My story starts when I got married at 18 years old. In my culture, arranged marriages are normal. But despite my country’s culture, I was not ready for marriage. My husband was double my age and I experienced spousal abuse. It was not a good marriage. Even though many people knew of my situation, once you’re married, there’s no going back. Soon after I was married, I became pregnant. It wasn’t a happy experience for me because due to unforeseen medical issues, my baby only lived 1 week after birth. It was a horrible time. I didn’t feel supported and my husband wasn’t there for me.
In 2019 I found out that I was pregnant again when I missed my period. I didn’t want the baby to be honest. I tried to exercise a lot to induce a miscarriage, but it didn’t happen. So, I thought maybe this was supposed to happen and I continued on with my pregnancy.
During this time, my family was arranging my younger sister’s marriage. Thankfully my sister saw the life I’d lived, and she didn’t want to go through with it. That’s when we had the idea of running away to Canada. Our cousin had a friend living here and he helped us leave. We arrived in Canada in July. I was 4 months pregnant and I had a mixture of feelings. Part of me was relieved, but the other part of me was scared. We were in a land where we didn’t know anyone; we didn’t know what was going to happen tomorrow.
After staying a week at our cousin’s friend’s house, we had to go to a women’s shelter. I was at the shelter for about 3 months and one day I searched for pregnancy support on the internet. The Pregnancy Care Centre’s (PCC) IAmNotAlone website popped up and I started to read their client stories. I remember reading one of the newcomer-to-Canada stories which originally caught my attention! I got excited but then I thought, “Am I ready to speak about my life with strangers? To tell people what happened to me in my home country?” But when I read the story further it gave me hope.
A few days later, I emailed PCC to book an appointment. I was 39 weeks pregnant when I came for my appointment and I met Lesley, a support worker at the Scarborough office. She was very nice to me and told me all that PCC could help me with. When our appointment ended, she told me she would send an email with resources and she did. After that day I finally felt that I could do all this! I could be a new mom and have a fresh start at life here in Canada.
In December, just weeks after my first appointment, I had my baby girl. I didn’t know I’d love her so much. I didn’t expect I could be so attached to her and happy. Since having my daughter, my life has changed dramatically. I love my baby and have more supports than ever before. PCC assisted me with a lot of material and community supports. My daughter’s first outfit was from PCC’s closet!
A month after my daughter was born, I came back to PCC and Lesley did a survey with me about how well I was doing and if I had any regrets about my unexpected pregnancy. This survey really got me thinking. I never thought about of how far I’ve come until then! I am proud of myself. Where I am now is better than where I used to be.
I once was afraid of sharing my story but now I’m not. I’d like to encourage those in an unexpected pregnancy that having someone by your side is very important. And it’s always good to talk. Even if it’s negative, just speak it out. Don’t keep it to yourself. I used to have bad thoughts but whenever I shared them it helped me. I absolutely recommend the Pregnancy Care Centre if you need help and someone to listen to your story. My only regret I have in this pregnancy is that I wish I came to PCC earlier.