In November 2018, I felt like I was in a time of my life where I just did what I wanted. I was always out of my house with friends and my boyfriend, and I worked part time at Wendy’s. I was just finishing up my high school credits to graduate when, halfway through the semester, all I felt like doing was staying in bed each day. For a full week I didn’t attend my classes. I was really suspicious I was pregnant. In December, I decided to buy a pregnancy test on my own. I took the test home thinking I would be alone, but when I entered the house I was terrified to find my brothers and mother still there. My heart was pounding as I went straight to the washroom to do the test. Then I saw the result, and said, “Boy oh boy.” It showed positive. At first, I smiled but then I thought, “Oh my God, what am I going to do now?!” I didn’t know if I was happy, or sad, or nervous. I had to go to work so I rushed out of the house and stuck the pregnancy test in my bag. On my way to work, I called my boyfriend on the bus and told him, “I’m pregnant”. There was complete silence after I said those words. Then he said, “Yikes.” We could not believe it. When I got to work, I felt like I had to check the test again. It was still positive. At that moment I started holding my lower stomach, feeling my baby. It was so odd for me because I thought that I was never going to have kids, yet here I was.
One week later, I had the courage to share the news with one of my brothers. When I showed him a picture of my positive test, he gave me a hug. I felt some relief, but I knew I had to tell my mom. I started to cry, and my mom said, “Are you pregnant?” and then I cried even more. At that moment, she realized my tears signaled a “Yes”. From that day on, the relationship between my mom and I was strained. We were hanging on by a thread.
A few weeks later, I contacted the social worker at my high school who assisted me with getting help. My social worker and I met up at a coffee shop and she asked me, “What do you want to do, Ella?” I responded with, “I want to know what my options are.” So, my social worker found the Pregnancy Care Centre (PCC) online and booked an appointment for me on February 15, 2019. I didn’t know what to feel when I went for the appointment. My social worker and I walked in and we met Lesley, a PCC Support Worker. Lesley discussed the options of abortion, adoption, and parenting. After talking, I realized that I wanted to be a parent. Lesley showed me a video of how far along I was. An image of my 18-week-old baby appeared and it described the baby’s development inside my womb. It made me feel excited inside, and I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m going to be a mom!” Lesley told me about all the referrals and the free programs that PCC had to offer. By the end of the session I was certain that I wanted to keep my baby. I felt like PCC had my back, and that they listened to me. A few weeks later, I started the Life Boat program with a peer support worker named Kim. Kim guided me through such great advice. Not only did the Life Boat program teach me how to approach difficult situations in my life, it gave me tips and insights for budgeting for the baby, and more! I also attended five Prenatal classes. I was so nervous about giving birth, but Nurse Erin reassured me that I’ll be okay. Every time I came to PCC Scarborough, Paulette, the First Response Coordinator, always asked me how I was, and gave such comforting words whenever I felt like everything was sinking. I felt hopeful by all the emotional support. To top it all off, I also received a stroller and car seat, clothes, diapers, knitted blankets and a teddy bear for my baby!
Looking back on my pregnancy, some people used to stare at me at the bus stop and I would think to myself, “Yeah, I know I’m pregnant! You don’t have to give me a pity look!” My family also would say mean things to me for being pregnant. Those looks and words weren’t what I needed to see and hear at that time. That’s why I’m thankful that every staff at PCC was supportive throughout. They’ve stayed in touch with me since I gave birth in July to my baby boy, Dominic.
Life now as a mom is different. I used to be the girl who didn’t want to stay at home because I didn’t feel at home. Honestly, I don’t miss the life I had because it’s a very beautiful thing to be a mom. Yes, it’s tiring and exhausting at times, but it’s priceless when my baby smiles and coos. Everyone, including my mom, is in love with him. It’s rewarding to me now that I have him. It feels like I have a home.