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‘I don’t want him to know real war’- Giving birth in a Kyiv bunker

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Women with their newborn babies take shelter in the basement of a perinatal centre, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Women with their newborn babies take shelter in the basement of a perinatal centre, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Women with their newborn babies take shelter in the basement of a perinatal centre, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Giving birth in a bunker in Kyiv was “like a movie”, a Ukrainian woman has said, but she tells her son every day that he is “lucky”.

Viktoria (32) and her husband were transported into a nightmare as she had to deliver her son, Fedor, in a bomb shelter in a Kyiv hospital.

"While I was pregnant I had taken yoga classes, prepared for gentle birth-giving, took courses. It wasn’t like this.

"The doctor said we needed to go to the bomb shelter. There was panic as people were rushing.

“For us there was a small room without any doors, only a shower curtain that separated us from the main room with 50 people in it,” the new mother told The Guardian.

Viktoria said there was “no medical technology” in the room, only a gynaecological chair.

She hoped she would get back to the hospital before she had to deliver her son, but then her waters broke.

“My doctor looked at me and said: ‘OK, we will do it here, it’s too dangerous to wait.’ At that moment I wasn’t afraid. I trusted my doctor – the only thing on my mind was holding my son and ending the pain.”

After Viktoria gave birth to her son, she said she told him: “You’re lucky, you’re unique, you’re born in Ukraine, you’re a new Ukrainian.”

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The new mother said she hopes he will only experience this war from stories, and that he will never feel what it’s like in real life.

"I don’t want him to know real war,” she said.

“Despite the war, Fedor has brought so much love, happiness and kindness into our home. We take care of him, and it makes us happy.

“I’m hoping and praying for peace – he’s a new Ukrainian, he should grow up in a new Ukraine.”


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