Every Life Matters

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I am a senior biology major at Fisk University. I heard about Hope Clinic from my friend who came to Hope Clinic during her undergraduate years at Fisk. Before that, I didn’t know much about Hope Clinic other than the fact that they have affordable health care for college students like myself. 

I came in for basic women’s healthcare services. My experience was great; I felt comfortable with my Nurse Practitioner. We had a great conversation about all the services Hope Clinic has to offer. This has been great for me to be able to share with other students on campus as I am a resident assistant. I would like to thank the supporters for donating to Hope Clinic.

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  This place is invaluable because everyone can’t afford health care insurance and often many college students’ health insurance (if they have any at all) doesn’t work outside their home state.

I was able to see a provider without worrying about the cost, and the care I received was incredible. Without your donations this wouldn’t be possible.  To the young woman who needs help: courage is not knowing where you’re going next, but knowing you aren’t going alone. With Hope Clinic you will not be alone.  

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A Letter from Our Ceo

“Our worth is not negotiated by other people”

This quote made me think about how often I make unhealthy choices when I let other people define my worth. We all want affirmation, especially from those we care about, but letting them assign our worth is a much deeper dependence and quite unhealthy. Years ago, I was devastated the first time I was ‘knocked off the pedestal’. And then my pastor kindly said, “Renée we think we don’t care what other people think of us until they don’t think good things about us.” I realized then how I was still letting other people determine my worth.

What is missing from this quote is that God is the only one that should be defining my worth and He already determined I was worth the cost of His Son. That He loves me so much, He will relentlessly pursue me. That he will ‘leave the 99’ to come find me. If God is willing to do that for me why do I let other people define my worth? If you are 100% secure in who you are in Christ and you never doubted your worth, you may be surprised that a believer like me can get tripped up by this. But maybe some of you can relate?

I think of our clients at Hope Clinic. So many times, they come to us after making choices connected to lack of worthiness. Many of our clients let the men in their lives define their worth and the value those men place on them is not very high. As a result, our clients do things that seem completely incomprehensible to someone who knows their own worth. So, one of the most important, first things we do with clients is help them see their worth. This causes their viewpoint to shift and healthy choices are so much more possible.

I pray this letter brings comfort if you needed to be reminded of your own worth. If you are firmly rooted in your worthiness please pray with me for our clients who struggle with this every day. It’s one of the most important, eternal gifts we can give our clients.

Blessings,

Renée Rizzo

A Story of Trials , Hope Redemption and Triump

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My story is filled with trials for sure, but I hope you see it is filled with hope, redemption and triumph. Growing up with a mother facing addiction was challenging but my siblings and I worked to overcome that. My sister was very accomplished, and I graduated summa cum laude from college. My sister succumbed to opioids and lost her life to an overdose. Because our family did not have good coping skills, that was the beginning of my descent. Before I knew it, I was divorced, living out in the country, in a tenuous relationship and homeless. Carl (my partner) came from generational poverty. We suffered an ectopic pregnancy. I was fighting grief, hormones, depression and, as a result, our relationship ended. In many ways that was my breaking point. It might have been the end of my story, but it wasn’t.  

Soon after, I found myself at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, pregnant again, well into my 30’s. They had brochures about Hope Clinic. What a life-changing, life-saving decision it was for me to go to Hope Clinic! Carl and I reunited, and we were like sponges, taking every pregnancy class the Bridge program provided. We began couples counseling and I began individual counseling. I got a job. Carl got a job. We found a place to live. Our lives completely turned around.  

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What I loved about the classes was learning so many new things, reinforcing the things I knew and finding a safe place with a community of people who, while very different, were on a similar path. We came to Hope Clinic feeling completely desperate and left feeling completely capable. Being able to bring my partner, Carl, was so important. This place has completely healed, changed and equipped us to be better people, a better couple and more loving parents. We needed to unload the bad influences of our lives and create a community of healthy friends. What I learned about myself: I am a good person even though I had no guidance during my childhood. I had an abusive, addicted parent and, as a result, struggled with my own temper. Through individual counseling I have changed the way I handle my emotions, learned tools to communicate better and gained control over my behavior. I simply make better choices.  

Carl and I are so completely grateful to the staff, volunteers and donors of Hope Clinic. It is our aim to volunteer in the future, walking alongside other couples who have faced what we have faced. It is difficult to put into words the difference that this has made…my whole life is different. I have hope and faith in the future in a way that I didn’t have before. I believe my child will have a happy childhood.  

My child has taught me unconditional love…I see myself in my child, so it allows me to love myself better…finally!   

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What I would say to other pregnant people in crisis: Make the most of what Hope Clinic has to offer. We were so desperate to feel okay about the future and this placed changed that for us. I know it can change it for you! We were so filled with fear. We were overwhelmed. We had no idea HOW MUCH Hope Clinic would help. Take the leap! Take that extra time to participate in what they have to offer.  

I currently work in bookkeeping but someday want to use my college degree and work with animals. For so many years Carl could not keep a job but now he is faithful to his work in construction and committed to our family. We love our home in East Nashville and feel so hopeful for our future!  

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Angella: We needed a support system, a way to help ourselves. And we found it at Hope. Because of you we were given a chance at a life that was out of our reach. We are humbly grateful. Thank you to those of you who have supported this work, so we could get all of this for free and for those of you on the fence, please consider a gift of any size! 

Carl: I really enjoy Hope Clinic and I feel it helps me deal with my emotions a lot better. It’s always nice to know how to properly address your emotions. So many people don’t know how. It’s humbling to know there are people here who actually care about you, how you feel, about your life. Thank you. 

Just…thank you

Dear Partner, Friends and Supporters,

Just…thank you

 

There is SO much going on in the world right now. Lots of thoughts and opinions. Very passionate thoughts and opinions. So I thought I would keep the focus of this letter quite simple. Thank you. We closed our fiscal year the end of September and thanks to YOU we met our total financial goals for the year. We raised just over $1 million. Less than 4% of that came from the fees we charge prevention and counseling clients. That means because of your generosity, we were able to meet the needs of well over 1,000 individual clients (client numbers are still being tallied for the year). Well over 500 women facing an unplanned pregnancy were able to have access to free medical care, profession counseling, case management, mentorship, education classes and material assistance. Babies were not only born this year because of you, but they were born into the home of a woman that is more equipped to be a successful mom.

 

I am aware that there are over 1,000 nonprofits in middle TN… So many of them incredibly worthy of your time, talents and treasures and I am just grateful that we receive them from you. I do not take your support lightly and always work to ensure we provide excellent care, meaningful volunteer experiences, and use your financial gifts as efficiently as possible.

 

The annual report will be available in print and online by January and I look forward to you celebrating with us many of our accomplishments. This coming year our focus is on ensuring our services can be even more accessible to clients, especially those who cannot travel to the clinic easily. Be on the lookout for updates in our monthly EMMA blast, newsletters and social media.

 

Please keep Hope Clinic in your prayers. We welcome prayers for our clients, our volunteers, our staff and you, our donors. I pray for God’s protection and blessing on all of us as we enter into the holiday season and year-end. Finally, I humbly encourage you to consider how you can help spread the word about our ministry to other potential volunteers and donors.

 

Blessings,

Renée Rizzo
President/CEO

What You Need to Know About Postpartum Anxiety and How to Treat It

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If you're a new mother, chances are you're feeling a little scared, stressed out, and anxious (in addition to being very, very tired). Those first few postpartum weeks are daunting for everyone, but there is a difference between those normal, new mom feelings and dealing with postpartum anxiety. While we've all heard of postpartum depression and the many celebrities who have been open about their struggles with it — Chrissy Teigen, Brooke Shields, and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a few — a recent study concludes that postpartum anxiety affects a larger percentage of new moms than you might realize.

Dr. Jennifer Gentile, PsyD., a psychologist who treats patients virtually via a telehealth app, spoke to POPSUGAR about postpartum emotional challenges, which affect over 60 percent of new moms. "There is not a formal diagnosis for postpartum anxiety, but there is definitely anxiety that occurs in the postpartum period," Dr. Gentile said. "On average, 16 percent of new moms experience anxiety during the postpartum period, which is a particularly challenging time for mothers who are used to having control over their lives. Your life gets turned upside down."

What Are the Signs?

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It's normal for a mom to stress a little. We have a tiny creature to keep alive, after all. But when does it become too much? Dr. Gentile said you should take notice when "a new mom expresses concern about things that, from an outsider's perspective, don't seem like a big deal. For example, worrying that a medication prescribed by your pediatrician might give your child cancer — fears or worries that are out of bounds," she explained.

When Should You Seek Help?

Ask for help when it's interfering with your ability to take care of your baby or affecting your ability to take on daily tasks or even carry on a relationship with your significant other. "Think about seeking help when it's causing some sort of functional impairment," Dr. Gentile said, adding it can even lead to PPD or result in the development of OCD if it goes untreated.

What Treatment Methods Are Available?

Dr. Gentile strongly recommends cognitive behavioral therapy. "The most evidence-based treatment for anxiety in any population is cognitive behavioral therapy," she said. "You want to work with the mom and her attachment to her baby. Once she feels more secure in her attachment, she's likely to calm down a bit."

If therapy is not quite cutting it, medication might be an option, even for nursing mothers. "There are some choices for anxiety medications for a nursing mother," Dr. Gentile explained, but she strongly recommends speaking to your own doctor to figure out what works best for you.

Hope Clinic for Women offers postpartum depression counseling at one of the most affordable rates in Nashville. Again, it is perfectly fine for you to experience the normal baby blues. Call our office today at 615.321.0005 if you or someone you know may be experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression. Alex, our Counseling and Prevention Manager is here and ready to help you on your journey to healthy living.


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What Else is True? Galilee's Story:

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Meet Galilee and 13-month-old Scarlett. Galilee’s life seems like it could be our life, or that of our children. She grew up in the church. She was a hard worker. She dated some not so great guys, and then met the father of her baby. It seemed like a good relationship. So when she got pregnant in her late 20s, while she did not plan the pregnancy, it did not completely take her off guard. However, she quickly realized she was not at all equipped to be a parent, and with this crisis in front of them, their relationship began to suffer from a lack of communication.  

She learned about Hope Clinic from her boyfriend: “For me, Hope Clinic was very supportive right from the beginning. I never felt judged. Everyone was so friendly, so nice. It was clear they actually cared about me. When I first arrived, all I did was cry. I was in between jobs, living with my boyfriend’s mom and stepdad. It was just overwhelming. We talked about all of our options but realized that even with the difficult circumstances and uncertainty, we wanted to be parents. I began counseling with Kelsey and she helped me in so many ways. I learned about using ‘I’ statements, how to better communicate with the father of the baby, and ways to deal with stress with breathing exercises, walking and other relaxing hobbies. I also took so many classes at Hope Clinic! Couponing, baby safety, nursing, CPR and even met with the Mom’s Group and Postpartum Depression group. In the last 2 years I have taken advantage of all of the resources Hope Clinic offered and it was all free! And in exchange I was able to get diapers, wipes and clothes to last me this entire last year. Not only that, but I got a level of support I wasn’t getting anywhere else.”  

Today: Galilee and her boyfriend are no longer dating, but they are learning to co-parent together. She is still close with his mother (Scarlett’s grandmother). She is soon moving closer to her family in Clarksville but will continue her job at the YMCA working in the nursery (where she receives free daycare!).  

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What she thinks of her daughter Scarlett: “I never thought I could love another human being this much. She is my best friend right now and I love being with her, kissing her, just living life with her. I really can’t put into words how much I love her. She has completely changed me. I was kind of a workaholic before this and now because of her I realized I need to slow down and enjoy life. Scarlett is amazing. She knows what she wants, she is lovable. Loves music, playing in the bath and with her little friends at the Y. She loves all her family too. Most days I look at her and think: what did I do to deserve you?”  

Blessing in Brokenness Part II, BreAnna's Story:

When I found out I was pregnant I was young, living in another country and following my dreams. I was teaching 1st grade, learning about a new culture, going on vacations and building a community of some of the most amazing people I know. I am lucky to have an incredible family who supports me as much as possible. But when I moved back to the states, no one could really understand the pain I was feeling. 

I was angry at myself, sad that I was missing out on a life I loved and terrified of this tiny human growing inside of me. 

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My sister introduced me to the Hope Clinic, it truly saved me from my own emotions. I met with a counselor who helped me sort through the biggest feelings I'd ever experienced. He taught me about mindfulness, gave me breathing techniques and reminded me that it was ok to feel what I was feeling. 

I also worked through the Bridge program. I attended classes, met with a mentor and even made some friends! All while earning points to get diapers, wipes, clothes, blankets and so many other things. Which was such a blessing for a single mom. 

I am blessed every day to wake up to the sweetest smile and a "Hi momma!" from my most precious Harper. I constantly wonder how I became so lucky to be her mom. Today, I am teaching again and get to take Harper to the daycare at my school. 

I am so thankful for the positivity, love, and kindness I found at the Hope Clinic during one of the most difficult times in my life.