To tell you my story you first need to know a little about my mother. At 19 my mother gave birth to my oldest sister. When my sister was 3 months old, my mother gave up her rights to my sister and my grandparents adopted her.
After a few years of self-medicating a depression, my mother found herself pregnant and alone for the second time. She met and married the man who would be my father before giving birth. This is when my mother went from “party girl” to battered wife. Two years later my brother was born, and two years after that, I was born.
I don’t remember much of that time. However, I do recall being hungry, dirty, and scared all of the time. My father used drugs, alcohol, violence, and us children to control my mother. My father locked us outside or in the basement, and beat my mother and us kids until she did what he wanted her to do.
When I was three the police came through the door and took my father to the ground, and we were taken from my parents and placed in the care of my Grandmother and her sisters. My great aunt took amazing care of me until she was too old and sick.
I was nine years old and bounced from home to home, I ran away and became homeless. But I still finished school and became a preschool teacher. I saved up and spent two years volunteering in Ecuador and Costa Rica teaching English and some time working with women who were victims of human trafficking. During part of that time I was in a controlling, and at times, abusive relationship. When I came back to the U.S., I left the relationship and started over.
After some time of self-reflecting and a lot of “me” time, my roommate took me out for breakfast, and I re-met my childhood sweetheart.
We fell in love and got married. We wanted to start a family but I had a history of fertility problems, and we were broke. Never the less, a few weeks after our delayed honeymoon, my husband convinced me to take a pregnancy test. And as more often than not, he was right.
I made an appointment for maternity care and signed up for WIC. At my first appointment, I was told I qualified for the Nurse- Family Partnership. I was willing to take all the help I could get. What I didn’t know that day was how much of an impact these programs would have on my short and long term goals. I was high risk when I was pregnant. WIC worked with my being a vegetarian and helped me be able to eat the healthy foods I needed for the baby.
Nurse-Family Partnership gave me my very own nurse who kept care over my health, my son’s health, and gave me a wealth of information about my ever changing pregnant body. Helping me know what was normal and what needed to be talked about at my well visits. The nurse would call me when my blood pressure was high, and helped me understand when I needed to let myself rest.
My nurse even knew I was in labor before I did.
After I gave birth, my nurse kept a close eye on my health and gave me the confidence that I was doing a good job teaching and caring for me.
Without programs like WIC, Maternity, and Nurse-Family Partnership, I would not have had access to the food, medical attention, or education I needed as a first time mom. So I would like to thank NFP on behalf of my son, husband, and all the hundreds of new moms and their babies.
Sarah, Lackawanna County