by Katie Shryer, Director of Client Services at the Pregnancy Resource Center in the New River Valley
*name changed to protect client confidentiality
Squeals of joy, laughter and the sound of feet jumping up and down echoed throughout the hallways of the center.
“What is going on?” a staff member asked. It was Grace*, one of our first time moms, receiving her layette basket full of baby clothes, a handmade diaper bag, diapers, blankets, and toiletries. She was ecstatic.
Around their due date, we give these layettes out to each of our clients who complete a section of our Earn While You Learn Program. We have never seen anyone so happy to receive one as Grace was! It was a party indeed as she hugged us, telling us she loved us and how she couldn’t thank us enough for everything. “I can’t tell you how much this has meant to me,” Grace said. “You’ve made this fun. You didn’t just treat me lke another girl who got pregnant.”
Grace had come to us months ago for her pregnancy test, and at that time she was very uncertain of her child’s future. She was a senior in college and had big plans. While the nurse performed an ultrasound to determine how far along she was, Grace asked anxiously, “Is it alive?” When the nurse replied that it was, Grace began to cry. As we talked afterward, it was evident that the excitement in her was beginning to build. She was seriously considering parenting, but wanted tot talk with her boyfriend before fully making a decision.
Within a few weeks Grace was back at the center to begin her Earn While You Learn classes. Now in her second trimester, she wanted to go back and make sure she watched all of the first trimester classes; she was intent on not missing anything. Over the course of the next few months as her story continued to unfold, we learned that the father of the baby was uncertain about a parenting choice for them and preferred adoption. Grace had wrestled with this choice herself before she had told her family, but once her family expressed their overwhelming support of her decision to parent, Grace felt like she could do it. She made the choice to parent, even if the baby’s father didn’t feel like he could join her, and she was confident in her choice.
Grace continued coming to her classes faithfully, building great relationships with her client advocates. One day she came into the center, bouncing around, trying to contain her excitement until he couldn’t hold it in anymore and burst out, “It’s a girl!” The day before she left to go home to have the baby, when she picked up her basket, hugs, excitement and smiles abounded all around. She has promised to send pictures and visit once her daughter is born so we can celebrate with her once again!