I never planned on being a parent.
I was one of those women who just didn’t like kids. So when I found out I was pregnant while livingÂ six hours from my family, I was surprised and definitely unprepared to be a mother. I cried, I cursed, I told no one and then found an adoption attorney to start the process of placing my unborn baby for adoption all while single-handedly raising the stock profit price of Wendys frosties.
I’ll spare you the details of my changing heart, but I held my daughter and knew letting her go wasn’t an option. Problem being, what also wasn’t an option was taking an infant “home” – me living in a room in a house full of single, childless people.
Suddenly I had a helpless infant and no home. Homeless. A social worker, a child protective services worker and a psychiatrist walked into my hospital room… it seems despite my telling them where to go and how to get there if they thought for one second I was walking away from my baby, they decided to help me out anyway.
They found me a bed at a shelter for young pregnant women and women with babies. If I had any hope of not having C.A.S. step in and make my previous dreams of a child-free life come true, I was leaving everything behind and moving into what I thought was the scariest place on earth, a homeless shelter.
Walking into St. Mary’s Home that day forever changed me. For three months I was surrounded by anger, fear, acceptance, love, friendship and women who became more then family to me. Women who made me a better person, who taught me to be myself, who loved me for no reason other then I was myself. For the first time, I became strong enough to stand up to injustices, strong enough to be myself.
People think of homeless people or homeless shelters and think of drug addicts, abuse victims, people with uncontrolled mental health issues. What they don’t think of often are the scared children trapped in adult bodies just trying to keep safe and warm. The people crying out for help not a hand out. People like me, a middle class white girl from suburbia whose world changed in the blink of an eye.
It’s been two years. Two years since my infant daughter and I spent Christmas in a homeless shelter. Unless you knew me, you wouldn’t have a clue.
The face of homelessness is not the face you think it might be. So please remember that the smallest gesture of generosity is the one that means the most. You never know who has been through or is going through hell.
by Jodi Sonoda
Article Courtesy: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca