Barely 105 pounds. In the clutches of drug use. Pregnant.
It wasn’t until her 30th week that Tynikki discovered she was expecting her second child. The first phone call was to her social worker who immediately enrolled her in an inpatient program to get clean. “It wasn’t a good fit,” Tynikki says. “They wanted to take my son away from me after he was born. They only wanted toddlers or older kids. They didn’t know how to help me take care of a baby.”
Facing possible separation, she knew she had to find another place to live. Her social worker found Maud’s House, a shelter for women in recovery and their children. “I feel safe and loved and supported here,” Tynikki beams. “Belinda is so different. She is welcoming. And there are a lot of moms and grandmas to help out.”
When Messiah came into the world the day before Thanksgiving at a healthy 7 pounds, 11 ounces, nobody suspected he would be in the hospital a few short weeks later. Born with two holes in his heart, he required open heart surgery and round-the-clock care. Tynikki says that Maud’s House lets her live a stress-free life while supporting her in caring for Messiah.
Celebrating 7 months of sobriety, she decided to quit smoking. Her efforts are winning her visitation rights to her 4-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, who has been living with family while Tynikki learns to live sober once and for all. Reflecting on this, Tynikki is certain that she would be “stuck in the same spot” and imagines Messiah would have been taken away, if not for Maud’s House. For others in similar circumstances, she says, “Just try to reach out. There may be a waiting list, but be patient. It’s worth the wait.”
Soon, Messiah will be free of his feeding tube. He grows stronger each day, recovering from a surgery he’ll never remember while his mother recovers from decisions she’ll never forget. They are fighters. They have each other. They have a future.