Staring at a positive pregnancy test can bring on a rush of different and sometimes conflicting emotions, especially if that pregnancy isn’t planned. There may be anxiety around telling others, or being all alone, or figuring out next steps. It can feel overwhelming and even isolating. But, the truth is that you are not alone. There are people who want to come alongside you on this journey, to bring clarity into a confusing time.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we share this true story of a woman who had all the odds stacked against her. Michelle shares her persevering journey of how she overcame many obstacles and fought to survive homelessness, trafficking, abuse, incarceration, and an unintended pregnancy. Let her story inspire you today, in whatever you may be facing. You can also view her full story on Claris’ YouTube Channel by clicking here.
“I kept telling myself in my mind that this man is the only person who accepted me. I honestly thought we had a relationship.”
“Born and raised in Uganda, I’ve never had a supportive family,” she says.
“I first came to the United States in 2010. I was seeking asylum but my visa read ‘tourist visa’. When I arrived here, they were waiting for me because they thought I had narcotics; drugs. They released me at four o’clock in the afternoon with my luggage and just put me on the street. Then they gave me ten minutes to call someone and have them pick me up. I was so scared; very, very scared. I called one person who came to see me in jail. This lady friend introduced me to a website called, ‘Craigslist’ to find work. I told her my immigration situation and she said that I could work ‘under the table’. That’s the time I met the father of my child, and when I started being trafficked. I did not know I was being trafficked. I kept telling myself in my mind that this man is the only person who accepted me. I honestly thought we had a relationship. One day, I met up with another very close friend. She warned me about this man. She said to ‘be careful’. Later, after my early stages of pregnancy, which was about 4 months, this close friend brought me to Claris Health.
“For my very first time, I met genuine people with no expectations or strings attached. They showed me another side as to how I was treated and I thought, ‘O.K. There are some angels in Los Angeles.’ I had many needs that were fully given to me by Claris and it gave me hope coming from a situation where I really had no one else. I felt like I now have a new beginning for everything.
When I met with Niki at the Claris Support Center for the first time, she gave me some forms to fill out. Then she sent me programs, free events for baby stuff, books, readings, and she helped me become a good mother. Even still today if I need something, I know who I can call. Claris brought back my confidence and made me stop to realize, ‘You know what? I can do this! I have been searching for family and trying to have a family but actually my real family is here.’
My daughter is now 15 months. I still have adjustments to make in my life but I am putting in the work. I’m getting the resources and the referrals I need for my life. Claris Health helped me realize that even though things may be challenging, it’s up to us to do our part. Being a mother may be challenging but at least it’s 1,000% guaranteed that I, and my extended family, all have support from Claris.”
Expectant Mothers Need A Community
No matter what your circumstances are, where you are from, or what decision you choose to make with your pregnancy, Claris is here for you. We want to come alongside you in your journey and provide a safe space where you feel valued and heard.
‘Claris’ means clarity and that is what we offer with free medical, counseling, and support services to women and families who are parenting children under the age of 5.