I’ve always been passionate about the preborn, but it wasn’t until my own pregnancy and experience with motherhood that I really developed a heart for these women in crisis pregnancies. I had a great support system, a loving husband, a stable financial situation, and a saving faith in Christ and yet, motherhood was still really hard! I couldn’t imagine how much harder it was for these women who didn’t have all the advantages that I did. I knew I needed to jump in somewhere and serve.
I was paired with my mentee, Ruth, in January 2020 after she was referred to our unexpected pregnancy program through Watermark Urgent Care. She is an immigrant from Nigeria and has a strong Christian faith. When she entered the program, Ruth was in an unhappy marriage. Her husband was not supportive of her having the child since they already had three children and were struggling financially. Soon after she found out she was pregnant, Ruth’s husband renounced his Christian faith.
The beginning of my relationship with Ruth focused on finding affordable prenatal care for Ruth and figuring out what her options were through government assistance and other programs. During the COVID pandemic, Ruth and I took Zoom educational childcare classes together through Prestonwood Pregnancy Center, so that she could earn "diaper bucks" for diapers and a car seat. I would pray for Ruth, text encouragement and scripture, check-in on her, and just be excited for her pregnancy that wasn't being celebrated by many others. As Ruth became more comfortable around me, we started talking about things other than her unplanned pregnancy, such as her home and family back in Nigeria, her likes/dislikes, and conflict she was having with friends.
As her due date got closer, she had an induction scheduled and asked me to be the one to be with her in the hospital, since only one visitor was allowed due to COVID restrictions. The night before Ruth's scheduled induction, my husband, Joshua, felt moved to say something and asked me to ask Ruth to reconsider her one visitor choice and to choose her husband instead. Ruth had previously told me that she would just go alone if I couldn't go with her, and that having her husband there wasn't an option, but I agreed to ask her again.
5:00 AM that next morning, Ruth went into spontaneous labor. She had a very quick, two-hour labor before she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. By the time I was on my way to the hospital, her husband was already there with her. Ruth shared that after the birth, her husband was a new man. He was so attentive and loving toward her and the child. Ruth noted that he has never been like this in the 10 years that they've been married. Three months after the birth, he is still just as loving and attentive. It was amazing to see God use her spontaneous labor and her husband being there for the birth to change her husband’s heart!
One of my favorite parts of my mentoring experience is seeing how my time with Ruth turned from a mentorship into a real friendship. It’s been a gift to see how God changed not only Ruth's life through this ministry, but my life as well. The program is supposed to last up to one year after the child's birth, but I can't imagine our relationship ending at that time. I'm pregnant now, and as my own due date gets closer and closer, Ruth has been checking in on me, sending me encouragement, and praying for me. It's funny to see the roles reverse and I don't think an outsider would be able to tell who is mentoring who at this point.
Through my mentorship experience, I’ve learned to trust in the Lord and His sovereign will more. Being paired with a mentee can be an intimidating experience and it’s not uncommon to feel ill-equipped for such a task, but that’s when you have to depend on the Lord to make up for where you lack. All God calls us to be is faithful, willing, and obedient. He will do the rest. When I started trusting in that, it took a lot of pressure off and I was able to be a better mentor and friend to my mentee.
My name is Tia Stelzer and this is my mentoring story. If you need help or want to get involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you find yourself in a unplanned pregnacy, check out Watermark's unexpected pregnacy ministry and how they can help you navigate this season of life.