It was October of 2020 and Kaylin was pregnant, surviving a pandemic, and looking for a way out of her current living situation. She got online and found Good Shepherd, but needed some time to really convince herself that it was the right option for her.
Why did you choose Good Shepherd?
My older brother and I were looking and it seemed perfect. I was like, “I can just leave now?” It sounded homey and welcoming.
Tell us about your beautiful baby girl.
She had personality since the moment she was born. She had all the nurses fascinated! She was very healthy, but we noticed she wasn’t reacting to sounds. We were going to the doctor regularly and found fluid in her ears. That’s been taken care of. She is so perfect. I love my little baby.
How has the Good Shepherd staff helped you?
As long as you’re here, they have your back. They’ve helped me get my original birth certificate, get the baby’s insurance. They help me job search and with getting child care subsidy. I got prescription glasses, I’ve got a dentist appointment. It’s so much more than a shelter.
What has motherhood taught you?
I didn’t really care about myself before I had my baby. When I came here, they put that in perspective.
When she was first born, it kind of like saved me in a way. I’m not trying to be dramatic. I kind of hit rock bottom during my pregnancy. I almost didn’t make it. She saved me.
I knew I needed to focus on taking care of myself and was determined to beat post-partum. I didn’t want to hit rock bottom again. I’ve stayed on my meds and stayed prayed up while I’ve been here.
What has the staff taught you?
Being here, they’ve made me take more accountability for my emotional reactions to things. We’re not in high school anymore. There are consequences for your actions. Even though it seems annoying when we have fines and chores, it’s for the greater good. I try not to make excuses and I’m open to feedback. That wasn’t normal in my everyday life before.
I’ve learned everything you do now affects your baby. She’s going to be looking to me and her dad for everything. Every action has a consequence, it has an impact on her life.
What’s something you’d like to tell other new moms?
Life is bigger than you, mom. It’s bigger than your problems. I have something to fight for.
I’d also recommend therapy and spiritual guidance. It’s where you learn you can’t attach your happiness to someone or something. Even if you have a support system, happiness has to come from within. You have to take time to find it. You have to find yourself. Getting it in other places is temporary. I’m so much happier than I was. I can smile now.
What do you see in your future?
I want to be happy with whatever I’m doing, where I’m going, who’s coming with me. I want it to be my daughter, my boyfriend. I want to be financially and mentally stable. I want to heal so I don’t project anything on her. I want to be there for her and show her what a stable, two parent home feels and looks like. Getting the apartment and job is fine, but it’s all really about her. I want to be the best mom I can be.
Kaylin is a gifted writer and has posted her work on the walls of our building to inspire others. She says: “My baby was the inspiration, just watching her move and giggle. I have to give these positive messages to my little girl now. Dark skin doesn’t define your value. It adds to it.
I was writing before I came to Good Shepherd as a form of therapy, before I had insurance to get real therapy. It’s painful to go read the old work because I’m not in that pace anymore. But I save it to remind me.”