Just sixteen years old, Jasmine was in high school and had a boyfriend. When she found at she was pregnant and told her boyfriend, he told her he wasn’t ready to be a father. And honestly, Jasmine knew she didn’t feel ready to be a parent either.
During the beginning of her pregnancy, her mom and sisters supported her. But as her pregnancy went on, her mother’s support wavered and she ended up moving out and sleeping on one person’s couch, then another’s. Going to school became difficult with such uncertain living conditions. At 5 months pregnant, she lived with a foster family for a short time but the arrangement there didn’t work out either. Recognizing that she needed a stable place to sleep each night, the Department of Children & Families interceded and found her a spot in a shelter even though she was only 17 because her daughter was due soon. Sasha was born and when she came home from the hospital, her very first home was Jasmine’s shelter room.
Depression came on quickly after Sasha was born and had much to do with the lack of support Jasmine had around her.
“Time was the greatest medicine to the sadness I felt after giving birth. Friends and staff at Horizons helped me get through. Just checking on how I was doing was so helpful. They gave me reassurance that I would get through and that there were people who cared for both me and Sasha.”
Sasha started in the infant class at Horizons when she was just 3 months old, allowing Jasmine to return to high school. Her junior year back, she started being more thoughtful about her decision making. Her senior year she succeeded in finding the balance between her personal and academic life. With the help of her shelter social worker and support at Horizons, Jasmine has taken on motherhood and excelled as a new mom too.
This past August she graduated with her high school diploma. Her time in high school sparked a love of reading and literature and she’s currently working at a bookstore. She’s also been writing, using journaling as a means to express her feelings. “I’m not sure what my future will hold but I know that I can work hard and see results.”
Today, Sasha is 2 ½ and attends school at Horizons in Dorchester. Jasmine is 19 and looking ahead to the future for herself and her daughter.
“I want her to have a better experience than I’ve had. I want her to go to college, have a career and see and value her own capabilities. Right now she has a spark for life. I want her to keep that and let it grow,” offered Jasmine about Sasha,“Surely she’ll want things for herself too. Whatever those are, I will always be there for her.”