“My name is Vannessa. I am also the caretaker for my grandmother who had a stroke last year. I am challenged to accomplish my daily responsibilities because I also work two jobs while earning my Bachelor of Nursing degree from College of Saint Mary. Although I lead a busy life, I’m grateful for the support I have, especially from the community I have found at EPS.
I sought out EPS by recommendation of a family member. I was not in a good spot at the time.
During my pregnancy with my now two-year-old son, my then husband was pressuring me to have an abortion. I was also experiencing emotional and physical abuse. He didn’t want me to go to work or school. I was so isolated.
At six months pregnant and against the wishes of my husband, I walked into EPS. I was nervous but I was so thirsty, so ready for some support, support that I also didn’t have when I was pregnant for the first time.
During my first pregnancy, I was 17 years old when I went to a health/abortion clinic. I remember the feeling of disbelief when they told me I was pregnant because pregnancy was not the reason I went there. The nurse noticed the shocked look on my face. Instead of offering me help, information education or asking me what I wanted, she just handed me a phone number and instructed me on how to go about getting an abortion. She was very cold and it felt business-like.
I did not end up talking to anyone else about my pregnancy; not even my family. I felt it was my only option, so that’s what I ended up doing.
I had a really hard time emotionally after that. I floundered without therapy or follow-up support.
Now, as I walked into EPS years later and pregnant again, I felt embarrassed but I also felt as if I was breaking a chain.
To my relief, I was warmly welcomed by staff. Each person expressed compassion and care for me. I was offered an ultrasound, non-judgmental support and counseling. I made the decision that day to keep my baby. I really felt God had put EPS in my path to prepare me for what was coming.
One of the biggest hurts I have had was always thinking that I was not worthy of love. I was so wrong. I know now that there are people here to listen, take care of my family emotionally and spiritually, and those who will try their best to help. This realization has been so powerful.
Looking back, my journey has been difficult. But, being a mother has been my salvation. My children are my inspiration and I am determined to become a nurse. I am also now empowered to help my children overcome adversity and live healthy lives.”