I AM CORIANA, A YOUNG MOM, AND THIS IS MY STORY.
Coriana, 21, lives in Wayne County, NC with her son Kaleb (1)
As told to Jasmine Getrouw-Moore, the Media Outreach Coordinator (December 2016).
School Days, Surprising News
My life before Kaleb was about preparing myself for my life. I was a student attending Wayne Community College for Nursing. I had met Kaleb’s dad, Cory* in one of my classes. At first, I thought, I don’t want anything to do with HIM! We eventually became friends getting really close. We then took our relationship a step further and then there was Kaleb! When I found out about Kaleb, I seriously cried. I was at my grandmother’s house, took a pregnancy test and when I saw it was positive, I cried! After I saw my news, I shared the news with my cousin and friend about an hour afterward. I tried to contact Cory, he was unavailable. I left a message for him to call me and finally shared the news with him the next day. When I told Cory, he was shocked. He needed a “minute to process” the news because he was already going through so much in his personal life. This was overwhelming to him, to both of us. In the meantime, I began to share the news with my grandmother who was excited and then my mother who was a little disappointed. My grandmother’s reaction was comforting and a bit validating because I was already experiencing some disappointment within myself.
Once Cory came to grips with the news, he was offered his support, said he accepted the news and was going to be present during this pregnancy.
Coping with Depression During Pregnancy
During my pregnancy, I was actually depressed for some of it. I had all of these thoughts about my life and this new baby such as, I have school, I need money, I ‘ll have this child to take care. I completed the Fall 2014 semester of school but then had to stop attending because I was in and out of the hospital due to my high risk pregnancy having gestational high blood pressure. During one of these hospital visits, a nurse came told me about this program called Young Families Connect. I thought about what she told me but I honestly didn’t want to be apart of a class sitting around talking with a bunch of people so I didn’t join just as yet. I was focused on how to make ends meet for this baby I was preparing to raise. I was applying for jobs daily with no success. During this time, I didn’t have the emotional support from Cory as he stated. I would contact him to participate in my pregnancy and make plans for Kaleb’s future but he wasn’t there. This made me sad. My family was upset about this but really, there was nothing we could do. Even though I was upset by this I have chosen not to keep Kaleb away from his dad.
My mom was supporting me as much as possible but she was also working and had her hands full with caring for our household. During my pregnancy I would just sit around and think about all of the things I had to do to provide for Kaleb. My family and friends would always reassure me that everything will be okay; my friend and cousin would take me out to the movies and help me get my mind off my stressors; help me enjoy myself and not beat myself up. This was a big help! Toward the end of my pregnancy, I really became increasingly connected to my religion during my pregnancy. I began going to church more, reading the Bible every evening and attending Bible Study classes. I found that there were instances in the Bible that were similar to my situation which would encourage me to not beat myself up like I was earlier in my pregnancy. Participating in church activities, my community and with my friends helped me to broaden my focus on my whole life, renew my hope. I knew that I was going to take care of Kaleb regardless of my fears. I became confident that God will take care of all things.
Suddenly Kaleb’s Mom
You know, I didn’t even go into labor! I was a day past the due date given by my provider. As part of what became a normal routine, I went to the doctor for frequent checkups, a couple times per week due to my high risk pregnancy. This particular visit, my blood pressure was super high at 210/190 (normal blood pressure is 120/80). The doctor and nurses were like, you’re going to go straight to the hospital to have this baby! I didn’t have any contractions or nothing! When I got to he hospital, they hooked me up to all of these machines, a catheter, and told me that I could have a stroke because my blood pressure was so high. When they said there was a risk of a stroke, I was so scared. My mom was scared the whole time but the doctor told me that he thought I should have a C-Section to make sure the baby and I are both okay. As my mom and I were riding the elevator, I remember saying “I’m not ready!” (referring to being a new mother) to which she replied “whether you’re ready or not, the baby is going to come!” It was just a shock. I obviously knew I was going to have a baby during this whole pregnancy but then actually knowing he’s about to be born and be here- MY baby was going to be here. This was getting real! I was also thinking about what they were going to do to me during this C-Section.
My mom was with me during the whole time I was pregnant and during my delivery. Kaleb was born on March 11, 2015.
Coming Home, Connecting to Young Families
I came home, showered with gifts for Kaleb from my family and church community. Kaleb had all of the newborn necessities like diapers and a bassinet. They knew I was going through a hard time without a job, sometime hopeless and they were there for me. Motherhood was still a shock to me during the first few days with Kaleb. I had a lot of support from family. Some people weren’t totally aware that I was pregnant because I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with everyone except my mother, grandmother, cousin, and friend. My church family was aware but those were the only people who I shared my pregnancy with. My extended family and neighbors were there waiting for me to come home with Kaleb. It was a positive experience. I thought about how I have been taking care of my siblings but taking care of Kaleb, my own child is different. You can’t give YOUR baby back! I was actually going out looking for work at the Public Library, filling out job applications daily, still healing from the C-Section. I was determined to find work. After awhile of having been home with Kaleb, I decided that I needed to do something new. Before Kaleb and I were discharged from the hospital, the same nurse who mentioned Young Families Connect before (during my pregnancy) had given me the information again. I had been thinking about the program and finally decided to call the number.
I made an appointment with Ms. Donna. She taught me how to set goals and ever since I’ve been in the program, she’s been keeping me accountable to the goals I’ve set. When I started Young Families Connect, my main goals were to be emotionally stable and being able to provide for Kaleb and myself. I realized the program wasn’t just about sitting around talking.
Ms. Donna shared that Young Families Connect would pay for my schooling. I was unable to find a job and couldn’t afford school. She showed me all of the training programs available to me as a participant in the program. I wanted to continue my nursing path, so I decided to participate in the CNA-I course from June 2015-August 2015. After I completed that course, I chose to participate in the CNA-II course which ended in December 2015. I got an interview at O’Berry Treatment Center in January and then started working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in February 2016! I was so excited when I got this job. So thankful for Ms. Donna and Young Families Connect.