I first came to the Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center in September of 2012. When I walked in, I was terrified of how this pregnancy was going to affect my future. How could someone like me possibly give a child everything they would need? I was certain that I would fall short as a mother. I was also fearful of becoming a single mother, as I was raised by a single mom and witnessed first-hand the struggles she faced. My boyfriend had already expressed that he was angry about the pregnancy. When I walked through that door, my heart was racing and nothing felt real. After a test at the center confirmed that I was pregnant, we discussed what my options were. I chose then and there that parenting my son was the only option for me. I knew that this baby was innocent, and I couldn't find it in my heart to make any other choice. After that was decided, they started the process of helping me prepare for my son. The parenting classes they offered were a big part of this preparation. They include all basic parenting skills, from how to change a diaper to how to soothe a crying baby. I have a background in child care and child development classes, but the center offered me practical information and material resources that made me confident in my ability to parent my son.
After informing those around me that I was expecting, the pressure really started to set in. I was encouraged by a few to have an abortion, and when I expressed unwillingness, some encouraged me to choose adoption. I had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and had been emotionally unstable for years following the death of my mother in 2009. I understood why people thought that it was not a good idea for me to parent, but at that point I had already spent a lot of time with the women at the center who encouraged and mentored me along the way so I was fully confident in my ability to parent the sweet baby I was carrying. The counseling I received at the center had completely changed the way I viewed myself. For the first time since I walked through their doors I was able to see the value in myself and how much I had to offer this child. I was actually very excited to have my son Oliver and couldn't wait to kiss his squishy baby cheeks!
Fast forward to May of 2014. Oliver’s first birthday is weeks away, and it has been the absolute most wonderful year of my life. And then there it was. The positive test staring back at me. I was sent into a whirlwind of emotions. My boyfriend and I had been off and on since Oliver’s birth. I had since moved back home with my grandparents and felt like this pregnancy may change that. I come from a strong Christian family, and thought they would get fed up and give up on me after repeating the same mistakes. I remember thinking that the last thing I needed right now was another child. I knew what this meant for me; what it meant for Oliver. With the test in hand, I called Claire at the pregnancy resource center. Through the sobs, Claire comforted me and assured me everything was going to be okay. But let me tell you, nothing felt okay. For the first time in my life I understood how it felt to be faced with the choice of abortion. It seemed like an easy solution to a big problem. I could make this all go away; I had to make it all go away. It wasn't fair to Oliver, and I couldn't make him suffer the consequences of my choices. And then these fleeting thoughts passed, and I knew that I was going to have another child. The reality hit me that I couldn’t make my unborn baby suffer for the choices that I made. With Claire's encouragement, I was able to break the news first to my grandmother, and then to the rest of my family. After the initial shock, my family continued to be the amazing support system they have always been.
Now let me take you to today. My son Milo is the happiest baby you'll ever meet. His smile is contagious and his shrieks of delight are heartwarming. Oliver is an amazing big brother, and I could not be prouder. He is intuitive of his brother's needs and is always willing to offer a helping hand. They are small but mighty, and overflow with love for everyone. I had some big mountains to climb throughout my pregnancy with Milo, but I am in a much better place than I've ever been. Job opportunities came my way, and with the help of my family and those at the Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center, I am able to provide a stable and loving home for my children. I have been told by many that I am a good mother, and I believe that my boys will be a ray of light in the lives of many others.
Through God, my family, and the guidance of the wonderful women at the center, I have become a new person. My children have driven me to accomplish more than I ever imagined. Nannying for relatives allows me to stay home with my boys while providing a comfortable life for them. I have also become a licensed notary, and plan to pursue that more as the boys get older. Right now I am rediscovering the world through the eyes of my children. They have brought back my youthful zest for life, and I couldn't be more excited for our future as a family!
My relationship with the women at the center has evolved throughout all of this. I don't consider them just mentors, but some of my dearest friends. This center has become my home away from home and I couldn't imagine my life without it. I'm so thankful for Melanie's bright smile when I walk through the door, and for Terri who always has the sweetest words of encouragement. The director, Carolyn, is an incredible woman who love seems to flow out of like a river. And then there is Claire. My mentor, my friend, and my voice when I can't seem to find the right words. She has listened to me pour my heart out as I told her why I had no value. She listened to me painstakingly describe why I felt I deserved the negativity from my ex-boyfriend. And she loved me still. In her eyes my life was always precious. God gave me these women when I needed them most, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.