I am frustrated today.
- “I can’t learn anything, I am pregnant!”
- “You won’t give me more money for my new baby?!?!”
- “I don’t see why I have to look for work if I have to take maternity leave in over half a year”.
Here is my frustration – you are in CalWORKS because you don’t have enough money to support the family you are heading up right now. I get that, this is the reason I am here – to help you find ways to earn more money and become self-sufficient and leave the system.
I don’t understand why you would add people, on purpose to your family before you can afford them. Trust me – I totally understand that Birth Control fails sometimes, and sometimes women don’t have a choice about having sex or getting pregnant. Also, sometimes we have to take in the children of our family and friends because we can parent and care for them in a time of need. But I question your wisdom if you deliberately decided that you needed another baby and while you are pregnant will not work or go to school.
If your doctor says that working or going to school would put your life or the baby’s life in danger – well, okay. Please stay in bed. My best friend has been on Bed Rest with her twins since she was two months pregnant in order to save her life and that of the babies.
But it is the women who walk into my office – and I had one today – who tell me that their period is a week late so they need to be excused from the GAIN program for the next year , 9 months of pregnancy and 12 weeks of recovery – and wait – after the baby is born she can be exempted for 2 more years and all the while collect cash aid, that drive me insane. At no point does she think she will want to go to school or work.
She has found a loophole and a way to live only on public assistance without putting any effort into the system or her own families well-being.
With my first child, I worked until the day I went into labor. I am 4 months pregnant with a high risk pregnancy and still at work every day. I am not a hero or particularly dedicated – but I am a mother who knows the value of having my own paycheck and the value of being able to provide housing for my children with as little help as possible.
How do I teach that lesson to my clients?