All mothers dream that their babies will grow up happy and healthy and safe, with the opportunity to get a good education and reach their full potential. UNICEF and partners are dedicated to making that dream a reality, by supporting and protecting the world's most vulnerable children. On Mother's Day, UNICEF says "Happy Birthday" to the 386,000 babies born every day, and "Thank you" to loving mothers everywhere.
BANGLADESH Jannatul, 22, named her baby daughter Ayedatujannah, which means "she who returned from heaven." The baby did not cry when she was born; she went into convulsions and turned blue. Jannatul and her husband, Ahmed, spent 15 days with their fragile newborn in the UNICEF-supported Special Newborn Unit (SCANU) at the Institute of Child and Mother Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Thanks to the medical care she received and her mother's loving breastfeeding, Ayedatujannah survived. "We weren't sure if she was going to live or die," says Jannatul. "So when she survived, it was as if she was coming back from heaven. I just hope she becomes a good person and that she is capable of leading her own life in a good way. She should be a good woman who can handle situations by herself." © UNICEF/UN0188859/Njiokiktjien VII Photo
MALI In Bougouni, Mali, Mariam cradles her sleeping four-day-old daughter, Kadia. Only 17 when Kadia was born, Mariam defied the odds: in Mali, the infant mortality rate for babies born to mothers under 18 is twice as high as that of babies born to mothers who are older than 19. UNICEF is working to save the lives of infants worldwide, and to educate young women about the benefits of postponing motherhood until they are older. © UNICEF/UN0188874/Njiokiktjien VII Photo
MONGOLIA Bayarmaa holds her two-week-old baby, Uuriintsolmon, in her living room in Murun, Mongolia. UNICEF and partners are working to improve a newborn's chances of survival, and to care for mothers before and after their babies are born. Newborn mortality rates have decreased in Mongolia, from 10.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 8.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017. Despite these advances, challenges remain: malnutrition, long travel distances to maternal health clinics and insufficient government support to buy essentials such as medication, micronutrients, newborn hats, staff training and educational materials. © UNICEF/UN0188813/Njiokiktjien VII Photo
PERU Celia, 37, has five children, ages 11, 9, 6, 5 and little Priscilla, born at the UNICEF-supported health center in Yaurisque District, Paruro Province, Peru. "Despite my illness — epilepsy — my midwife gave me confidence that everything would be okay," says Celia. "When my baby was born, I felt so happy because she started crying, and that means she was healthy. For my daughter, I hope she'll have a career. I hope that she becomes a doctor." © UNICEF/UN0186354/Njiokiktjien VII Photo
Top photo: Eighteen-year-old Hawa gave birth to Youssouf at the UNICEF-supported health center in Koumatou, Mali. "I was so happy when Youssouf arrived — he is my first baby," she says. "I hope Youssef will support me until I die, and that he grows up healthy." © UNICEF/UN0188884/Njiokiktjien VII Photo