Women’s Care Center: Connecting new moms with resources
The Women’s Care Center just recently moved into its new offices on Lake Avenue, but already staff are seeing more clients.
The renovated building at 2910 Lake Avenue was ready for business in mid-January and replaced the location on Wayne Street in downtown Fort Wayne. Two other Fort Wayne locations, 921 W. Coliseum Blvd. and 4600 W. Jefferson Blvd., remain open.
“We have more than doubled our space from the Wayne Street location,” says Anne Koehl, longtime director of Women’s Care Centers in Fort Wayne. “It’s been wonderful to have the space we need to teach the parenting classes and offer childcare as well as private spaces for counseling.”
A recent grant from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation supported the construction of the ultrasound room at the new location. The space had to be completely re-wired and re-plumbed, and a new exam table and cabinetry were needed. The ultrasound machine, which is only a couple of years old, was moved from the Wayne Street location.
Koehl says she was concerned the Women’s Care Center might lose some of the foot traffic from the downtown location, but staff says they have been busier than ever. Additionally, the new location is in the 46805 zip code, where many clients live.
In addition to offering ultrasounds, pregnancy testing, the popular crib club (funded and operated by the Christ Child Society of Fort Wayne), counseling, and parenting classes, the Women’s Care Center has now begun offering ESL (English as a second language) classes for clients, especially for the many Burmese women served by the agency.
With the new, larger location, the Women’s Care Center hopes to reach more individuals like Alexis. Alexis made 12 visits for education and support during her pregnancy and after her baby Gianni was born.
Alexis shares that, “It was so nerve wracking coming for my pregnancy test. My biggest fear was being a mom. I didn’t know how I would bring another life into this world when I felt barely able to take care of myself. But Gianni is what I needed. I couldn’t do it for myself, but I could do it for him. He is the best thing ever. I want to give him everything, so I’ll do whatever I need to.
“The ultrasounds were always a relief and made me feel more capable. The ultrasound tech would always tell me how perfect his little features were. I felt this was a place where I could be myself without criticism or judgment. I felt understood.
“I didn’t feel like a mom until he was born. As soon as he got here, everything was different. He is everything to me. The Women’s Care Center was the highlight of my pregnancy. It was the happiest time of my pregnancy. I felt genuine joy and was excited for him to get here. I felt so loved. I just kept looking around and saying to myself, ‘all these people really care about me and this baby that I am about to bring into the world.’ I really felt special. At the Women’s Care Center, I met a lot of generous people who were so willing to put me on a path to be a good mother.”
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