She was 20 years old, addicted to fentanyl, in jail, and the last thing on Brooke Kelk’s mind was becoming a mother.
“I was charged with 12 daytime break and enters,” Kelk said.
And that’s when she got the news: “I found out I was pregnant in Remand (Centre).”
Kelk’s pregnancy was extremely high-risk. After getting out on bail, her situation was still less than ideal and extremely stressful.
“I was going down this really bad path. I was battling homelessness; I was all over the place. One minute I would be at a friend’s house and the next I would be on the street.”
“I raise a lot of red flags; I don’t really have a lot of support, [I was] homeless and now being charged with a lot of severe crimes. To anyone, that raises a red flag, right?”
What Kelk didn’t know was that a special team was frantically trying to find her to offer her help.
The Prenatal Outreach Support Team, known as POST, had been made aware of her situation from staff at the Remand Centre.
From the moment POST found her, she had three sets of helping hands guiding her: a nurse, a police officer, and an outreach worker.
“Our main goal is to empower our moms and make sure they’re connected and have everything they need,” POST outreach worker Cassandra Rose said.
POST nurse Heather Krowchuck stresses staff tries to be honest with clients.
“If we see there are concerns, we bring it up, so, ‘okay what do you want to do to work on this? What do you want to do to make this better?’ We’re just there for that transition to becoming a mom.”
Det. Derrick Campbell was a driving force behind POST.
“I saw the need that if we went farther back–to the point where even if we are supporting these moms prior to delivery–that we are going in there that much quicker to give them the tools and supports to stabilize them, so they are bringing a healthy baby into the picture,” Campbell said.
POST deals with dozens of moms-to-be at any given time, helping with everything from doctor’s appointments to court dates, or anything that could cause the woman or the baby possible stress.
“We just want to be that support there and check in with her. Sometimes people just need to know somebody is looking out for them, and then they feel more confident to make the choices they need to make,” Rose said.
By the time little Bentley was born, Kelk was ready: she had a roof over her head, a full supply of baby clothes and diapers, and she had overcome her addictions.
Kelk had proven herself as a fit mother.
“I’ve been going to AADAC (Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission), I’ve been going to a lot of family programs, I’ve been doing baby programs, I did a lot of stuff like that to try and get my life on track for my baby.”
Bentley is now three months old, has a happy home, and a confident and healthy mom to raise him.
“I think, honestly, I would have wound back up in jail again,” Kelk said. “They really helped me keep my life straight and keep myself on track and be a good mom, and I think if it weren’t for them I’d be in jail or I’d be using again. I honestly think so.”
Watch below: Part I Hope, help, and healing
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