Most of the time, people don’t think about how incredible it is to be able to take a hot shower or climb into bed and pull up the clean, crisp sheets and fall asleep. They don’t worry about where they can brush their teeth or getting up to use the restroom in the middle of the night. They just do it.
They come home after work and have dinner, maybe watch television, talk to their family, do laundry, and get ready for bed. If they have small children, they might read them a bedtime story, give them a snack, say their prayers, fold a basket of clothes. It all seems so normal. It’s life as usual. Some might even say it’s the same old same old.
But for Teneisha, life was anything but normal. Teneisha’s mother was addicted to drugs. Her home life was so dysfunctional that Teneisha was in and out of foster care for years. She left home at an early age, fell in love, and became pregnant. Unfortunately, happiness was short lived when the love of her life, and the father of her baby, passed away.
“He was my best friend. He was my everything.”
With no one to help her, Teneisha struggled to make ends meet for her and her baby while living out of her car.
Teneisha also had to manage stressors that most of us never have to consider:
- Where can I park the car at night so we can sleep safely?
- Where can I take my child to the bathroom in the middle of the night?
- Where can I go to shower?
- How will I provide healthy food for, much less entertain a young child?
And then the unexpected happened: Teneisha discovered she was four months pregnant with a second child.
“I was four months pregnant and sleeping in my car. I was homeless. I already had one baby. I couldn’t be homeless and have two babies. I knew I couldn’t do this while living house to house, and place to place.”
Desperation didn’t come close to describing the fear and anxiety plaguing Teneisha. Life had been a series of difficult, unfair, and impossible situations—each one catapulting off the next. Loss upon loss, heartache upon sorrow. Her life already felt desperate.
Anxious thoughts swirled: You are barely managing now… just surviving day to day. How can you possibly care for another child in your current situation… you and two children living out of your car?! Feeling completely overwhelmed, she decided the only thing she could do was seek an abortion.
Thankfully, she called Human Coalition’s call center. The kind and compassionate person who answered the phone explained there was help available so that she could choose life. As Teneisha spoke with the call agent, the overwhelming heaviness she’d been feeling began to dissipate. She started to see some ways to give her baby a chance at life. She began to feel hope instead of fear, and relief instead of dread.
The call agent connected Teneisha with a nearby Human Coalition women’s care clinic where should could receive a free ultrasound.
“When I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I was like, ‘I’m gonna keep it.’ It made me smile from the inside out. I’m growing a human inside me. And that’s a human I’m gonna be responsible for, for the rest of my life.”
While Teneisha’s situation felt dire and hopeless at first, she found that with support and care, nothing is hopeless. Through Human Coalition’s Continuum of Care program, she found the help and encouragement she so desperately needed to choose life. And later she gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby boy.
Throughout her pregnancy journey, Teneisha kept in touch with our staff at the women’s care clinic. She says,
“They were helpful. They were like, ‘If you need anything as far as diapers… If you just need to talk….’ I used to go in there just to talk their heads off. And they would still listen to me. You know, I got everyone’s text messages saying things like, ‘Oh, how are you doing? How are your babies doing?’ It put a smile on my face. Like okay, she was thinking about me today.”
Teneisha found the courage to choose life for her little boy because others cared about her, came alongside her, and offered her help and care.
Isn’t it amazing what kindness and support can accomplish? Every day, vulnerable and hurting women just like Teneisha find themselves in seemingly impossible situations. However, when they discover there is compassionate support available to them, they find the courage and strength to choose life.