Imagine being pregnant with twins during a pandemic. Now picture having three kids on top of that with no one in town to lean on for support except your husband. That’s the reality for local mom, Ariana Rodriguez.
This time around, 34-year-old Rodriguez is pregnant without her mother and family right by her side to help on a daily basis. You see, Rodriguez moved to East Bakersfield in 2017, while most of her loved ones reside in Riverside. Enter the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center:
“I just googled where to do a free pregnancy test around Bakersfield, and it was the first thing that popped up,” Ariana Rodriguez, Bakersfield Pregnancy Center client, said.
Rodriguez went to the pregnancy center back in July when she was just four weeks pregnant, but her visits didn’t stop there. Rodriguez says that the people, the services, and resources kept her wanting to come back, including the “Earn While You Learn” classes. These are parenting classes where you can get points and use them toward baby supplies and goods at the pregnancy’s "store."
“Being a mother, you think you’re doing the right thing, but sometimes we’re not. and so seeing the videos helps me be a better mom,” Rodriguez said. And in said classes, she’s formed a bond with one particular instructor, named Donna.
“I have a good connection with her. I see her every Tuesday when I can, and I can get out of the house for a bit and we talk. She asks me questions about how I feel. She makes me feel comfortable,” Rodriguez said.
Before COVID-19, these classes would instruct mothers and fathers in groups of fifteen twice a week. But with CDC guidelines in mind like wearing masks and social distancing, these sessions are now one-on-one and once a week.
“It’s become a big blessing because we really get to know the people...It’s nice to know that every Tuesday, I get to see her. She texts me every once in a while and says, ‘hey I just had my ultrasound,’" Bakersfield Pregnancy Center volunteer, Donna Chaffee said. “When she did the gender reveal she sent me the video balloon pop, two boys yay! So it’s very exciting.”
Chaffee says each week's classes include videos, worksheets, and homework for parents on a different topic. examples include infant CPR, information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID), and what to do when your baby cries.
She adds that in order to be an instructor at the center, you are required to go through “intensive training” and be an active Christian.
“Being a God-centered center, and loving on the people who walk through the door, even when they’re really different from what we are and not judging people that’s why we’re successful,” Chaffee said.
Now at 18 weeks pregnant, Rodriguez continues to attend those private classes, learning more skills of motherhood while gaining points for necessities like diapers and car seats.
And as you know, the Bakersfield Baby Shower is just around the corner on November 19. Here’s a list of desired donation items to help mothers like Ariana.