NORTH TEXAS GIVING DAY
By Maria Eichhold
Imagine this first scenario. You find out you are pregnant and begin to tell your family and friends. They hug you, congratulate you, give you gifts, make offers to babysit. They shower you with love and encouragement. As the pregnant mother, you may feel some uncertainty, some fear, but through it all, you know you have the support of others.
Now imagine another scenario. You find out you’re pregnant and begin to tell your support system. The father of the child wants nothing to do with the pregnancy or child and tells you to find another place to live. Your family tells you they have no space for you. You turn to shelters in the area only to find out they’re full or don’t accept pregnant women. You have only fear, only uncertainty coupled with people telling you “You can’t,” “You’re not capable,” or “I can’t support you.”
Where do you turn? That’s where In My Shoes comes into play. In My Shoes provides a safe, welcoming community for women who are pregnant and homeless or at risk of homelessness. The women who enter the program are homeless for many reasons — they may suffer from a mental illness, addictions, unhealthy relationships, lack of faith, etc. Every woman the community helps has their own story, but counselors often see women with two common denominators — past trauma and lack of healthy social relationships.
When a woman first steps in the home, the staff doesn’t know everything about her past or even the situation from which she comes at that moment, but they are committed, at that point, to walking with her during the journey of her pregnancy and beyond. During this journey, In My Shoes’ purpose is to restore and prepare this woman to live a life of stability.
Women at In My Shoes enter the program anytime during their pregnancy and can stay until their baby is nine months old initially. When a mom is showing progress on her goals, she can apply for extensions, at which point she can stay up to two years. In My Shoes recognizes that every mom has certain barriers she has to overcome, and the staff strives to meet her where she is to overcome those barriers.
While at In My Shoes, the woman not only has a place to sleep for herself and her baby, she also has the opportunity to participate in classes, from childbirth education to financial literacy. She meets with an individual counselor and participates in group counseling with the other mothers in the home once a week.
Furthermore, every mom is set up with a live-in staff person who acts as her advocate while in the home. The mom’s advocate will meet with her weekly to help her sort through and attain her goals and provide her with emotional support. Most importantly, this advocate will go to the hospital with the mom when she goes into labor, if the mom has no one else to be there with her.
North Texas Giving Day is on Sept. 19. This also happens to be the anniversary of In My Shoes opening its doors to the first mom two years ago. The home has an 18-bed facility, but due to lack of funding and resources, they currently house only six moms with their babies at a time. The goal is to house 10-12 women by the end of 2019. In My Shoes is hoping to raise $9,000 through North Texas Giving Day. By raising $9,000, In My Shoes will ensure its ability to provide a safe place for moms and to help more babies by the end of the year.
Get up and give to moms and babies! Visit NorthTexasGivingDay.org/
in-my-shoes to donate!