Karen’s Story

Karen had always dreamed of having a daughter. After being diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 23, Karen received the crushing news that she could never have children. Two different doctors confirmed her infertility, so motherhood was clearly out of the question.

At age 41, eighteen years later, Karen had long accepted her fate.  She was in a loving relationship with Kevin, her live-in boyfriend, who was turning 60 and enjoying retirement.  The topic of having children never came up in discussion.

In early winter of 2016, Karen underwent a routine colonoscopy. Following the procedure, she was prescribed medication that she was told would interfere with her menstruation cycle. So, when Karen kept missing her period, she didn’t think much about it. After the fourth month, she still didn’t think much about it but noticed her breasts had become abnormally sore.  Karen turned to the Internet for answers, but something wasn’t adding up:  her search was pointing to pregnancy. Karen knew it was impossible, but decided to purchase a pregnancy test anyway to rule it out. Even when it turned out positive, Karen assumed the test was faulty so she went to the doctors for more tests, all of which came back positive. There was no mistake, Karen was pregnant!

On September 02, 2016 Karen’s lifelong dream came true and her daughter, Kay, was born. Kay arrived a few weeks early, so with only four months to prepare all Karen had purchased were two sleepers, a hat and an infant car seat. In truth, a deeper reason had been causing Karen to put off planning her daughter’s arrival: the notion that a baby was truly on the way was far too perplexing and precious to grasp! This was not something that was supposed to ever happen and Karen had already come to terms with that reality—grieving the loss of the dream for a child she would never meet—many years ago.

So now that her daughter was actually here, and it wasn’t just a fantasy, Karen enthusiastically came to our centre for help for her baby and for herself with being a first time parent. Through our Earn While You Learn Program, Karen was able to hit two birds with one stone.  She received parenting skills through watching videos, doing homework and by talking with her client advocate, Sharon LeBoubon, who could speak from experience as a mother of two (grandmother of seven).  Secondly, Karen received all the free baby supplies she needed for participating in the program and could now provide Kay with the basics.

Karen soon discovered that she was also able to hit a third bird with her stone. She was able to receive help for matters that she hadn’t initially considered pressing. One of those matters was linked to the fact that she and her boyfriend were older parents and none of their friends were in the same boat as were they. (While they were coping with the challenges of having a newborn infant, their friends were basking in the freedom of being grandparents.)  The sudden increase in responsibility as a new parent and dramatic changes in routine were also common topics of conversation.

Karen admits she finds it extremely refreshing to connect with someone every week who understands right where she was at and has come to view the centre as a second home.