The Wisdom of the Aunts
“What I remember most was all of my aunts standing around my hospital bed, encouraging me.”
Having a baby as a teenager is scary, and Emelia was beginning a journey into the unknown . . . but the women in her extended family let her know that becoming a mother was a life-changing experience that brought both challenges and opportunities.
“They told me that I would grow by becoming a mother; that I would understand things in a new way. They said that I would become more mature and that I would now know what my own mother lived through for me. I felt encouraged and cared for.”
Emelia came alone to our center during the pregnancy. (The baby’s father was not involved.) Although she was clearly afraid and unsure, she had a willingness to learn all she could about caring for her baby. Emelia signed up for Learn While You Earn classes, earning all the items she would need to prepare for her baby’s birth – a pack n’ play, car seat, baby clothing, feeding items, etc. In her education sessions, she learned about prenatal care, tending to a newborn, good nutrition for herself and her baby, and much more. She diligently completed all lesson worksheets. Client advocates at our center helped her with financial resources, housing and food for herself and her extended family.
Her pregnancy meant that it was more complicated to complete her high school education, but Emelia enrolled in a school for pregnant teens and moved forward to graduation. In the process, she helped her family to navigate poverty.
Recently, Emelia returned to Women’s Life Care Center, pregnant for a second time. In the four years since her first pregnancy, she has not lost her bright smile or joyful disposition.
We are grateful that she has returned to us, that she feels at home here. Within the last few months, she has completed our parenting education, life coaching and our maternal wellness programs. She is in a serious relationship with the father of her second child, headed towards marriage. She is employed full time in retail and beginning to make new plans for a future career. There are many challenges, but she is learning to build on her strengths. Her problem-solving and confidence grow with each hurdle. Although she has completed the criteria for all the programs the center has to offer, she continues to visit us for life coaching sessions – and to stay connected with us.
As Emelia continues to look positively towards the future, the encouragement that her aunts gave her years ago resonates in her assurance:
“So many people have supported me. I have learned to ask for help -- and to appreciate that help. I feel like I have grown so much.”