In my mid-twenties, I was doing things that didn’t match up with my faith and moved in with my boyfriend. I didn’t think I could get pregnant, but one night I experienced some symptoms of pregnancy and my pregnancy test came out positive!
When I told my boyfriend, he went three shades of white. We didn’t have any resources and we were living in a stressful environment. Maybe it was all in my head, but even going to the store I felt unwanted stares of judgment directed towards me and my pregnant belly and finger with no ring on it.
Then we moved to Moscow, Idaho, and began attending a new church. The pastor approached us and asked if he could help us in any way. Without missing a beat, my boyfriend replied, “Well, she’s pregnant, and we need to get married.” The pastor went on to help us with premarital counseling and finances.
That summer we also discovered Palouse Care Network through a family member. The first time I walked into PCN feeling nervous. I just needed one place, even just one voice that would help reinforce that I was loved and that I was going to be a good mom. I needed people to share the joy of our first ultrasound and to celebrate with us when we found out we were having a girl. Instead of shame, I needed someone, anyone, to welcome my baby in and celebrate and adore her. For me PCN was that place. It has become my sanctuary – a place with no shame.
The support did not stop there. When I had severe postpartum depression, PCN became my life-force. Coming to classes, got me out of the house and out of my overwhelming dark thoughts. The teachers would pray for me, pouring into me the worth that I didn’t feel like I had.
When my daughter had asthma, teachers and students showered me with love and positivity. Many of my fellow class members have become life-long friends. This past winter, my family was hit hard with various trials and I knew that there should be a light at the end of the tunnel, but I just couldn’t see it. One day in class I burst into tears. Everyone gathered around me and prayed for me and my family. They helped me get through one of the darkest times in my life.
PCN gave me the space to figure out how to be the mom I am called to be. Every stage of infancy was a new learning experience but I was ready because they gave me the support I so desperately needed. My life is a journey of finding the strength I never knew I had. The process of becoming a strong mom is painful, but as my daughter grows, I am growing too. Thanks to the love, support, mentoring, and friendship I’ve been given at PCN, I know now that I can do anything!