There was a point in her life when all hope seemed lost for Elizabeth. Then she got some unexpected news and her world changed forever.
For Elizabeth, her life can be divided into two parts: B.E. and A.E. Before Elijah and After Elijah. The person from the B.E. time? That is not someone Elizabeth recognizes anymore. Like looking into an old, cracked mirror, the image of her life Before Elijah is faded and broken; the face that peers back through the fog is creased with pain, hopelessness, and addiction.
"I don’t know who that is," Elizabeth says. "That person was a very angry, very hurt person who needed a lot of help."
Help came in the most unpredictable fashion in 2016: a positive pregnancy test. And like that - instantaneously - a switch flipped within Elizabeth and something shifted forever. She was going to have a baby. And she had work to do.
"When I got pregnant. my whole brain changed," she says. "Everything I’ve done is motivated by that event in 2016. I knew if I wanted to keep him I had to change."
While her commitment never wavered, the path to change proved to be a challenge. There was the 12-week recovery program, an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and extensive counseling.
"When I learned I was pregnant," she says, "I knew I had to enroll myself into some kind of treatment. But that is something you have to stick to. You’re either going to do it or not. It was a pain, but the pain was well worth it."
In August, 2019, Elizabeth joined Seacoast Family Promise and began the process of finding housing stability. Following her graduation from the program, she moved into one of the housing units next door to the Seacoast Family Promise campus in Exeter. In fact, Elizabeth was the first resident to move into one of these affordable housing units.
"I knew if I wanted to keep him I had to change."
"Seacoast Family Promise developed these units to meet the needs of families searching for good housing," said Pati Frew-Waters, Executive Director of Seacoast Family Promise. "Now she could raise Elijah in Exeter and afford it for many years to come."
"I have support around me all the time," Elizabeth says. "I meet people here and Elijah meets kids here. What Seacoast Family Promise does for us is amazing. Everyone is so nice, so kind. I never ran into one person who made me feel less than or bad."
As Elizabeth continues to rebuild her life, she doesn’t have to look far to see her motivation - just in the eyes of the little boy whose unforeseen arrival changed her forever.
"I want to do this so I can be the best mom I can be for Elijah," she says.