Originally posted on MassLive.
By Fransheska Colon, Healthy Families participant
I would hang the moon for my daughter, but when I brought her into this world, I had no idea what I was doing or how she would fit into my life. I was working the overnight shift at a warehouse. How do you fit a child into that schedule? It was overwhelming, but I knew I had to do whatever needed to be done to give my daughter the beautiful life she deserves.
They say kids learn from their parents and I guess in a way, I did too. I grew up in the Bronx but my mom knew it was no place to raise a family, so she moved us to Springfield. At 15 years old, I couldn’t fathom why she would leave everything we knew so I moved back at the first chance I got. But she was right, it was no place to build a life and now as a mother myself, I understand why she made that sacrifice. Recognizing that my life wasn’t just about me anymore helped me grow as a person and as a mother.
When my daughter was born, my life revolved around working and suddenly that wasn’t an option anymore. I had just figured out how to be an adult, but I didn’t know how to be a parent, too. Luckily, I was introduced to the Children’s Trust Healthy Families program which pairs first-time moms and dads with home visitors who help you learn how to be a parent. My home visitor, Theresa, from SquareOne in Springfield, was a godsend. She helped me adjust to the changes in my life, from setting goals about what I wanted out of my future to helping me babyproof my house. She supported me and listened to me, helping me grow so much as a person since my daughter was born.
I’ve also learned how to co-parent my daughter. Her father and I weren’t together when she was born, but because of Healthy Families, we learned how to co-parent and ended up reconciling our differences. He has a child from a previous relationship so now we are one big, happy blended family. My daughter is so lucky to have so many people around her all the time that support and love her.
Theresa does everything with love and care and has modeled that approach to life for me so that I can provide that same support for my daughter as she grows. She is always on my side, encouraging my goals and giving me the confidence to chase my wildest dreams. I’ve recently begun pursuing a career in cosmetology and I never could’ve done that without her support.
Watching my daughter grow and flourish, knowing that I get to spend her life encouraging her and loving her, is the greatest blessing of my life. I loved her from the moment she was born, but without Healthy Families, I’m not sure that I would have found the appreciation for how motherhood changed my life. It’s not a sacrifice to build a better life for your child, it’s a joy and privilege that I am grateful to have.