Opinion

Video: How one D.C. mom and baby found a home away from home

Aneshia

Nobody liked Aneshia’s new boyfriend.

Recently released from jail but full of promises, Aneshia’s mother saw trouble from a mile away. As she urged her daughter to break things off and focus on seeing her associate’s degree to its conclusion, mother and daughter clashed to the point that Aneshia wanted out of the house.

When Aneshia moved in with her grandmother, she was frustrated to see that her grandmother, like her mother, was convinced the new relationship she had stepped into was self-destructive.

Feeling her family was ganging up on her, Aneshia isolated herself from them, trusting her new boyfriend to provide the support and confidence she felt she lacked.

Then Aneshia found out she was pregnant. When she told her boyfriend, he disappeared, leaving her entirely alone.

She knew she didn’t want an abortion, but Aneshia needed a place to call home and welcome her new baby into the world.

“By the grace of God, a spot opened up at the maternity home two weeks before my due date,” Aneshia said in a video recorded for Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress. “Pregnant and all, I moved all my stuff with the help of one friend. I was just in pieces when Susan [the maternity home director] found me. I was crying all the time, and I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Today, Aneshia and her 1-year-old daughter, Cameron, still live at the Northwest Pregnancy Center’s residential maternity home. Aneshia is a senior biology student at The University of District Columbia, and hopes to pursue her Ph.D. in the field.

Along the way, the experience of motherhood—plus the life-on-life contact of a maternity home—equipped Aneshia with the tools and humility she needed to repair broken relationships with her family members.

“She’s everything to me right now,” Aneshia says of her daughter. “With the maternity home and their program, they just helped me create a path for myself and for my child. I’m excelling now. She’s so smart. I look at her and I think, ‘Wow, my mom loves me like that.’ So now, we have a different relationship, because I see how much she loves me because of how much I love my baby.”

“Without [the maternity home] I don’t know where I’d be right now.”

Aneshia was one of six moms who went to Capitol Hill to tell their story of how pregnancy help has rescued their families and empowered them to make healthy decisions Jan. 21 as part of Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress.

Aneshia told her story to the offices of U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA), along with U.S. Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

You can watch Aneshia and the rest of the 2016 Babies Go to Congress moms share their stories here. Click here for pictures from the day. If you are pregnant, and in need of help, you can contact OptionLine.org (1-800-712-HELP or Text HELPLINE to 313131).

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared at Pregnancy Help News on January 26, 2016, and is reprinted here with permission. You can subscribe to Pregnancy Help News weekly newsletter here.

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