International Women’s Day is a time to acknowledge the incredible, extraordinary things done by everyday women. This year, join me in celebrating five powerful pregnancy center clients, Farrah, Ariane, Laura Jean, Jazmier, and Samantha who beautifully demonstrate that being an “empowered woman” means more than self-actualization -- it can look like making courageous choices for yourself and your family: choosing life, choosing Jesus, and choosing healthy marriage.
After Farrah immigrated to the United States from Jordan, she was in a physically abusive marriage and had no support system. When she found out she was pregnant, she knew she needed to escape the abuse so she could provide a better life for herself and her baby.
“In my country, it’s very important for women to give birth to sons, so learning I was pregnant with a daughter was extra confirmation that this baby deserved better than the life I had known,” she said.
Throughout her pregnancy, Farrah found support at Care Net of Puget Sound. The center helped her get prenatal insurance and supported her as she moved into a shelter to escape her abusive husband.
“The women at Care Net helped me realize that I could be strong and that I didn’t have to fear. They gave me courage to do what I knew was right and to stop accepting abuse. I’m so grateful for this group of women,” Farrah now says.
Farrah’s story is a powerful reminder that women are worthy of respect and admiration.
You can read more about Farrah’s story here.
When Ariane found out she was pregnant with her daughter, she’d already suffered through multiple bad relationships and domestic abuse, was addicted to drugs, had been to prison several times, and no longer had custody of her other children. “I was sad, I was lonely, I didn’t know what to do - I was lost,” Ariane recounted.
Just two weeks before her due date, she reached out to an old friend for help - Heidi Matzke, Executive Director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center. Despite fearing rejection, Ariane shared that she was worried her baby might be taken away because of her ongoing struggle with addiction.
The center offered support and encouragement, and Ariane found the courage to give birth to her healthy baby girl and make the changes necessary in her life to be a powerful role model to her daughter.
Ariane has now been sober for over a year and she offers the following advice, “All the other challenges I was facing then, I have overcome step by step and there’s hope. You just have to give yourself a chance.”
Ariane’s shares that her story is a wonderful testament to The Parable of the Lost Sheep, Matthew 18:10-14, suggesting “When I looked at the mountain [addiction, CPS], I knew Jesus would leave the flock for the one and carry that one back.”
You can watch Ariane’s full story here.
By the time Laura Jean started middle school, she had already attended eleven different elementary schools and at the age of twelve Laura Jean’s father gave her meth for the first time. “From that moment on, I was off and on drugs, living a life that felt a lot more like death,” she said.
In 2005, as Laura Jean struggled with depression, she began using drugs more heavily and soon after found out she was pregnant. She planned on having an abortion, but when she went to Care Net of Puget Sound, she was devastated to find out that she was already 24 weeks along -- too late to have an abortion. In response, Laura Jean started behaving recklessly, hoping “this baby and I would die.” Instead, though, she went into labor at 32 weeks and had a beautiful baby boy who completely transformed her life.
Just ten days later she gave her life to Christ. Now Laura Jean is married and has a second child with a third on the way and is entirely drug free. “Now, 11.5 years later, my son is perfect and amazing and we have not stopped serving Jesus,” she says.
Laura Jean’s story reminds us that no matter how hopeless a woman’s situation may look, there is always hope.
You can read Laura Jean’s full story here.
When Jazmier found herself unexpectedly pregnant, she was unsure what she should do - she didn’t want to “bring another life into the world to struggle with me,” she said. During an appointment at Choices Pregnancy Services, however, she found clarity. Michelle, a nurse at the center, recalls Jazmier saying she was facing a point of great transformation - either she could pull her life together into something much better because of the baby, or she could spiral in the wrong direction. Jazmier ultimately chose to keep her baby and improve her life because of the empowering hope and support she found.
Today, Jazmier is studying online, working, and excelling at being a single parent. Although single parenting is a challenge, Jazmier says “It’s all so rewarding knowing another life is good in your hands.”
Jazmier is a perfect example of how powerful and strong women are, even in the face of adversity.
You can watch Jazmier’s full story here.
Samantha felt like she’s finally gotten herself on her feet - she was in a Hallmark relationship after reconnecting with a childhood friend, and everything was perfect. Until it wasn’t. After a few months of abuse, she and her two children needed to leave. But just as she was ending the relationship, she found out she was pregnant. “There was a lot of guilt and shame and disappointment,” Samantha explained, Because prior to being in a relationship with him, I was actually in a homeless shelter for over a year trying to get myself on my feet, because with two kids it’s not easy.”
Samantha didn’t feel ready to parent a third child without help from the baby’s father. Feeling like she had no other choice, she scheduled an appointment to have an abortion, but ended up canceling the day of. Knowing that she needed to find help, she reached out to Choices Pregnancy Center.
There, Samantha found the nonjudgmental support and encouragement she needed to help her throughout her pregnancy. Now as she looks forward to having her third child soon, she says, “I am not sad anymore, I’m excited. I’m really excited.”
Samantha’s story shows the power of women supporting each other through joyous and hard times.
You can watch Samantha’s story starting at 2:34 here.