2:15am. I stared at the clock remembering the moment I decided to run away from your father. You were born the same time I left him. Life from so much death. I sat up from the bed in the hospital and stared at your tiny face emulating beauty. I swear to you he will never hurt your face the way he hurt mine. He will never destroy your spirit the way he tried to destroy mine.
87 days. We travelled in my Oldsmobile with nowhere to go and no family to call. I had barely saved a couple hundred dollars from cleaning houses and you were growing and my body was swelling in fear of what was to come for us.
What will we do now?
You are here in the world and we can’t leave because we have no place to go. With my hands shaking from the medication, I pulled my hair aside as my eyes welled up with tears. I heard the nurses whispering in the background – “She has a lot of baggage – lots of hard dynamics here.”
I slumped over. Would they take you from me? What am I to do as a homeless woman postpartum with you?
I began to deep throat sob and rocked you back and forth until we both fell asleep. What do you do when you have nowhere to go? What do you do when you’re just “a lot to handle?” All I ever wanted for you was to give you what I never had.
As my eyes fluttered awake the next morning after nightmares of what our life could be like, a nurse told me that she made a call to Mary’s Home which housed homeless mothers. With zero options and life of the streets still pending, I was willing to go anywhere so I could keep you.
They discharged us from the hospital and I slowly walked into, what they told me, was a little apartment of our own. I closed the door behind me and with my back to the wall fell to the ground. I began to sob with you in my arms, tears collecting on your face – this, this was joy. I carefully traced the carpet with my hands. I couldn’t believe I had a safe place to sleep. I had a place to put you to sleep. Nothing else mattered in this moment.
10am. I was greeted by a kind woman who put her arms around me and told me I was safe within this space. She smiled and told me she had prayed for the both of us and that on the most practical of levels, God knew this is where we were supposed to be.
I had never known love and support like this. I didn’t know how to thank them as I knew I could never repay them. But this I learned during the first few weeks: there is a radical thing called grace. I saw it in the eyes of each of the people who worked at Mary’s Home.