The Strength of Mama: The Voices in Poverty Resist Series!
November 20th, 2012
My name is Jacqueline Mendez. I'm the first one from six. In my family we are 7 in total. I'm 28 years old. I had a really rough childhood, never got to be a child. Since I was the first I had to help my mom with my brothers and sisters, while she was at work and our dad wasn't around to help. We saw how she struggled.
I went through a lot of violence and I was sexually abused by my father, which has messed up my life. For me my way out of all that was getting involved with my kids' dad. This ended up not working out after ten years. After we split up, once again I made the mistake of getting involved with a guy and got pregnant by him. Now I'm almost 7 months pregnant and I stay with my mom.
I have no job and need to care for my ten-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. I'm really depressed cause as an immigrant I really can't get a good job but I wish for my dream to become a massage therapist and provide for my kids. But for now I have to deal with my own demons which I call my problems. Because I don't have a job I'm thinking of giving my unborn son up for adoption. If I can't provide for my two oldest I don't know how I will provide for this one. And the people that know about it, they all tell me there are options. Some are like, "This is the best decision you can make. You are growing up and you are not only thinking about you, you're thinking about that baby's well-being." Others end up telling me, "In the end it's your decision." So now I'm a single mother.
But I thank God for giving me the mother he gave me. Now I'm trying to be as strong as she is, not for me but for my kids. I know that in order for that to happen I need to find myself. In the meanwhile, I talk to my daughter about staying in school and I do as much as I can to keep her and my son in school, for them to have a good education and be someone in life.
This story was written by Jacqueline, a poverty skolar from Community Asset Development Re-Defining Education (CADRE), for the Voices of Poverty Resist series. This series was launched out of a fellowship that Lisa received from the Marguerite Casey Foundation for journalism focused on poverty. Because Lisa leads with her indigenous values of inter-dependence she has created this collective journalism process where all of our voices in poverty are speaking for ourselves.