"Everyday, I fight so hard to keep myself together. I finally have confidence to speak up for myself and others and most importantly I can live life to the fullest."
A Bit About Me
My Name is Keanna Nicole Tate, I'm a single mom of a handsome four-year-old, named Jarod Thomas. Since I'm that 1% in America that I didn't even know I was pregnant, this was the scariest yet, exciting life changing experience. I wasn't showing any symptoms, but my child's father did, which was in itself very odd, but it happened. I took a home pregnancy test and came back positive but mentally, I couldn't process the thought of being pregnant. Months into my pregnancy, I found out during the pregnancy I was high-risk which caused me to have to stop working, which made it very hard for me to care for my child and me. It was a lot to deal with emotionally and physically. I found out I was at 22 and wasn't as emotionally, mentally or financially stable at the time to bring a child into this world. But I started getting assistance from mommy groups online who reside in Saint Louis. They were very helpful resources for me and my son. Even though my son’s father was present, he wasn’t there for me or our son. He didn’t keep the baby and I literally had no help. My son's paternal grandmother scarcely watched him and probably brought him something for Christmas once. I single handedly had to put my son through daycare so I could work. Paying $95.oo a week for childcare was a lot to me. I had to work 2 jobs. Thankfully my mom and stepdad helped out by watching my son. We stayed with his father’s mother, and he would put me out, sometimes in the cold.
I was so unprepared for a child, and I realized that I needed help. I never questioned God after I found out I was pregnant; it just gave me hope but hope didn’t stop the pain. I started having mental breakdowns and I cried almost every day. I worked all the time to keep my mind off my circumstances. I had some nice co-workers. At the time I was a housekeeper at a hotel, and I worked super hard, but everything I was going through was affecting me on the inside. I just wanted to be free. One day I was overwhelmed, and I vented to the supervisor. She gave me overtime so I could start saving. Soon, I opened a bank account and started looking for an apartment. I found one within my budget and I was blessed when my coworker gave me the $40.00 application fee.
I sat there, praying I got approved. I started working even harder to get out of the bad situation my son and I was in. I decided to take the first step. I moved in with my best friend for 3 weeks until I got my apartment keys! I’m happy to say that since May of 2018 til this day, I still have my two-bedroom apartment. The joy, however, wouldn’t last long. The following year in 2019, I found out my mom had kidney cancer. She was my babysitter before she got really sick, and it all quickly took a toll on me again. I had another mental breakdown. I tried to do it on my own. I placed my son back in day care so I could work but had to pull him out because it was too expensive for me.
I had to stop working because at the time I didn't know what stage of cancer she was in but thankfully, I had people in my corner helping with my bills while I cared for my mother. She had surgery and we were blessed that it was successful. No more cancer, Thank you Lord! I began to gradually get things back on track. I began to look for programs on social media that helped young mothers in St. Louis. Shortly after, I met guardian angel Mrs. Allisha Jones- Pickens. She's the Director of Community of Hope and my mentor. She has a program for young people like me, trying to get a 2nd chance at what life has to offer. She has come through so many times. I'm very thankful for her loving heart and she does everything from the heart and I appreciate her so much! She referred me to the Urban League to a caseworker who helped pay for my short-term nursing program. Upskill helped me complete two or more goals. I can now say I'm forever thankful. I would tell anyone, there's nothing wrong with having a mentor. Their job is to build us young black women up in the community. Mrs. Jones-Pickens, along with the other mentors she has for the other ladies in our group also are a blessing.