He’s just a few months old, but Baby Bello has already won many hearts—not least, those of his parents, 20-year-old Hussaini and 24-year-old Ibrahim*. After a difficult pregnancy, the couple are proud to introduce their new baby to their community in Gwoza, northeast Nigeria, and to the world.

Photos by KC Nwakalor

A Nigerian baby swaddled in a blanket

Born in September 2021, and pictured here at just seven days old, Baby Bello has brought hope and great joy not only to his parents, but to their community, which has been traumatized by the ongoing conflict affecting this region of Africa. 

A Nigerian mother holds her baby in a blanket

Their road to parenthood was not easy. As Hussaini recalls, “the pregnancy gave me a lot of problems.” She received prenatal care at the IRC facility in Gwoza where, during one routine visit, the medical staff diagnosed her with pregnancy-induced hypertension, or high blood pressure. The condition requires monitoring to ensure the health of both the baby and the mother. “The IRC provided me with medicines and tests,” Hussaini says. 

A Nigerian midwife watches over a woman and her baby, who is swaddled in a blanket

An IRC midwife, Murna, played a critical role in helping the young mother welcome her newborn. Murna helped Hussaini adjust to breastfeeding, and explained the benefits of good nutrition and the importance of child spacing.

A Nigerian man and woman hold their baby.

Ibrahim was keen to support his wife while she was expecting Bello. “I provided everything I could when she was pregnant,” he remembers, “And the IRC have helped not only us but the entire community. There is nothing I can say to the IRC other than to thank them.”

A Nigerian man and woman sit on a rug outside holding their baby.

“He’s a very kind and nice person,” Hussaini says of her husband. “That is why I agreed to marry him and choose him as the father to my children.”

“I see the respect she has for herself,” Ibrahim says. “That is why I love her.” He is confident that Hussaini will teach Bello “the ways of life—she will put him on the right track.”

A Nigerian woman smiles and holds a baby who is swaddled in a blanket.

Bello’s relatives have been happy to meet him (above). The little one is even named after Ibrahim’s brother. “I saw how kind my elder brother is,” Ibrahim says. “That is why I named [the baby] after him.”

Wearing an vest with an IRC logo, Murna looks at the camera and smiles.

As for her role in this and other happy births, Murna describes it as a blessing. “I enjoy serving people,” she says. “There's this joy that you have afterwards. They really appreciate you.”

Sharing such an important moment as the birth of a baby makes Murna “feel complete”.

A Nigerian man smiles and holds his baby while sitting on a rug.

Ibrahim says he’ll be happy seeing Bello grow into a man that helps his community:

“I pray that Bello grows up into a healthy adult. I’ll be proud of him, and he’ll be proud of me as a father.”

A Nigerian woman smiles while holding her baby and being looked at by husband who sits on a wheelbarrow.

Adds Hussaini, “I hope Bello becomes a good person to help people, the community—and me, his mother.”

Welcome to the world, little Bello! Here’s to a bright future.

A Nigerian woman cradles the head of her baby.

*Last names have been omitted to protect the story subjects' privacy. 

The IRC's work with the European Union

Hussaini gave birth to Baby Bello at an IRC clinic funded by the European Union in northeast Nigeria. IRC midwife Murna helped deliver the baby.

The IRC provides access to reproductive health clinics, with support from the European Union, supplying midwives to help mothers through pregnancy, birth and beyond. This article was originally published at Rescue-UK.org.