Pregnant and Alone

Prab and her baby girl

 Prab, 20, was studying in Canada when she discovered she was pregnant. Her husband resided in their home country of India and, due to COVID-19 restrictions, was unable to travel for the birth of their first child.

“In 2019, I went home to India to be married,” says Prab. “A few months after I returned to Canada, I discovered I was pregnant.”

“Without Grace Haven, my life would be extremely hard”

Alone and anxious about her pregnancy, Prab searched online for services and supports that would help her manage a delivery and learn how to care for a baby. That’s when she discovered The Salvation Army’s Grace Haven in Hamilton, Ont.

“Grace Haven was founded in 1896 to serve young women and their children,” says Major June Newbury, executive director. “Pregnancy and parenthood don’t mean it is impossible for young women to do well in school or build on their parenting skills. They just need extra supports.“

Two major program streams are offered at Grace Haven for females ages 13 to 21. The residential program provides prenatal and postnatal care, life skills, preparation for independent living, counselling, parenting education, infant play, recreation and more. The community program offers high-school credits onsite, life-skills and parenting classes, counselling and free childcare.

“Before Grace Haven, I lived in one room in a basement,” says Prab. “I went to school during the day and worked at night. I didn’t know anyone and had no one to talk to about the fear of giving birth on my own and stepping into the role of parenthood for the first time.”

In January 2020, Prab moved into the residential program at Grace Haven where staff prepared her for the challenges of pregnancy and delivery, and educated her on newborn care, which included how to change a diaper and give an infant a bath.

“They became my family. For that, I am truly grateful”

“On May 12, 2020, I delivered a healthy baby girl,” says Prab. “Because my family was unable to attend the birth, the hospital agreed that Major June could be there. She stayed with me for two days—even during the virus.”

Today, Prab’s future looks bright as she has graduated from college, applied for a work permit and eagerly awaits the day that she and her family will reunite.

“Without Grace Haven, my life would be extremely hard,” says Prab. “They became my family. For that, I am truly grateful.”

By Linda Leigh