I grew up with low expectations for those around me and for humanity in general.
My mother passed away when I was 12 years old. My father was an alcoholic. My caretaker was abusive. Caught up in a rip current of disappointment and struggle, I found the sandy shore of success and happiness was always out of reach.
I had been arrested for drug possession and spent some time in the sex trade in order to provide for the four children I had, two sets of twins. Before I knew it, I was pregnant again, with another set of twins. At that time, I was still caught up in the aggressive tumble of the waves, struggling to provide for my family. I didn’t believe that I was capable of taking on more.
So, before I looked at the resources available to women like me or sought help, I had an abortion. It devastated me and left me with deep emotional trauma, which I still struggle with to this day.
I tried to find some stability in my schoolwork, but quickly fell back into the strong pull of the rip current. Six months before graduation, I was in the middle of a divorce, with 5-year-old twin girls, 3-year-old twin boys, and I was pregnant, again.
The thought of having another abortion crept through my mind, but the trauma of the first made me realize it might not be the answer. Still, led by fear and doubt, I looked for abortion facilities in my area, but instead stumbled upon a pregnancy resource center. Pondering my deep-felt need for help and healing, I decided to reach out.
At the time, I was unaware that nearly 3,000 pregnancy centers across the nation exist solely to help women in situations like mine, offering everything from free ultrasounds to financial support to housing.
At the pregnancy resource center, I soon discovered that the strong and compassionate staff who worked there had all been in situations similar to mine. I began meeting weekly with a team of certified professional life coaches who listened to my story and encouraged me to find my own voice—and my own choice.
For the first time in my life, I started to feel true support that was not accompanied by pressure to act one way or another. They were simply there to help me process my pregnancy and previous abortion and help me decide on my own terms what was best for me. Their goal was to “get me to the other side of my situation, whole and healthy.”
While I had gained some control and comfort through attending the weekly meetings, I was still considering an abortion. It seemed to me like there were so many circumstances preventing me from choosing life, including the run-down Ford Explorer I owned that was on its last legs, with no air conditioning or heat. Without a car, I would not be able to transport my four children, and certainly not six if I went through with the pregnancy.
Knowing this burden on me, the pregnancy resource center team organized a GoFundMe fundraising site campaign to raise money for a car. We had reached $1,500 in donations when a local car dealer, a man I had never met before, called the pregnancy resource center to inform them that he would be buying a car for my family and me.
When I asked why a total stranger would be so generous, those at the center stated, “We are just here to help people. It doesn’t matter if you need a little help or a lot. We are just here to help.”
With my low expectations of those around me, I never in my wildest dreams expected to receive what I did from the center, from the love and compassion that I experienced to a new car that could transport my growing family.
I continued my schooling, graduated, and now have degrees in human services and criminal justice, and hope to work with law enforcement in the future to deescalate situations with drug addicts. I want to show others—just as the pregnancy resource center showed me—that there are always options, and there is a whole lot of good in humanity.
I gave birth to two beautiful girls and am now surrounded by more love than I could have ever imagined.
The people at the pregnancy resource center were my life raft. They saw me struggling to stay afloat, pulled me in, and rescued me. Now, with my six children by my side, I am ready to walk the shores of success and happiness.
Mariah is the mother of three sets of twins, who asked to remain anonymous.
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