What brings a person inside the doors of a pregnancy resource center? For Candra Mae, it was a second unplanned pregnancy, and a chance for renewed hope. Candra found herself amidst a second unplanned pregnancy, and she was nervous. Four years earlier, Candra had had an abortion and still harbored regrets from that decision. Her sister had heard about TLC, and suggested that Candra check out their services. Stepping into TLC, Candra did not know what to expect and her heart was restless, not knowing what decision she would make in regards to whether or not to parent this child.
Candra was met with open arms. “It was really, really welcoming”, Candra said. She said by the end of her initial interview, she knew that she wanted to be a mother. Candra was paired up with a mentor, Angela. “Without her, I would not be as comfortable and confident, as I am now to parent.; she opened the door to what pregnancy and parenting is.”
Angela also helped Candra with acceptance, accepting a lot of things about her life. Candra hadn’t been accepting or forgiving towards herself for her previous abortion. She hadn’t had the abortion for herself; instead, she had it for the person she was with; she felt it wasn’t her choice to have the abortion. For this second pregnancy, instead of making him happy and making his choice, Candra decided to make her own choice.
Candra suggests finding someone to talk to if you are recovering from a past abortion. “Don’t hold it in, if you hold it in, it’s going to be with you forever, and will never go away. With abortion, some people can ignore it, but you never forget about it.” She said she knows people who had abortions 20 years ago, and still think about it. “Talk with someone who you can be open and honest with.”
After her first ultrasound at TLC, the reality of the pregnancy set in. Candra was very early on in the pregnancy, but could see the egg sac and the “itty bitty baby.” During her second ultrasound, she saw the heartbeat, and it made her realize, that there is life growing inside of her. “It’s breathtaking, and was the first time I cried about being pregnant. Its an overwhelming, but amazing feeling all at once.”
Candra’s advice to new moms is “don’t be ashamed to come to parenting classes, and be yourself.” Her mentor, Angela, helped her to understand things that no one else could. She has helped her to be open to God. She hopes more people will seek out the services offered at TLC. Candra said when she went to government programs, she felt judged and just a number; at TLC, she was given a personal experience. She was coached and guided, and given the confidence to be a mother. The staff of TLC are Candra’s favorite part, then the classes. She says, “ the staff is all smiles and love; the classes are amazing, and teach you so much.”
When asked about her hopes and dreams for her child, Candra says she knows it won’t be easy. But with the help and guidance that she has received here, she knows there is hope. She wants her daughter to teach her, just as much as she will teach her daughter. “Learn from each other and teach each other- have unconditional love.”