“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennett

For a few moments, let’s imagine a recent client and her situation. It was February and bitterly cold. Do you remember that arctic freeze? Our new client was 18 years old and pregnant. This young mother was living in her car and hoped for gas money to keep her car warm. In spite of her other problems, she could only focus on gas to stay warm through the night.

Looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, this young mother was struggling to meet the most basic needs. To her, thriving as a new mother was out of her reach until these physiological needs are met.

increased risk for complications such as postpartum anxiety and depression. To make things more difficult, children of mothers dealing with unplanned pregnancy are at a higher risk for health problems and learning disabilities. Again, looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, these mothers and their children will not reach the higher levels of thriving because their need for safety is unfulfilled.

While these mothers can feel hopeless, we know by experience the life-changing power of programs like Mom’s Empowerment. Once a mother has solved the most basic needs of food, housing, and employment, they are able to work to learn the importance of prenatal care, find emotional support, helpful resources, and more.

Let’s consider a 34-year-old client named Angela. Last summer, Angela walked in six months pregnant with twin girls. She moved into the home of an elderly aunt who was delighted to help her and give her a place to bring her newborn daughters until she could find her own housing. After previous substance abuse challenges, Angela remained sober during the entire pregnancy.

Determined and organized, Angela came to Catholic Charities with her notebook and prepared to put all of her efforts into the Mom’s Empowerment program. She was interested in and receptive to all pre-natal education. She contacted available resources and quickly connected with several other community referrals.

The twins were born at a healthy weight and discharged on time. Angela managed her recovery while nursing both babies. Nursing supplies from Catholic Charities were very helpful and the lactation consultant was also a great supporter of her nursing efforts.

Angela was most appreciative to Catholic Charities for the car seats and pack-and-play referrals, her pre- and postnatal education, ongoing emotional support, and ongoing community referrals. Angela was grateful for the diapers for her daughters and hygiene products for herself – a previous stressor for Angela. For her, Catholic Charities was the light at the end of this dark and lonely tunnel.

These stories happen often at Catholic Charities.

In the first two months of 2021, Mom’s Empowerment celebrated the healthy arrival of 17 babies, 76%
of whom were born full-term. The case managers continue to help these moms as they navigate motherhood, some for the very first time.

Not being able to provide adequately for your family is often one of the most heart wrenching and lonely parts of poverty. Thankfully, Catholic Charities is there to help show parents the light and help the family see the potential in their future. We are able to, like Christ, make even the darkest of times a beacon of light and hope.

For more information on Children & Family Services, contact Ashley at awohlgemuth@ccharities.com or (816) 659-8279.

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