The Church Gave Me the Opportunity of My Life at My Hardest Moment
Blanca Blandino’s delight at discovering she was pregnant morphed into depression when her partner abandoned her — and she realised she would have to raise her baby alone. Yet, at that same moment, when all seemed lost, her local church gave her an opportunity that changed her life.
05 Sep, 2018
Blanca was thrilled to find out she was pregnant. As a first-time mother, she hurried to share the news with her partner. But to her surprise, his reaction was not surprise, or joy — it was to leave her. She heard later that he was married and already had children. Her happiness turned into depression, and Blanca got very sick.
Isolated in a small room in her older sister’s house, she lived in despair, wondering what would happen to her. As well as raising her baby, she knew she would need to keep caring for her nine-year-old sister, Jahoska. But how?
When her neighbours saw her situation, they told her about the church’s program for mothers and babies in extreme need. Blanca visited the Estrella de Belen Church and was welcomed into the Compassion Mums and Babies Survival project. She was four months pregnant.
“I didn’t know how to keep going. I cried and prayed to God and asked Him, ‘What should I do?’ That’s when the project intervened and things got better … The church gave me the opportunity of my life at my hardest moment,” she says.
Malnourished and anaemic from eating just one meal a day, Blanca received milk, meals and medicine to restore her health. For the first time, she had an ultrasound—and discovered her baby was actually twins!
Just as crucial as the physical care she received was the emotional and spiritual support the staff gave her: They visited frequently and prayed with her, and organised for her to see a psychologist. Her emotional recovery is still a process, but she is slowly healing.
“My implementer and project director have been very special to me. They gave me all the support I needed, especially emotionally, and I’ve improved a lot,” she says.
The days passed, and a sudden surprise came in the seventh month of pregnancy when Blanca had labour pains and the twins — Brithany and Genesis — arrived. Thankfully, mother and babies were fine.
Reyna Sanchez, the project implementer, says, “[Blanca’s] situation continues to be hard, but she is courageous as she keeps on [caring for her daughters and her sister]. We help her when she runs out of food. The help we give her is [only a] little, but she feels it is something great and is thankful.”
Blanca washes clothes to make some money, but it’s difficult because she has no one to help her take care of the girls; they have to go with her to wash.
However, “Blanca is happy,” says Reyna, “because at least her twins receive food at the project, as does her young sister who is also registered in the Child Sponsorship Program. Whenever she needs something, she comes here [to the project] or calls me for advice and prayer. She trusts in me a lot, and I’m honoured to be of help to her and the other mothers.”
“I’m very happy to be at the project, for so many blessings and for the sponsors and project staff,” says Blanca. “I do things better with my twins because of what I learn in the classes. I feel at peace here. Spiritually, I have grown because God answers my prayers, although I have not accepted Him yet.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have the project’s help, but I know I would have had my babies no matter what and would have fought for them. It is hard to be a single mother. I’m alone, but it’s been a good experience. I don’t regret having my girls, and I thank God for them and for the project.”