Dear Student Mom: “It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

My name is Ida. I’m from Sweden, and I’m married with 2 small children. In 2003, I came to the US to pursue music and personal training. Ten years later, I decided to get back to school. I was taking the prerequisite classes to get my physical therapist license, and we got pregnant. I didn’t panic at first because in Sweden new moms get 16 months paid maternity leave. I soon found out that that is not how it works here. I began to worry about how I was going to continue school and afford all the costs that come with being a new mom. 

One day during class, I introduced myself to everyone and mentioned that I was pregnant. A classmate, Adriana, asked for my number and said that she was also pregnant. She introduced me to Claris Health and brought me to Niki’s parenting class! Since then, I have participated in Claris’ one-on-one counseling, prenatal care and parenting classes. I fell in love with everything they do. Claris lifted huge financial stresses, providing us with our next meal, diapers, baby furniture, baby clothes, household items, books, etc. 

After my first child was born, I was a stay-at-home mom for a season and began volunteering in the medical side of Claris. Eventually, I got into nursing school. It was extremely difficult because you couldn’t miss more than one clinical day or you’d have to withdraw from the semester. With extreme determination, self-discipline and hard work, I pushed through as a student and a mom.

To the girl who is newly pregnant and struggling to believe that her life is not over and that she can have a bright future ahead: you can definitely do it! It does not have to be one or the other. Maybe without kids you’d have more free time for yourself. But for me, having kids helped add discipline in managing my time better. It is a challenge, but I am no longer just doing this for myself. My babies, their future, and my future are the things that keep me going. Also, please know that there are resources and people like Claris who can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It took me a long time to ask, but the worst thing that could happen is that someone says no. If you also don’t have family, you can build your own community of friends and family.

Claris has been an amazing family for us. There are never fingers pointed at you, there’s no shame or judgement, and I’ve always felt free here. If they can’t help, they’ll find you the resources that can be exhausting and time consuming to look for by yourself. You don’t have to do it alone; it’s you and all those around you who will do it together.

 Donate here to help more moms like Ida!

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