We usually have at least one person in our lives to call when we need help. That person could be a parent, sibling, family member or friend. Jessica, a young mother, used to believe she had two people in the world to call on for help- her husband and her mother- both of whom work up to twelve hour shifts, five days a week.
Jessica and her husband have been blessed with a chatty little girl, Harper. Harper is a very precocious toddler who has been keeping Jessica on her toes since she was born. Jessica is responsible for all of the day-to-day responsibilities of her household and for caring for Harper. Twenty-six weeks into her second pregnancy, Jessica went into pre-term labor. With contractions every fifteen minutes, she got nervous. At twenty-eight weeks, when the contractions continued and Jessica was put on bed rest, she was terrified. She was scared for Harper, for herself and for the life of her unborn baby.
Harper didn’t understand why mommy had to rest all day and couldn’t play with her. The doctor told Jessica that she had one job and one job only: To stay off of her feet and keep her unborn baby in the womb for as long as possible. Jessica had no one who could help take care of Harper because her husband and mother-in-law could not miss work. She had no idea how she was supposed to care for herself and the unborn baby while looking after an active toddler.
In stepped The Nest, a childcare agency that United Way of the Bluegrass actively supports and helps to fund. The Nest cared for Harper five days a week and worked with the family’s schedule of early mornings and late evenings. Jessica was able to concentrate on the health of her baby, while Harper received a safe and high-quality childcare experience. Every day Harper came home from The Nest having learned something new. She was working on her ABCs, learning sign language and singing songs she had learned.
Jessica’s pregnancy remained rocky. She was required to be in the hospital every week, and her son was born early with some complications that have since healed. Jessica believes the daily stress of looking after Harper would have meant that little Jackson would have arrived much sooner, and that he might not be here today had she not had the help she received from The Nest.
Jessica’s story is just one of hundreds of examples that demonstrate the positive influence that the United Way has in the local community. Every day United Way is helping agencies around Central Kentucky provide quality childcare and education to those families who have no one else to turn to, and need the help and support of their community.
If you are asking yourself why you should support United Way of the Bluegrass, the answer is simple: So that families like Jessica’s know they have a helping hand when they need it.