Two Lives Changed - A client impact story
“I was in my last semester of school and I had a friend that had been to Refuge and she spoke very highly of it. She said that the staff here was very comforting, so I came. I confirmed my pregnancy here. When I first came, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I hadn’t told the father or anyone except my best friend. The ladies were so comforting and welcoming of the baby. They were excited and that was so important to me because I was in college. I knew my parents were not going to want to hear that I was pregnant. The guy I was with was not going to want to hear it. I felt nobody was going to want to hear that I am pregnant. No one in my life was going to be excited, but the ladies at Refuge were. That made me feel good! It made me feel confident to speak to my parents and the father, because I had someone in my corner. My parents handled it well. They told me that the main thing was that I needed to stay in school and finish my education.
Next was to tell my child’s father. He did not take it well. I was shocked because we had been together for over 6 years. He was my high school sweetheart. He wanted me to get an abortion. That crushed me. He told me that having the baby and still going off to school would be very selfish. He said that I would be a bad mom, that I would never be able to do anything for my child and that I would have a hard life. He told me that we would struggle, and that he would not be there for us. He pulled out all the stops to convince me that abortion was my only choice. His argument was all based on his experience growing up with a single mom. He said that because his mom struggled raising him as a single mom, that was exactly how I was going to be. I was devastated by his reaction. Then I came back to Refuge.
When I came back, I broke down and told them everything. I thought that my child’s father was the love of my life. His opinion weighed heavily on me. Up to this point I thought highly of him and respected his opinion. When I spoke with my advocate at Refuge (Sandy), she talked me down and she told me that my parents were right that finishing school would be the best thing, so I am able to provide for myself and my child. It ensures that we would be able to live a happy life and we would be ok. She told me that I will face challenges just like anybody else, but overall, I will be ok, and it will be the best decision ever. So, I took that advice from her and I chose to ignore what my child’s father was saying. He got to a point shortly after I made my decision to no longer speak to me. That was hard, but I love the fact that Refuge continuously reached out for me. Throughout my pregnancy, the ladies at Refuge were there for me emotionally and spiritually. I was able to stay strong. I knew I was going to be ok. Even when I was in school, the phone calls and emails to just get an update and check in on my wellbeing meant the world to me. It brightened my day every time. Even if I was having a horrible day and panic and anxiety were setting in, just having those ladies reach out to me and encourage me gave me the boost I needed to know I was not alone, and we were going to be ok.
After my child was born, I came back to Refuge to get help with baby items. My parents were helping me, but I wanted to contribute. Being able to know that I could get things like diapers, wipes and formula helped me out so much…especially in the beginning. I was trying to get on my feet. Being a student and new mom was very challenging. I am so appreciative of all the help that I received from Refuge. These things helped carry me through until I was able to provide for him myself. I love my child and I am 1000% sure that I made the right choice. I do not regret my decision one bit. I am now finished with school. My child and I are self-sufficient, and we are living our best life. Because I was able to finish school and have a medical diploma that includes Ultrasound Technician, my hope is to someday be able to come back to Refuge. This time it will be as a volunteer. I want to give back to the people that meant so much to me. I want to help other young women, that find themselves in a similar situation, realize that life goes on and that choosing to keep their child will be the best choice they could ever make.”