Success Story: <br>The Power of Community

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LOOKING OUT FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF MY DAUGHTER

““NFRC is one of the touchstones in my life that reminds me that all of what’s best for me is best for my daughter. It was not only a place that helped my family, but a place that taught me how to take good care of myself.”

Christine and her one-year-old daughter moved in with her parents after she left her former husband for the final time. She had left a few times prior, but this was different – things were bad and she needed to get out. After hearing about Christine’s story, her parent’s neighbor, a Howard County Social worker, urged Christine to go to NFRC. “I trusted her,” Christine said, “so I went to the women’s group at NFRC.” Immediately finding solace in being surrounded by women experiencing similar transitions as she, Christine felt relief. “I was able to see a new life outside of this messy situation that was inherently good.”

At the time of Christine’s separation and divorce, all of her friends were either single or married with kids. “They could be as fabulously supportive of me as they were, but that didn’t change the fact that I felt different in their presence now that I was a single mother,” Christine said. “When I was in NFRC’s women’s group I didn’t feel different – and that is hugely valuable.”

Christine started with the NFRC women’s group, and soon after she and her daughter both received individual counseling. She later expanded her role and became a peer counselor. Now, almost ten years later, Christine’s daughter is participating as a peer counselor as well. NFRC remains a part of their healthy, happy lives.

“I decided in the very beginning that every decision I make would be in the best interest of my daughter,” Christine says of the start of her journey. But what does that mean? How do we learn how to actually implement that lifestyle? “When I look back and see what NFRC really helped me with, it’s figuring out how I was going to live that philosophy, that belief, that commitment.”

Christine also described how this guiding principle evolved throughout her journey with NFRC and served as a way to measure her own personal growth. “In the beginning it was everything from the jobs I took, to the people I dated and didn’t date, to the way I spoke about my daughter’s father, to exercising and taking care of my health. All of those kinds of decisions where I learned to care for myself, to handle my anger, my sadness, my fear – all of that was to make good decisions that were in her best interest.”

A powerful example Christine provided of this was when she turned down a promotion she has received simply because it wasn’t right for her daughter at the time – a promotion that would have prevented her from having to continually work three jobs. “It had to be right for us. From those kinds of things, to where we decided to live, to the very deliberate way that I created a support community around us were always with the idea of my child’s best interest in mind.”

In highlighting the power of the NFRC community throughout her transition, Christine talked about the benefit of being able to continually speak her story. “Noticing that I’m not angry about my divorce any more and knowing that all of those deliberate steps I’ve taken over the years helped me to become who I am today.”

Christine realizes that doing what is best for her and her daughter is not always easy, but NFRC helps validate the difficult decisions she has to make. “Sometimes it’s hard. I can get resentful when I don’t have child support coming in so things get tight, or the fact that I have to work three jobs, all of that stuff. But the bigger reality is life gets better.” Through these tough times Christine said that having a separate third part, like NFRC, teach her what it meant to make good decisions was a pivotal part of her transition. “NFRC is a great place to figure out how my daughter and I could create this incredible life together, even if it was not the life I had envisioned years ago.”

 

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