It is Jashine's habit to hold her hand under her very round tummy and
gaze downward whenever she isn't talking. Not really shy and not really
forthcoming, it is apparent that she has a lot to balance in her young life.
She is happy to be having her second baby. She beams with joy as she talks
about this next child - due any day.
Her little boy, at one and a half, is a torrent of activity - really
a happy kid with a drooly face and big round brown eyes full of mischief.
He was born before his mom's exposure to HIV.
Jashine knows that she is HIV+ and that she might pass the virus on to
her little girl when she is born. As surprised as Jashine was when she
tested positive, she knew that there had been risk. She had been a crack
cocaine user, and once, made the decision to let some friends shoot her
up with heroin.
Just one time. Only once.
Jashine has an interesting perspective - a mix of young ideals and maternal
gambling, she is confident that her baby will fall into the percentage of
kids who, through whatever miracle, make it from conception to birth without
exposure. And her belief is as solid as her contentment. She is indulgent
of my concerns, but it is clear that her focus is on her healthy unborn
So, at 22, Jashine is typical of many girls who find themselves pregnant
and have the highest hopes for a bright future. If the cards are stacked
against her, she is resilient. She has a new husband. He is very protective
of her and this new baby they are expecting. He seems to love her son enough.
She feels healthy.
She smiles and says, "God takes care of things!" Her hand slips
under her tummy and she calls her little boy to her side.
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