I am trying to find a local woman who can make me my own amauti, so that in a couple of years if I move back to Ontario and have babies of my own I can take such a beautiful tradition of Nunavut with me to carry my children in. The amauti in the picture is a very old traditional seal skin version but you can have them made in almost any fabric and pattern. They are also usually made to be more form fitting than the one in the picture. They are incredibly beautiful and a lot of Inuit women have them made in bright colours like red and yellow.