Having a Baby During a Pandemic When Dad is Far Away
While driving to work one day, Ashley passed our Cincinnati-area Women’s Center and remembered that she had missed her period. Ashley’s boyfriend Clay, a member of the United States Army National Guard, was set to deploy in a few months and they had not planned to get pregnant any time soon. When Ashley received her positive pregnancy test result she felt overwhelmed and unsure of her next steps. She received an ultrasound that day confirming her due date would be just one month after Clay’s deployment. Ashley and Clay felt very scared at the prospect of having a newborn to care for, especially without the in-person support of one another during Clay’s deployment. They signed up for pregnancy and parenting classes and became regular visitors to the Women’s Center. Our staff continued getting to know Ashley and Clay and came to look forward to their weekly visits. Even while Clay was deployed, Ashley continued to visit the Women’s Center every week. When she gave birth, we were overjoyed to meet the couple’s perfect little baby Bruce. A few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and it became more difficult for Ashley to see her family. Ashley was left to care for Bruce on her own, with Clay providing support through daily video chats. Unfortunately, we had to limit our in-person classes, but Ashley was able to continue taking virtual classes with us and we still saw her at least monthly when she came to pick up diapers and other baby items from our boutique. Ashley even celebrated her birthday at the Women’s Center! Clay returned from deployment just in time for the holiday season, and more importantly, his son’s first birthday! Ashley told us that without the support of the Women’s Center, she doesn’t know how she would have made it through pregnancy and the first several months of Bruce’s life. We are so grateful to be serving this adorable little family!