“We feel like that day we walked into the clinic was the day we accepted responsibilities. We also feel that our daughter wouldn't be with us if it weren't for you all. We were way ahead of the game thanks to you all. Parenting class always made our week. We enjoyed every second of it and definitely appreciated all the help.” – Client “J”
Imagine being a teenager, pregnant, and feeling like the world is against you. Imagine having everyone in your family pushing you to have an abortion, to give up on the child that is growing inside of you. Imagine your child’s life being lessened to a choice. That’s where this young woman found herself. “J” felt as if she had to choose between her child’s life and her family.
In becoming a young mother, she knew that there would be challenges that she would need help and support to navigate through. I remember “J” crying, stating that she didn’t know how she would provide for her child and she had no clue how to raise a baby. Surrounded mostly by negativity and very little support, “J” found a safe haven at Pregnancy Aid Clinic.
After meeting with her and her boyfriend, I strongly encouraged them to attend our weekly parenting classes. Initially they seemed against the idea. To my surprise, one Thursday evening the couple walked in with some hesitation. We immediately greeted them and did our best to make them feel comfortable. It was clear that the couple was uncomfortable in this setting.
Week after week the couple continued to come to class. Week after week their attitude around parenting began to be more and more positive. I wish I could say that I was the person that made these young parents comfortable and encouraged. I may have been a part of it, but I attribute the change to what I call our “hidden gems”.
You see, we are just a vessel. Our classes are here to inform and educate our parents. Attending our classes also allows for parents to get materials needed for the baby. But the most beneficial and most rewarding result for both teacher and student is the relationship and community building that happens among the class members. We become a family.
For many of our clients, family support and connection is lacking. It’s amazing to watch the class members rally around one another, offering their words of support, guidance, encouragement and love. They become each other’s advocates. I’m often amazed and brought to tears when I sit back and listen to them offer praise and reassurance to a parent that may be going through a difficult time, or when I hear about how they have connected outside of the clinic.
“J” came into PAC feeling defeated and alone. I believe that it was because of our awesome clients and volunteers surrounding her with love that she was able to push through. These people are our “hidden gems.” Parents that attend classes connect and grow with other parents in a positive way. They form bonds. They gain support. They are encouraged and become stronger families together.
Heather Williams is passionate about working with women and families. She loves working with PAC clients, helping them meet their needs and watching them grow. Heather is currently working towards her Masters of Divinity and enrolled in an Organizational Leadership program. She is one of our most fantastic "hidden gems" at PAC.