Submitted by Fresh Start Maternity Supports
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was so scared…” -Ashley, current resident
Many young women can understand and relate to this statement from Ashley, a current resident at Fresh Start Maternity Supports.
For many mothers, an unplanned pregnancy is a joyous and celebratory surprise filled with excitement. It involves writing long lists of names, deciding a colour for the nursery, and fun pregnancy announcements. When they share the news of their pregnancy, they are surrounded with rounds of congratulations and love.
However, for many mothers, such as Ashley, discovering that they are pregnant is enough to bring their life to a standstill. There is uncertainty around their future, fear of telling loved ones, and anxiety with the thought of raising a child. In some cases, more complications are present such as mental health, learning disabilities, addictions, and abusive relationships. For the mother, it all comes back down to the ultimate question… “What am I going to do?”
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” This well-known verse in Psalms speaks directly into the heart and mission of Fresh Start Maternity Supports. Fresh Start aims to provide an active and positive pro-life response to a mother in need of options. When society sees a single mother, stereotypical opinions consist of negative judgments; “she deserved it, what did she think was going to happen, she’s the type” etc. There is often the expectation and a strong push for the mother to keep the child, but the support often stops there. Fresh Start is there to give a mother the place and opportunity to demonstrate that they can overcome single mother statistics. We do everything in our power to allow these women to see what God sees in them and support them through pregnancy, motherhood, and life. When society sees a child as a mistake and their single mother as a burden, we see potential, hope, and a future.
When Ashley discovered she was pregnant for the second time, her world stopped. “I was nervous to tell my family. I didn’t want to tell my mom, and when I did, she pushed for me to get an abortion.” People in her circle encouraged her to abort, and often reminded her that she was a disappointment. Some family members stopped speaking to her completely. As a result, she ended up couch surfing with friends and lived in a hotel briefly and battled homelessness. The father of the child decided that he did not want to parent and was no longer an option of support. When this young mother was facing a hopeless situation, she came to Fresh Start as suggested by her Children’s Aide Worker.
Ashley has been residing at Fresh Start for nine months. She has a beautiful 7-month-old baby and is continuing to grow and learn, being a wonderful mother. From her time at Fresh Start, Ashley has continued her schooling and is on her way to obtaining her GED. Ashley has gained the skill set needed to raise a child and parent effectively, right now she is encouraging her daughter to crawl, and loves making her giggle. Ashley has also developed life skills to manage her anxiety, and recognizes healthy and toxic relationships, her relationship with her mother has improved dramatically as well. She has continued to grow and learn as a mother and has been given the opportunity to move into one of our Supportive Housing apartments where she is living with her daughter more independently. When the world saw Ashley, they saw just another single mom. Fresh Start saw her with potential, with a successful future, and as a loving mother.
As you can see, Fresh Start Maternity Supports really does provide a ‘fresh start’. Our agency provides a safe environment and support to pregnant and parenting women facing challenges related to parenting and life skills. Women recovering from addictions, mild mental health challenges, abuse and homelessness also benefit from the support, structure, and security that Fresh Start has to offer. Another amazing testimony to the works of Fresh Start is a woman named Jasmine. At 19, Jasmine found herself in an abusive relationship, pregnant, and far away from any positive supports. Her son was 10 months old when she found herself in the hospital with health issues related to stress caused by her life situation. Her doctor let her know that if she didn’t leave her situation, she could very likely end up dead. She decided to come to Fresh Start to make a better life for her and her son. Jasmine graduated the program, obtained her high school diploma, and got her own place. She is now married to a supportive and caring husband, and they have 3 children together that they are raising in a loving Christian home. We are pleased to say that Jasmine is also our resident representative on the Fresh Start Support Services board.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without that support from Fresh Start”. – Jasmine, past resident
There is a need in our country for agencies serving the disadvantaged to demonstrate a steadfast labour of love. We are in a time in our society where the quick solution for an unplanned or unwanted child is termination. We are a viable alternative to abortion for young women. Although we cannot undue or fix every issue for a young mother, we recognize that when a seed is planted, a mighty oak can grow.
Please join us in our labour of love while we help provide a hope and a future for deserving mothers in Canada.
For more information on Fresh Start Maternity Supports and to read more testimonials, please visit our website: http://www.fsms.ca/
This charity has been certified by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Charities that display our Seal of Accountability demonstrate ongoing compliance with high standards of financial and organizational integrity. To find out more about this charity or other Certified charities, visit giveconfidently.ca.