How Tender Care helped me…

“When I first came to Tender Care, and found out I was pregnant, I was scared and didn’t know what to do.  Now because of the support and education from Tender care, I am excited to be a mom.

I had always decided I wanted to wait until marriage to have sex. My boyfriend felt the same way. Unfortunately, neither of us were prepared for the serious temptation of sex so when we did fail into that temptation, we were not prepared for safe sex. When I took a pregnancy test out of fear, I was shocked that it was a clear positive. My world as I knew it came crashing down around me. I felt betrayed and broken. I was still in high school! My due date was two weeks after graduation! Would I be able to graduate? How was I going to be a mom? What would I do?

Throughout the pregnancy, people in my school and church shunned me, bullied me, and even tried to talk me into an abortion. Despite the pressure, I knew the baby inside me was alive and a person of his own. He deserved the best in life no matter how or when he was conceived.

My boyfriend and I knew we wanted to raise our baby ourselves, but we had no idea where to start. What supplies do you need? How do you safely put a baby to sleep? What carseat do you use? What’s the difference between breastfeeding and formula? How will we afford clothes and diapers?

My mother, who continued to support me throughout the pregnancy, suggested I start with parenting classes at Tender Care. They were free, flexible to my school schedule, and one-on-one with 100% privacy.

Tender Care parenting classes were a life saver! All my questions from safe sleeping to car seats to the birth process to breastfeeding were answered! I learned everything I needed to know to care for my baby. The teacher (Jackie) was calm and understanding. She never judged me and genuinely cared when she asked how I was doing. She offered me the emotional support I needed to stay strong in my desicion to raise my child.

My boyfriend came to the classes too. He was given special Daddy classes and one-on-one training. He learned along side me so we could equally raise our son. The classes were engaging to both of us with hands-on learning and games to help us remember everything.

Attending the classes also helped me to decide to breastfeed. I learned the benefits of breastfeeding and that having problems was okay and fixable. We were able to breastfeed through tongue and lip-ties, over supply, over-active letdown, and mastitis. Breastfeeding rates among teen moms are extremely low, but from what I learned, I was able to successfully breastfeed my son and we’re still going strong at 16 months.

In the classes, we also learned about post partum mental illnesses like PPD, PPA, and PPP. After my son was born, I suffered from PPD, PPA, and PPOCD. It was hard, but I believe learning about how important a mother’s mental health is during those classes helped me to recognize that my thoughts and behaviors were not normal so that I could reach out for help and get the proper treatment.

But the support didn’t end there! With the classes, we were given gifts. In the class where we learned about swaddling, we were given a pack of receiving blankets. In the breastfeeding class, I was given a bag of breastfeeding and pumping supplies.

After we completed all the classes and got our completion certificates (which we proudly hung in our home) and were taken to the baby boutique upstairs. There we were given everything we needed! We received a diaper bag filled with supplies, all the clothes our baby needed for his first three months, toys, books, bath time supplies, cups and bottles, gifts for each of us, and more! We made multiple trips in and out of the building to load up our car. Tender Care even gave us a voucher for a car seat which we used to buy my dream car seat and stroller combo! We lacked nothing we needed for the arrival of our baby!

I can never thank Tender Care enough for all they did for me and my family. We received the emotional and financial support we needed to be successful parents for our son. Not only were we physically equipped with what we needed, but we were reassured and excited to become parents.

Now, my boyfriend and I are married. We have a happy home filled with love for our son.   Coby is an energetic, healthy 16 month old who enjoys dancing, talking, and reading books. We are fortunate enough that my husband has a well paying job so I can be a stay-at-home mom and spend all day with our bundle of joy. Despite our rough start, we have a good life together as a family.

I honestly believe that Tender Care saves lives and my son and I are a testament to that.”