Hello. I am the very proud mother of the most beautiful baby. I’m sure every mother says that, or many do, but I really do believe that my baby is the biggest gift in the world.
I just want to take a couple of moments and share with you where my life was at when I first learned that I was pregnant. When I first reached out to SHIFRA, I was living in a halfway house, a sober living house. I was struggling to recover from an addiction that I couldn’t seem to break away from. And I was single, and I was alone. I was far away from any family and from any of my close friends and then I found out I was pregnant, and the father of the baby was already out of the picture. And I was very, very alone and very terrified.
And I knew that I didn’t want to get an abortion because I just taken Plan B, but clearly the universe had some other plans for me, because the plan B didn’t work. And once I knew that there was this baby growing inside of me, I knew I was going to keep the baby, but I had no clue how I was going to do it.
I grew up in a religious family and, although I wasn’t particularly religious anymore, my family still was. And for them, like probably, I’ve told people the worst thing I could do, worse than being an addict, worse than moving away, worse than not being religious anymore. Like the worst thing I could do was have a baby outside of the marriage and there I was, single, pregnant, and far away.
At the point before I found out about SHIFRA, I felt like the only option I had was to move into a homeless shelter for pregnant women.
I was researching and leaving messages for Christian based homeless shelters at the time, because I knew I couldn’t stay in my sober living home with a baby. And one day I was just overwhelmed and terrified and feeling sick. And no one knew that I was pregnant except for my sponsor and my recovery program. And there was no one else who knew. And I opened up my computer and I just typed into Google “Jewish, pregnant, single, help.” And it was more of a prayer than anything else.
I don’t know what I expected to come up, but I found an article written by a woman who had been single, Jewish, and pregnant and had a baby, and found the support through an organization called SHIFRA(https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/abortion-grief-second-chances/). And I was reading her story, and I was like, oh my goodness, this thing exists.
Like I had no clue. And so I looked up SHIFRA, and I found this website and I’m telling you, I immediately just started crying. It was like, oh my goodness. I didn’t know this was here. And I don’t know if this is real or not. I don’t know if this is legit or not, but there was a phone number to text and it must have been 10 or 11:00 PM. And I texted that number and I got a response right away, scheduled the time to speak with a counselor the very next day.
During that first conversation, I was incredibly overwhelmed, and incredibly scared, and incredibly relieved, because I had found someone who said yes, like all of the things you’re describing, all of the uncertainty, all of the fear, all of the pain, all of the unknown, that’s what we’re here for. That is what we deal with.
I was blessed to be connected with this incredible counselor named Fran, and Fran helped me navigate so much. She helped me navigate the disclosure to my family. She helped me navigate moving back in with my parents, which I never thought I would do. Getting me through the pregnancy, and through many decisions about what to do and where to go, and who to tell, and how to work through a lot of emotional past difficulties, in order to do the healing that I needed to do, so that I could be fully, wholly, and completely be present for birth. To be loving towards my baby, despite all of the history that had led up to that pregnancy, which was not what I had been planning at that stage in my life. My son is the most beautiful, incredible blessing and miracle in my life today.
This entire journey and this entire story has brought so much healing. I am sober. I am happy. I am working. I have restored relationships with my family and with my community. I’m a mother and it is the most incredible, incredible gift I’ve ever been given.
I truly do not know where I would be today if I had not found SHIFRA. I mean it, I probably never would’ve come back home. I probably would have moved into a homeless shelter. I don’t know where I would’ve gone from there. I trust that somehow, some way, something would have come into place, but I really don’t think I would be where I am today. And you know, in addition, SHIFRA also helped me receive diapers and wipes, and clothing for my baby for his first year, when I wasn’t working.
Just everything, every single thing, that this organization has done has been exactly what I needed. Just to know that there was somewhere to turn. I have done research and I have not found any other organization in the states that does this within the Jewish community. Not one!
SHIFRA is absolutely filling a void and filling a need that exists. And to those of you who already support SHIFRA, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And just tell you that this organization very, very possibly saved my life, and that of my son, and brought so much other healing to so many areas of my life. And thank you, just thank you for what you have done. And so those of you who are considering joining or being a part of, or supporting or donating to this organization, you cannot go wrong.
I mean, yeah, everything that I said, just all of it, I hope that in some way or another, I can give back to SHIFRA for the rest of my life. I have such gratitude for SHIFRA and for everything that they do.
To any other mothers, or mothers to be out there who are struggling, and who are afraid, and who are alone, or feel alone: you are not! There are others of us who have been where you are. Even if the stories are not exactly the same, even if the details are not exactly the same, just know that there are other people who have felt afraid and who have felt alone, and who have walked through this path, and this journey, and that it can be beautiful. It can be really, really beautiful, and it can be the most incredible blessing, even when it doesn’t look that way at all.
So again, thank you. And I hope that this story does something, and gives the message of hope to someone.
If you need someone to listen, or would like to learn more, please make an appointment with our counselor via text 646-632-8547, or call our Helpline 1-888-360-5872.