Two years into our marriage, J and I decided not to have kids. We felt that having kids was just not for us. Fast forward seven years, we have two adorable kids and another one on the way. Motherhood was the single thing that changed my life the most and although I don’t think women who do not have kids have incomplete lives, motherhood just enriched mine. Because of this, when Jennifer of jlofied.com asked for bloggers who want to participate in an outreach program called “I Love Being a Mom” for soon-to-be-moms who are currently living in a shelter, I immediately signed up.
Nazareth Home is under Kaisahang Buhay Foundation. Nazareth takes in pregnant women who do not have the financial capability to support their pregnancy. In Nazareth, they are given shelter, food, and pre-natal checkups… all for free. The Home also has a partner hospital which gives free and super discounted birth giving packages. Volunteers go to the Home to give the girls (who can number up to 20) bible studies and prayer sessions, tutorials on different trades (like bracelet making), etc. The girls can stay for up to two months after giving birth. By that time, they have to decide if they are going to bring up their babies on their own or if they will put up the babies for adoption. If they decide on the latter, Kaisang Buhay has an arm which facilitates adoption.
When I talked to JLo [Oh! she’s called JLo because her name (at least her maiden name) really is Jennifer Lopez. Cool no?], she said the whole thing was more of a shower party for the girls with some inspiring talks. That relieved me. The stories of the girls were heart wrenching and knowing me and my hormones, I might end up crying or saying something inappropriate. I even asked my prayer group to pray for me so I do not end up putting my foot in my mouth.
Day of the party, the atmosphere was light and happy. A talk on how to deal with stress was given by Ms. Mae Nagtalon from the Philippine Society of Life Coaches. Pointers for breastfeeding were shared by Mommy Cheryl. I was supposed to teach them to use cloth diapers but we ran out of time so I just tutored Ms. Cecile, the Home’s OIC. I think the girls had a good time. We ate popcorn, had yummy rainbow cake, and enjoyed the catered food.
I was super happy to see that all girls were breastfeeding. Although they still needed the pointers (they were bombarded with myths about breastfeeding like one cannot breastfeed when tired, etc), it was good to know that formula was not an option.
When I got home, J asked how I was feeling. I thought he was asking if I felt physically tired but it turned out he was actually asking me how I was emotionally after meeting the girls. I love my husband! He knows me so well and that again made me realize how blessed I was to have a partner show supports me and my pregnancy while some women do not have that.
Because I know I can and should do something more, I talked to Ms. Cecile and asked if she was open to the idea that I give breastfeeding/complementary feeding talks to the girls. She excitedly said yes! I know I am pregnant and with surging hormones and all, I should take care that I do not get too emotionally involved. This was, however, my training (Oh! I was a counselor-therapist a long, long time ago!) and I know I will be able to do it. Also, this was the primary reason why I trained to be a breastfeeding peer counselor in the first place… so I can help moms who do not have the means to pay for lactation consultants to breastfeed. I am arranging my schedule now so I can give the talk on the next couple of weeks. Happy and super looking forward to it!
This project wouldn’t have been a success without the support of the following: M Catering & Fine Foods, Wooden Kidikraft, Party Boosters, Sisters’ Sweetness, Tickled Moms (LOL!), and DigitalFilipino.com. Thank you!