Sharise suffered from postpartum depression and domestic violence, but home visitation from her HBP case manager helped her beat the odds and turn her life around.
Sharise first started meeting with a HBP case manager when she was pregnant and living in a temporary shelter with her toddler daughter. “I want to go college,” she told the case manager, who encouraged her to keep that dream alive. But in Sharise’s mind, her situation appeared hopeless. She struggled with severe depression – a condition that ran rampant in her family. Moreover, she had been raising her daughter and in the process of recovering from an abortion when she discovered she was now pregnant again.
Sharise’s depression spiraled downward even further after her son was born. By that point, she had moved into permanent housing. The stress of caring for two small children compounded further as Sharise faced a horrible domestic violence relationship with her son’s father. He beat her in front of both children, at one point endangering the baby and leaving Sharise bleeding and in need of stitches as he ran away with their son. He was later incarcerated.
Sharise continued to receive HBP home visits, treatment, and support from her case manager for nearly a year. Finally, after much counsel and encouragement, Sharise realized she needed to make a better life for herself. Her case manager helped her apply to and enroll in the University of the District of Columbia, where she is majoring in accounting.
“You Have to Keep Your Dreams Alive”
“I want to thank Healthy Babies Project for helping me get to where I am today,” says Sharise. “They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.” Even as a single mother, Sharise maintains a 3.3 grade point average and is on her way to receiving her accounting degree. She has primary custody of her two children.
“My case manager was there to support and help me through it all,” says Sharise. “Her inspiration helped me to survive my illness, give me a fresh outlook on life, and be motivated to make a better life for my kids.”
When asked what she might say to other young women in her situation, Sharise responded, “When you are feeling down, don’t let that state of mind keep you there. Get up and find support at Healthy Babies just as I did.”
“I have made it,” says Sharise. “You have to keep your dreams alive. I am proud to be still standing.”
If you know an at-risk pregnant D.C. resident who needs support, encourage her to contact Healthy Babies Project at (202) 396-2809.