When 19-year-old Angela* came to the Life Design Program, she was seven months pregnant and had nowhere to live. Due to her unintended pregnancy, she felt plans for her life had taken a drastic detour, and she moved back to Dallas after dropping out of college.
As her pregnancy progressed, Angela bounced from place to place, sleeping on friends’ couches. She felt like her world had been turned upside down, and she struggled with insecurity and shame, expressing feelings of failure and disappointment at her past decisions. But Angela knew she wanted to parent her child. She felt overwhelmed and alone as she considered how she would support her daughter when she did not even have a place to bring her baby girl home.
Through the Life Design Program, a collaborative effort between Buckner Children and Family Services and Baylor Scott & White Health, Angela started meeting weekly with Lucy Horton, lead counselor with Life Design. There, she received therapeutic services to help her as she coped with the changes in her life and anticipate the changes that would come with parenting. As her relationship with Horton grew, Angela gained confidence and began to hope. She began to feel empowered to become a healthy, young woman so she could be a healthy mother.
Horton was able to address not only Angela’s emotional needs, but assist in meeting her physical needs, as well. She partnered with Angela by identifying potential living possibilities, sharing them with Angela and together assessing their ability to meet her and her soon-to-be daughter’s needs. Through the collaborative effort, Angela was accepted into a maternity home just one week before giving birth to her daughter. Angela was ecstatic and relieved because she knew when she was discharged from the hospital following the delivery of her daughter, she would have a safe place to live.
After Angela’s daughter was born, she and Horton continued to meet together. Horton supported Angela as she learned how to mother her daughter and adjusted to this new role in her life. When many of the relationships in Angela’s life were fractured, absent and distant, Horton became a constant, encouraging and secure relationship for the new mom.
They began talking about the next steps for Angela and her daughter, as Angela desired self-sufficiency, with the goal of employment and returning to college. Through a referral from Horton, Angela was accepted into a housing program for single moms, where she would live in her own apartment, creating a more permanent living environment for her and her daughter. As time went by, Angela kept growing and maturing, becoming more confident in who she was as a young woman, which in turn was reflected in her mothering.
Angela now works full time in a job the Life Design program referred her to and plans to return to college in the near future. She is completely self-sufficient and able to provide for her and her daughter’s needs. She told Horton her daughter has been the best thing that could have happened to her because she has given Angela a sense of purpose and helped her define who she is – a confident, self-assured and motivated young woman. Angela attributes much of her success in personal growth, parenting, employment and gaining stability to the relationship formed with Horton. Now when Angela calls Horton, it is to share good news about the steps she is taking toward her bright future.
To find out more about the Life Design program, contact Lucy Horton, lead counselor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Name changed to protect privacy