Photo Essay: Mothers talk about raising babies in prison
Being in the Residential Parenting Program has just given me a second chance, you know? I didn’t really have a place to send my baby to. I was blessed to be able to keep my baby here and it just shows me that I have a second chance.
Nobody I knew was with me when I gave birth. Nobody. But, gosh, the one [prison corrections] officer was so great. I was leaning over the officer. I was slobbering, crying, and she didn’t care about her uniform. I wish I could think of her name so I could thank her. But the officer, she was awesome. She’d say, “You can do it!” and she was breathing with me through my contractions.
My mom gave me meth when I was 11. We were camping and I caught her sniffing it. I’m like, "What is that?!" She says, "It’s crank. Want some?" And she gave me some.
My mother had a crush on the guy that raped me so she was angry at me. She called me a slut. You’re only the second person that I’ve told.
I’m still in that whole learning about myself process. I’m willing to grow now. I’ve changed a lot since I’ve been here. I’ve grown. Everybody is like, “You’re such a different person than when you came in.” I’m more mature. I have to be. I’m a mom now. It’s not about me anymore.
We are all broken. A part of us is broken, no matter how good or bad our lives have been, we all have some point where we all can meet.
I’ve learned a lot at Early Head Start. I meet with the Early Head Start people every other week right now. They help me with anything I want to know… SIDS, giving birth…I just got three certificates yesterday doing hands-on with eyes, hearing, smells, how babies work and how they are different. It is amazing because I would have never thought that when a newborn comes out, that they have all that going on already. I’m excited to try all these new things with my baby.