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Motherhood Story: Chavi

Chavi moved into the Good Shepherd Maternity Shelter a few weeks after welcoming her daughter, who was born early and spent her first few weeks of life in the NICU. During that time, Chavi lost her housing and says, “They won’t let you leave the hospital with a baby if you don’t have anywhere to go.”

Good Shepherd provided the mother and child with a safe place to lay their heads, and much more.

Why did you choose Good Shepherd?

My grandma lost her house while I was in hospital and I talked to my social worker about what my options would be. Good Shepherd was best fit for me. I’m from a small town in the middle of Missouri and I was really scared. Her dad hasn’t really been a part of her life. It was all on me;  the whole weight of the world on my shoulders.

What was it like becoming a new mom?

My baby was only 4  pounds, 11 ounces when she was born. She was so tiny! I was scared to pick her up.

Tell us about your adorable baby.

She wakes up every morning smiling at me, even if she has an attitude sometimes. She’s opinionated! I was told she would be a little slower developmentally because she was early, but being at Good Shepherd has let me be with her all the time, working one-on-one, and she’s caught up. It’s so cute that she’s she started copying me and mimicking me. I feel like this place is a total blessing.

What’s something that’s surprised you about motherhood?

Having a daughter made my feminine energy show a lot more. I’m way more girly. I want to dress her up all the time and take pictures of her. I can’t wait to instill so much in her. I’m cherishing every moment.

How has being at Good Shepherd helped you?

My mom died when I was 12. I don’t really have a mother figure to help me. I didn’t have one during pregnancy and I was clueless how to go about things. I felt that absence when I was in the hospital with my baby all alone. The Good Shepherd staff has shown me that they really care about us.

This place has given me structure and stability. I needed someone to guide me in the right direction and help me be normal, show me how to live a normal life.

Learning etiquette has been important. Before I came here, I was ignorant to the way that the world actually works. I was raised in the country by a lot of not normal people. I’ve learned be a lady to people.

I’ve learned time management, which I’m still working on.  I’ve been studying the past four months to get my GED with my teacher, Miss Colleen. Just last Thursday I took my social studies and aced it!

What do you see for your future?

I’ve calmed down since I became a mom. I’m more level headed as far as knowing what I want in life. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I do know what I don’t want. I want to get a job, I want to be able to support my daughter. I want to go to college eventually, after everything is stabilized. I want my own place, my own car. I want to grow her up differently than how I was raised.

What would you want other young mothers to know?

I would want a young mother to know that she is strong enough to do it by herself if she has to. A baby needs a mom, and you’re their total life support. You carry them for 9 months and you’re the most important part of their life.

Chavi’s own mother was an art teacher, and the creative passion was passed down. She has created beautiful pieces of art for the Good Shepherd hallway, including this mixed media work called “Octopus.”

She says: “My boyfriend used to get aggravated when I would make art. When I got here there was no judgement. I could sit in my room and work and no one would ridicule me. It takes my mind off things I can’t control. It is an escape.”