Throughout my whole pregnancy I lived outside. I felt like people couldn’t avert their eyes quick enough. It was worse than not being seen — it was like looking at you was painful. You feel like a ghost. It’s the craziest thing in the world. You feel like there’s real people and then there’s you over here.
But it gave me something to care about. I really started trying to eat better, to make sure that I was getting full meals. I was drawn to St. Anthony’s because out of anywhere I’d go, this is the place where I’d feel the most respected and cared for. You guys had great meals and really sweet people serving them. It was special. It wasn’t just the food; it was being seen. You’d come here and feel like a real person.
You guys actually gave me the first toy my daughter ever had. My daughter was born in January, and in December, you had a Christmas thing here and I got a toy for her. It was this little clown thing with four pieces that you put together for a baby. It was really a special moment to have that. It made me feel better. I thought, Okay, now I’ve got something for my baby, I can do this.
When I was six months pregnant, my water broke. I went into the hospital and I was in there for a couple of days. They were going to give me a C-section. I got steroids to pump up my daughter’s lungs because she was going to be premature. But in those two days, I re-sealed. They said that was really rare and that I was lucky. They said my daughter was really smart, that she was going to stay in there. They kept me in the hospital as long as they could, which was a couple weeks. Then I went back out and my pregnancy went as normal.
I’m very fortunate. My daughter was born perfect. And once I was in the hospital, pretty much as I was giving birth, they brought in social workers — all of the sudden, I had a whole team around me. I was able to call and reconnect with family. They stepped up and let me stay with them for the first couple of months until I was able to get services and then got my own place. My daughter’s dad stayed on the street for a couple months after that, but then he came and joined us. And then we had another kid.
My daughter came and saved my life. I cared so much about her that I was willing to do anything to stay with her. She’s 25 now. She’s had an exciting life. When she turned 18, she just started traveling. She’s traveled and worked in so many places in the world — from Hawaii to Colombia. And she did it all by herself. She’s so brave! I was a wreck. But she’s home now, managing a restaurant and deciding what she wants to do. She used to want to be a neonatal nurse, and now she wants to be an ultrasound technician for babies. She has a real interest in babies.”
Please support St. Anthony’s in making services like the Dining Room available to all, by making a generous gift today!