Jean’s story – How did I get here?

“How did I get here?

I asked myself this as I sat in a room at Tender Care for the first time, back in July.  I was freaking out on the inside as the nice ladies gave me a pregnancy test and told me about my options.  I was a restaurant manager that had recently quit because I was raped by a coworker.  I was divorced about a year ago and was still feeling the sting of not being able to get pregnant after we tried for a couple years.  I was recently cleaning homes just to get by.  And now I was PREGNANT?! What kind of twisted life did I get stuck in?

To tell you my story with Tender Care, I have to first tell you how I was introduced to this wonderful organization.  And to do that I have to tell you intimate details of my recent life.  As I mentioned before, I was raped.  About a month later my period didn’t show up.  I took a pregnancy test doubting that it would be positive because it never had been before.  I waited what seemed like an eternity and looked at the test. . . IT WAS POSITIVE.  I was speechless.  I fell to my knees.  I prayed.  I prayed to have the strength to do whatever I needed to do for this child.  Over the next couple days I took 8 more at-home pregnancy tests I was convinced that it was his.

The first people I told were my detective and counselor that were assigned to my case.  They heard about Tender Care through word of mouth and helped me make an appointment with them right away.  I was a deer in the headlights.  I slept with one person after this man, but there was no way that it could have been that guy’s, right?  That small thought was in my head as I entered the doors to Tender Care in Westminster with my case counselor.  There were two ladies that took me to a room to listen to my story and tell me about all of my options.  They told me about abortion, adoption, and parenting.  Since my situation was delicate, they made sure to explain all of my options in detail and answer all my questions about each option.  I decided that no matter what, I would give birth to a precious little baby.  My case counselor and I went to another room for a sonogram.  I held my breath as the nurse showed me the little baby that was inside me.  There was a heartbeat.  She told me that the baby was a little younger that I thought.  I began to cry as I realized that there was no way it could be his.

I started going to parent classes as my life began to fall apart.  I quit my job because of my assault, I started cleaning homes to try to make ends meet, and I told the baby’s father that I was pregnant and it didn’t go how I imagined it would.  Tender Care was more than just parent classes to me.  They were an outlet for my stress and confusion.  They listened to me cry and answered all of my silly questions I had as a first time mom.  I had a difficult time trusting anyone at this time because of everything I was going through, but I trusted these ladies.

I began a new restaurant management job in October.  Tender Care was there to celebrate with me.  I called them in tears later as I was getting too pregnant for my clothes and couldn’t afford to buy any maternity clothes.  They helped right away and offered anything I needed.  I was so humbled to have to ask for help. My dad’s girlfriend and Tender Care got me all the maternity clothes I needed.  Soon after that Tender Care was with me as my car was repo’d and I was almost evicted from my home.  I walked to the doctor’s appointment to find out the gender. I was having a boy!  I borrowed a car to get to my Tender Care appointment. Since I quit my first job, I was running out of savings and the very little I made from cleaning homes. I didn’t get paid from my new job until a week or two after I started. I was already so behind. My church community was there to help send prayers and feed me. My friends and family were there to help me financially. In December I was blessed with a home that I could afford and a family that I will forever be grateful for.

In January, I was planning the last few parent classes with Tender Care and the arrival of my little blessing.  My baby was due March 16. We decided that my last class and graduation should be done about a month before this.  Baby had another plan in mind.  I went into labor while at work on January 29.  My baby boy took his first breath on February 1.  6 weeks early and 6lbs 9oz. He was in the NICU for 17 long days. I finished my parent classes in the small time that I wasn’t at the NICU. My parent class graduation was celebrated with my little guy. (:

As a new parent, I felt overwhelmed. I remembered the lessons I learned in my parent class as I was doing things.  I remember the swaddle class, car seat class, breastfeeding class, etc… I wasn’t able to take any birthing classes before hand but that’s okay. I still had fun giving birth! (; I randomly think of what I’ve learned and try to teach others. Even though I had babysat and nannied since I was 12, there was nothing to make me 100% prepared for my own little bundle of joy. But this class made me pretty close to 100%.  I will never forget this organization and I will always remember everything that they have done for me. Thank you ladies for everything. I don’t know what I would have done without your love and support through all these difficult times.”

IF you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and want to talk with someone who care, contact Tender Care.

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*names changed to protect identity