23 September 2013
Years ago when someone asked me what welfare was my answer was always negative. I grew up in a small southern town where most of the population was either wealthy or retired families. If someone was on welfare or living off the government as it was referred to was looked down upon and made fun of. Single mothers that were on government assistance were called “welfare moms.” These women were labeled as lazy and good for nothing or just plain trash. No one ever cared about the reasons or situations these women had. I have to admit I joined in on the trash talk and I swore that I would never be one of “those” women. As a recently laid off woman and pregnant, my life was turning upside down. I had money in my savings account but not enough to cover all the expensive things I needed for a baby. My chances of getting a job were slim to none now that I had a baby on the way. My daughter’s father and I had separated so I had no help. For once in my life I was truly stuck. I was twenty-six years old, unemployed, and un-insured. I only had one option. I had to apply for welfare. I battled myself for several days and cried so much. My pride was the only thing getting in my way. Finally I realized that I had to do what was best for my unborn child and myself. I went to the Health Department the next day. I forced myself to wait until I saw a worker. Once I was seen by the worker and told her my story she quickly approved me for Tenncare health insurance and then sat up appointments for both WIC and DHS to apply for food stamps. I left the Health Department depressed and full of shame. I had become something I had promised myself I would never become. I was a “welfare mom.” I quickly became depressed and started to lose weight. Being pregnant and losing weight was not a good thing for both the mother and the baby. I refused to use the food stamps that were given to me. I...
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