I lost the world I once knew but gained a universe of joy
A story of a single mother who held on to hope.
Sunday October 28, 2018 CatholicNews
Seldom do people anticipate misfortune, especially when their lives are going well. Three years ago, I was living a contented life in Johor Bahru with my boyfriend whom I have been dating for five years. I also had a stable job in Singapore.
But my world changed when my boyfriend died in a traffic accident. The grief from his sudden death was hard for me to deal with. I decided to quit my job and move to Ipoh with my boyfriend's parents. However, before I could even deal with the grief, l discovered that I was two months pregnant.
I was overjoyed at the prospect of having a baby and becoming a mother. But, upon reflection, I started to feel a lot of fear and confusion. Single parenthood, acceptance by my mother, and finances were top among the many things troubling me. I had no income at that time - I had just quit my job, my mother did not know about the baby and my baby couldn't remain in Ipoh, as I had not been married to my late boyfriend. In that situation, abortion would have been the logical choice. But it never crossed my mind to get rid of my unborn child.
My boyfriend's parents welcomed the news that they were going to be grandparents. They suggested that I allow one of their relatives to adopt my baby so that she could become a Malaysian citizen and stay with them. But I didn't want to give my baby up to anyone. Feeling desperate and alone, I Googled for help and found Pregnancy Crisis & Support (PCS).
The first glimpse of hope
Upon my return to Singapore, I contacted PCS. My decision to return home was not an easy one as I did not really have any family support. I was raised in an adopted family. My adoptive father, whom I was close to, had already passed away. I was not on good terms with my adoptive mother and wasn't in touch with any other relatives.
I knew the related pains of being raised as an adopted child and I wouldn't have considered giving my child up for adoption. Nor did I consider foster care. Looking back, I am glad that I did not consider those options because when my daughter was born, I felt such a strong bond that I had never felt before, I couldn't imagine being apart from her.
I remember the first time that I visited the Case Worker at PCS. I walked into the room with much trepidation and uncertainty. But the Case Worker was so patient and encouraging as she guided me through my options. I vividly remember how relieved and hopeful I felt when I left PCS that day. It was the first time in many months that I had felt so positive and empowered.
Things slowly started to look up. I got my previous job back. PCS then referred me to the Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS) Family Care Centre, which arranged temporary accommodation for me. All the while, the Case Worker and PCS volunteers continued to support me.
Trying times, but a mother's perseverance prevails
Finances were a constant worry. How would I take care of my baby if I had to work? How could I pay for all the things necessary for the baby? Fortunately, the Case Worker helped me. She told me that single mothers like me needed to pay less i.e. between $5 to $15 a month for infant care at certain centres, which I could afford. She also introduced me to some support schemes. What a relief, what a miracle! I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders.
Strength found through a chubby little girl
My Case Worker and the PCS volunteers stuck by me throughout my tumultuous journey. They were always on-hand to give me advice and were of great emotional support during my pregnancy. In fact, they were also right beside me when I went into labour, so I did not feel alone.
All the problems I faced seemed worth it the second I held my daughter in my arms. She has given me the strength to fight for a life with her.
After giving birth, I continued to receive help from PCS' After Care Support over the next six months, in the form of diapers and milk powder. I also received essential baby products from the PCS community and the Church that I attended. I am immensely grateful for the help and the lifelong friendships I've made with the Case Worker and the PCS volunteers.
Today, home is a one-room rental apartment that I share with my chubby little girl, Zoe*. I still experience occasional difficulties, but, I believe that nothing is impossible as long as Zoe and I have each other.
* Not the real name
For pregnancy support or more information:
call the PCS 24/7 Hotline 6339 9770
email email@example.com or
visit the PCS office at Agape Village in Toa Payoh.