Japonica Waters sat down to talk with the CPC on the afternoon of April 18th 2018. She brought her son, Elijah, along with her. Elijah is one and a half years old. Japonica, a CPC friend and former client, shared her life story through smiles and attempts to occupy her little man. Her CPC story is not a typical story. Japonica has overcome a multitude of trials. In the midst of these trials, however, she had sought perseverance and hope, and she had relied upon the support of the CPC.
- Just to begin with, could tell me about your job, family, and something about yourself?
Japonica Waters: I’m 27 and Elijah is my second baby. My daughter would have been 9 this year. She was born in 2009. She passed away at 6 months old. Elijah is the one and only now and he is so smart. I work at Ulta. I was doing management at Ulta but I changed that to lead cashier because it was taking too much time, and my time is Elijah’s. I didn’t like the closing and staying late.
- Can you share your life story and you CPC story? Whatever details you are comfortable with.
JW: How I found CPC was that I had grown to a point where I had to get to pregnant. Thinking about my daughter and having that void to fill, I wanted another child to care for and to love me. We had been trying for 4 years but we were unable to get pregnant. We began going to a fertility clinic and we took tests and talked with doctors. I was told that I had less than a 1% chance to ever have another baby. I’m not going to say that I’m the best Christian alive, but I would rather not hear that and just put it in God’s hands. They tried to say that I have endometriosis. They told me that I had this and I had that. I didn’t want to go through procedures and surgery for all of that. I was having continuous stomach pain. My sister encouraged me to go to the doctor. Then she encouraged me to take a pregnancy test. I told her that she didn’t know how badly that hurt to keep taking pregnancy tests and seeing that it is negative. We had spent so much money on pregnancy and fertility tests. When it popped up two lines I thought, ‘this can’t be real.’ I had been trying for 4 years. But before I told anyone, I wanted to be 100% sure. I didn’t want to get my hopes completely up. My sister told me that she went to this place called the CPC, I asked what that was. She told me it was a Crisis pregnancy center. I told her that I didn’t need that but she said, ‘no, you don’t understand, they do so much more than what you think.’ So, I made an appointment. I worked with Miss Marlene, Miss Amanda, and Miss Emily. I took another test and they confirmed the pregnancy. But really, I would go and just talk with them. During my pregnancy I would just come, just to see and to talk. While coming to the CPC, I had a crisis in the middle of my pregnancy. Elijah’s dad had his hours cut at work. He was financially supporting us and money became tight so we had to move. I didn’t want to move in with anyone while I was pregnant and I was crying and all that. Miss Marlena and I talked and processed everything. I knew I wanted a child but this was not how I was supposed to do it in God’s eyes. I didn’t like the fact that I was that way and that we lived together, when we were not married, with a baby. After long consideration and talking, although I was engaged and he was still a great guy, I decided that our heads were in a different spot and it would work out best if we parted ways. I moved out and I moved in with my sister. I had been speaking back and forth with Miss Amanda and Miss Marlene and the other ladies. They helped me fill out applications and find housing. I called Miss Marlene yesterday to tell her that I had literally just got the keys to my own apartment last week. Now, me and Elijah are in the process of moving in.
- I know that this journey has been difficult. What has been the most difficult thing you have overcome during this journey?
JW: I think the most difficult thing was – as badly as I wanted to get pregnant, when I finally did get pregnant I felt like life was attacking me.
- Who were the people or what were the instances that made you feel most loved during this journey?
JW: Miss Amanda and Miss Marlene and Miss Emily made me feel the most loved. They were amazing. I felt like no matter what I always had someone to run to and to talk to in them.
- What was the one moment that defined your entire journey?
JW: Having Elijah defined my journey. It was a journey after having him, seeing as I’ve lost a child. After he was born, he was in NICU for a week and a half. That was traumatizing. He had TTN. His lungs had developed but they hadn’t started working. They wouldn’t allow him to get the air he needed. So, he was on a breathing machine and a CPAP machine and a feeding tube and all of that for a week and a half.”
- I know this question is personal and you only have to answer if you are comfortable. How does losing a child impact the experience of having another child?
JW: Losing a child is what drove me to want another child. I had never wanted children – I wanted to travel. I wanted to be the one of my mom’s kids without her own children. Finding out I was pregnant was, of course, a joyous time but finding out I was pregnant right out of High School was hard. Mom said it was okay. She told me that I had great grades and I had a scholarship. She knew that I would still be able to do all of the things I wanted to do and this this wasn’t going to stop my drive. There was a lot of support there. [My daughter] was a smart baby as well and losing her gave me depression. The feelings were very hard to deal with and then I was trying to get pregnant again. No one my age was walking around saying that they needed to get pregnant. It was very hard because I had lost my only child and then I was told that I could never have another one. I finally did get pregnant but we were trying to figure out why there was so much pain during my pregnancy. We found out after I had Elijah that during the entire pregnancy I had Gallstones. I had to have emergency surgery and stop breastfeeding. I couldn’t hold him close to me to feed him. But it hasn’t been hard to transition him to anything. He’s an awesome baby.
- I think I have a good picture of what life used to be like for you. What is life like now? How has life changed?
JW: My life was hectic prior to my CPC story. They’ve helped me so much during this journey, through prayer and support.
- Most women come to the CPC with a crisis pregnancy. They do not come wanting to get pregnant but rather not wanting to be pregnant. Your story is unique in this way. In light of this, what is your opinion about abortion and the pro-life and pro-choice movements?
JW: Being honest, I can’t think of a situation or see an option on earth as to justify the want or how someone can do that. Prior even to having my daughter, I still couldn’t see. I can’t just say, ‘having lost a baby how can you take a baby’s life?’ You know what it takes to get pregnant so if you don’t want a child don’t do it. You shouldn’t be doing it anyway, but that is just life now. There’s nothing in the world that can justify doing something like that. Pregnancy itself carries too many risks and dangers. Something can happen during a pregnancy to cause the termination of a child. Anything can happen in its own natural way. For you to just outright take a life I don’t think that’s right. Regardless if it’s your body, you created it. You’ve done something and you knew what the outcome could have been.
- The theme of the year, for the CPC, is hope. How has hope impacted your own journey?
JW: Hope played a significant role in my journey. I would say that the word hope is encouraging to me. It lets me know that no matter what, the push is a drive you should always have. There is no in choice in giving up – like with the pregnancy thing. No matter how long it takes, no matter the journey, you can never and you should never give up. Having hope in anything is kind of like having faith in God. You can’t set a time frame for what’s going to happen in life. You can only hope and wish for the best and it’s going to happen in God’s timing when it needs to happen. Because of hope and drive and wishing and wanting this little man is here.
- Why do you feel as if it is important to share your story?
JW: I feel like my story can provide hope for another individual. No one knows anyone else’s journey unless it’s just spoken aloud. Who knows, there could be someone else in a similar situation and my story could give them hope to keep pushing. Regardless if it’s getting pregnant or having a child in NICU or having to let go of something that you thought would be long term and then having to do things alone. There’s different things that I have gone through in my journey of life that could help others in many different ways.