On a stormy night in June, Rosemary lay in the darkness of her home in a deserted village in Myanmar’s Mindat township, gripped by labour contractions as Mai Nightingale, a 25-year-old midwife, tried to stifle her cries.

“Only the two of us were left alone in the village. We closed all the doors and windows of the house and stayed quietly inside,” said Mai Nightingale. “When she felt pain, I put a blanket in her mouth because we feared that soldiers might hear her.” Like others interviewed for this article, Al Jazeera has used pseudonyms for Mai Nightingale and Rosemary for their safety.

Rosemary’s contractions had begun the previous night, but with soldiers approaching her village in southern Chin State, she and the other villagers fled

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