Stories of Hope

Raquel Kato

girl1So…I’m pregnant. I’m 21, single, a senior in college, and yes, I’m that girl. It happened on my 21st birthday. Most people get to enjoy a few too many drinks, and possibly a bad headache the next day for their 21st birthday. My experience was a little different. I was that girl that got way too drunk, that girl that was insecure, that girl that had a random hookup, that girl that couldn’t say no, that girl that got pregnant. (more)


carol1

Chantell

girl2When I first became pregnant, I thought I was in a secure relationship with my baby’s father. But when I told him I was pregnant, he didn’t want me to have the child. He talked about how I was just starting my Masters and I wouldn’t be able to continue. He said I’d lose my job. He told me I would get kicked out of my apartment and was going to be homeless. He said I could just have kids later. My friends said the same thing. I allowed their thoughts to become my own and I started to doubt myself. (more)

I was in the doctor’s office and suddenly I heard, “What if? What if you do have a baby and you still get your Masters? What if you do get thrown out, but find another place to live? What if you do make it? What if you don’t have the money to care for the child, but God finds a way? What if I do have to do this alone, but what if I’m great at it?” I asked the doctor if I could step out for fifteen minutes and think about what I was going to do. When I got outside, I called the baby’s father and said, “I’m having the baby,” and I hung up. I knew it was going to be hard, but I knew this child was a blessing.

There were moments of break down, but I thought, “I can do this.” So, I changed from “What if it doesn’t work?” to “What if it does work?” And suddenly everything changed. I just needed a different perspective.

This is a hard journey. This is one of the hardest journeys you will make in your life, but God will help you. Now you must ask yourself, not, “Will I become a mother?” You’ve already been given that blessing, but what will you do with that title?


chantell1

Nichelle

girl3When I discovered I was pregnant, abortion was the first response I received from people. My friend and I searched online for clinics in New York, because I was trying to convince myself that my life could go back to normal, kind of like nothing ever happened. I called and was scheduled to have an abortion the following day, without my mother knowing. My friend and I skipped school and traveled to New York. (more)

We ended up at an abortion alternative pregnancy center, and it was there I witnessed video clips of the abortion process. It made me cry, and I knew there was no way I could go through with it after seeing what really happens.

After talking to the counselor, I could see there were other choices. I was introduced to the Visitation Center that day, and met with them face to face a couple of days later. After meeting with them, I was convinced they would not leave me, and they would be by my side every step of the way. I was relieved to find this support because I knew deep down, even from the very beginning, that abortion was not the answer.

I faced a challenging road ahead because I had yet to tell my mother about my pregnancy, and my best friend was against my decision. When I told my mom, she cried, and I felt guilt and disappointment. That was one of my biggest fears. I did not want her to feel like she was a bad mother and that I failed her as a daughter. My mother told me I needed to get an abortion. After this incident, I wanted my mother to visit the Visitation Center as soon as possible. At this meeting my mother could see others were there to help and support us. I pleaded with my mother, telling her, “I’m sorry, Mom. I will not drop out of school or anything. I will still chase my dreams. You are a great mother, and you didn’t fail me. I cannot abort my child. Please understand this.” After the meeting my mother told me, “Nichelle, you are always going to be my daughter, and I will always be at your side.”

I needed the people around me to support my decision. It was not going to be easy, but if you’re determined and dedicated, you can do it. And, I did do it. My son, Jayden Jeremiah was born on April 3, 2011. It was the best decision I have ever made, and I was so blessed to have the right people by my side to help me. I was able to keep up with my schoolwork from home after the birth of Jayden, and excelled, keeping up straight A’s in all Honors classes.

Now I rush home with joy to take care of Jayden, who is the reason why I work so hard. He is my motivation. It is not about me anymore. If I had to do it all over again, I would not change one thing because miracles come in small blessings. My mother and I are closer than ever, and she has been inspired by the life of her grandson. I cannot fathom what it would be like if I had chosen abortion, and allowed myself to have been tricked into the idea that my life would be the same. Jayden is my life, and things would never be the same without him.


Racquel

girl4How did you find out that you were pregnant?
I was not supposed to be able to have children because of physical problems. I went to the doctor because I thought I was sick from the shrimp I ate at a little Chinese restaurant in the city. When the doctor told me I was pregnant, I didn’t believe him. I told him it was impossible. I asked him to do another test and paid extra for them to rush it. I sat by the doorway of the lab where they do the blood work. I was nervous and scared. The test confirmed I was pregnant, and I was in shock. I said thank you and left. I was in a daze.
(more)

Then I walked and walked and walked from Flatbush to Bedford-Stuyvesant. I was saying in my head, “I don’t want to have this baby. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. This wasn’t how my life was supposed to turn out.” My mom and dad instilled high ideals and hopes in me. I was their princess. I was going to get married and have a house on the Hudson with an automatic garage door opener, kids, and a dog named Rover if I wanted it. As I was walking up to my apartment, debating with myself as to what I should do, I got the strength to accept this baby no matter how difficult it would be.

How did you come to know of the Visitation Center?
I had a good job, but I got sick during my pregnancy and was in and out of the hospital, so I could no longer work. My mother was in Trinidad at the time when my money ran out. She had been a social worker in New York and had the Visitation Center in her Rolodex. I broke down and called because I was too proud to go on welfare. They invited me to come over and talk. They made me feel good and strong in the decision I made to have this baby. I was doing the right thing.

How has Lyam changed you?
If raising Lyam is my sole purpose in life – I’m happy. I would not have been able to say that before. I had big plans always connected to material things. This blessing right here (Lyam) is so big. Sometimes I don’t know where my heart gets the room to love my fiancé because I love my son so much. The job of making him discover who he is made to be is so special, so serious. Who cares if I’m wearing five-year-old sneakers or if my jeans have a little hole? What is important in my life is totally different now. Before it was Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Lord and Taylor. My mindset has changed and set me on a new course. In my heart I can say, I would die for my child with no problem, without hesitation. I didn’t think I could ever be that unselfish. This journey of becoming a mother has purified me. I’m more open to other people now too. I know they may be suffering and I try to do what I can to help out.

I hear that you had a life-changing elevator ride while you were pregnant. Can you tell me about it?
I was in the hospital elevator on my way to a doctor’s appointment. Another woman got on with me. I said hello, and she burst out crying and told me she was pregnant. I said, “Congratulations. I’m pregnant too.” She explained she just couldn’t do it right now; it wasn’t the right time. Then I felt Lyam move and I placed her hand on my belly, “Do you feel that?” At that moment my baby kicked her. She said, “Wow.” I said, “Yeah, my baby’s gonna be a linebacker. He’s gonna be strong and he’s gonna be blessed.” And she said, “Why is he gonna be blessed?” I said, “Because he’s here – whether you cry or you laugh, if you’re here, you’re blessed. You’re put here for a reason.” And she said, “I’m gonna get an abortion.” And I said, “No you’re not. You’re not going to have an abortion; you are going to have a girl. I know that already because I wanted to have a girl, but I’m having a boy, but that’s okay. You have your girl and dress her up in pink. Put pony tails in her hair and call her Racquel, and by the way, my middle name is Jasmine. And if she asks you how she got her name, tell her you met a fabulous lady who was pregnant on the elevator one day who told you that you were going to have a beautiful little girl.” She laughed and then we got off the elevator together. I walked her down to make an appointment with my obstetrician. You see, I can be pushy.

Did you stay in touch with her?
No. I didn’t see her again until two years later at the same hospital. She was pushing a stroller and ran up to me and hugged me. She had twins – two girls – and their names are Racquel and Jasmine. She had them all dressed up in pink, just like I told her. She made it. She said, “I love you. You don’t understand, Racquel, I love you. I love you. I love you. I’ll never forget your name, your face, your smile. I would do anything for you. I love you.” And I said, “I love you too. I understand. I have experienced it.”


angelica1

open map and directions

support

So…I’m pregnant. I’m 21, single, a senior in college, and yes, I’m that girl. It happened on my 21st birthday. Most people get to enjoy a few too many drinks, and possibly a bad headache the next day for their 21st birthday. My experience was a little different. I was that girl that got way too drunk, that girl that was insecure, that girl that had a random hookup, that girl that couldn’t say no, that girl that got pregnant.


Read more
×