They come because they are scared.
They come because they have nowhere else to go.
They come because if they don’t, what will happen to their unborn child?
At Inn from the Cold right now, there are nine pregnant women staying under the shelter’s roof.
I can’t imagine what the soon-to-be-moms are feeling. Thinking. Experiencing.
Becoming a mom is fraught with questions. Fears. Insecurities. Uncertainties.
Being homeless and becoming a mom?
I can’t imagine.
But I can imagine why they’re there. I can imagine that whatever the circumstances of their lives, they want their child to have a better chance at life. And having a safe place to stay is a good beginning.
Recently, the Inn changed the parameters around who can stay at the family emergency shelter. In the past, (based mostly on the fact that space is limited and the shelter is constantly full) only adults accompanied by children were invited in.
But what about all the unborn children someone asked? What about the first time, soon-to-be mom without children accompanying her?
It was the grim reality that her unborn child was at risk if we did not provide the mother shelter, sanctuary and healing, regardless of who is accompanying her, that opened the doors to all pregnant women at the Inn, regardless of how at or over capacity we are.
It is an important decision.
A life-giving decision.
In homelessness, self-care is not high on the agenda. The trauma, stress, turmoil, angst and all the other factors that pull someone into the despair and hopelessness associated with homelessness, take a significant toll on an individual’s ability to make good self-care choices.
For women who are homeless and pregnant, homelessness impacts not only their life, but the life of their unborn child; that innocent, precious life that is forming within, unaware of the condition of life outside the womb.
Ensuring the mother receives prenatal care, that risks are minimized, that some stability is instilled into her life is critical to the development of her unborn child.
And so, the Inn opened its doors to pregnant women unaccompanied by children.
It is the right thing to do. The best thing to do to provide these unborn infants the best chance at life.
There is no special funding for supporting pregnant women. No pot of money waiting to be dipped into just for this.
It doesn’t matter.
We will find a way.
Because, if we don’t, what will happen to the unborn children? How will they make their way into this world? How will they know life?
Yesterday, the Inn announced the total raised during its 6th Annual Claire’s Campaign. The goal of $900,000 was surpassed with $1,072,708,25 raised by over 750 donors.
Thank you Calgary!
That means, along with being able to provide vital programming for children and their parents, we’ll also be able to provide pre and post-natal care to mothers, like the one I wrote about on Monday.
I am grateful.
And still I am haunted by the question, what will happen to the unborn child?
Being able to access emergency shelter is vital. Receiving prenatal care is critical. But a home is essential.
We need to do better. All of us. Everyone. To ensure we create a community where no child or family is homeless.