JanaiEvery morning I wake up to my precious human alarm clock.  There’s no need to set any other alarms because she’s on a two hour wake schedule.  Then it is time for a diaper change, bottle feed, burp, feed again, burp, then sleep again.  Finally, this is my chance to get dressed!  I rush to take care of myself before her next wake up.  This is when it hits me, my life is not about me anymore, and I wouldn’t change it.  I made the best decision to parent my child, and I am thankful for the help and support that I received from Houston Pregnancy Help Center.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I was living my life happily. I had just reconnected with God and was pursuing my life dreams. I grew up in one of the poorest neighborhood in Washington D.C., so my father always motivated my sisters and I to achieve higher education and plan for a career.  With only one semester left, I was preparing to graduate from Texas Southern University in Houston with a degree in Marketing.  I was excited to be the college graduate in my family!  In my opinion I was on top of the world, but in reality, someone else’s world was just beginning.

After a few suspicions about being pregnant, I found the Houston Fifth Ward Pregnancy Help Center and went to confirm my pregnancy. I met with the case manager there and she welcomed me with a smile and encouraged me that they were there to help.  When she told me that my pregnancy test was positive I was in complete denial because pregnancy for me equated to homelessness, no support, and an obstacle to finishing college! I also knew that my family would be extremely disappointed because this is the last thing they would expect from me.  The case manager was very helpful and was willing to listen to me.  I never felt judged.  Even though I tried to keep it together on the outside, I was overwhelmed with emotions on the inside.  She brought a proper perspective to my situation by giving adequate information on all my options, and I never felt rushed.

I knew that if I ever was to conceive a child I would choose life, but there were still many important decisions to be made.  Would I be able to care for this child? Can I support him/her?  Will I be we willing to make myself second for the rest of my life? The choice for me was the hardest decision I would ever have to make because the innocent baby blooming inside my belly was the outcome of date rape.  This created emotions I’ve never experienced before, and I didn’t know how to cope with this situation of being violated, so I didn’t tell anyone.  The pregnancy center helped me see what reality would look life if I were to choose either route of parenting or adoption.  They even told me about the abortion procedure and the risks involved. I also expressed concerned about housing because I knew I couldn’t keep a baby on campus, and the case manager provided several maternity housing options. I visited the help center again the next week to get a free ultrasound, and I got to see my little baby for the first time.  I had never met people who were so genuine and caring.  The pregnancy center staff drew me in and made me feel comfortable enough to ask questions and sign up for their birthing and childcare classes the center offered.  The classes were very helpful because before them I didn’t even know how to change a diaper! I went to all six classes and learned how to provide love, praise, and discipline to my child.  Furthermore, the Fifth Ward Help Center also helped me by providing necessary infant care items.  

After I decided to parent my child and for the last 4 months of my pregnancy I went to live at Lifehouse, one of the maternity homes the Pregnancy Center referred to me.  There I was able to open up, receive counseling, and learn to heal.  The people in these two organizations changed my perspective on life and people by making me feel loved and appreciated.  This impacted my life in undescribed ways because I’ve never had that support growing up.  It also allowed me to learn to love myself again and have room to also fill the heart of my child with love.

Currently, my child is 2 months old and is the most precious gift I have ever been blessed with.  Even though she is now born, I continue to communicate with the people at the pregnancy center and maternity home.  Not only because they offer post- partum resources, but because I feel connected with the people I will keep in contact throughout my life.  I know that life would have been different and more difficult without the resources and love I was given.  My precious one and I were able to honorably walk across the stage during graduation with pride knowing we have made it this far.  I am always happy to share about the Houston Fifth Ward Pregnancy Center to any woman in need!