Rebecca can’t really remember her life before kids. They came so quickly.
She remembers how they started, though. She had met a cheerful, kind-hearted, and hardworking Jamaican man at a local farm market. It took a while but she finally asked him out on a date. Nothing fancy, but enough to understand that he was “quite a find,” especially compared to her first husband, whom she had married at age 16 and divorced by 18.
They were married a couple of years later. And to her great surprise, since she had been unable to get pregnant in her first marriage, it was barely a month before she learned she was going to be a mom.
That first pregnancy was a rough one. Her nausea made it impossible to work. Unfortunately, her husband was still adjusting to his new country, didn’t drive, and was unable to find a job in the off-season due to the limitations of his Green Card. Money was tight and about to get tighter. Then baby Isaac arrived.
Nine months later, she became pregnant again. More nausea. And the money belt tightened another notch. Adassa made them a family of four.
Six months later, the pregnancy test glowed pink once again. Hello, nausea. Joshua made it five, and their one-bedroom apartment felt more like a closet than a home.
“Two kids in diapers and now a third on the way… I just wanted to cry.”
To her credit, Rebecca had already reached out for help from the Maine Families Home Visiting Program. They provide parenting support during those critical times, from pregnancy through age three.
“I was really anxious to learn more about what was happening and to get reassurance that I was doing it right… knowing that my son was developing the way he should.”
Rebecca was juggling a lot. But Ruth, her home visitor, stayed in close touch, visiting regularly, offering advice, getting her access to resources, and, yes, even lending a soft shoulder to cry on.
“Ruth was always there when I was at a point when I was about to take another big step. She just has a way of being there with the answer I need.”
Rebecca’s situation was borderline manageable but her living conditions were beyond bursting by the time her third child arrived. With Ruth’s help, she learned she qualified for Head Start’s early education program four days a week. Her husband got enrolled in school to get his G.E.D. and also is working toward U.S. citizenship. Oh… and he has his driver’s license, a job, and a car. Best of all, they learned they qualified for subsidized housing and have moved into a three-bedroom apartment in town.
“I never even knew that sort of program existed. At first, I was so scared to have that much space that I slept out in the hallway so I could keep an eye on my babies.”
Her babies are healthy and growing up quickly. Enough so that Rebecca has started taking classes and plans to pursue a career in early childhood education… just like Ruth.
Thanks to Maine Families Home Visiting Program, Rebecca found a better life for herself and her family.