SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Home, a 24-7 transitional housing program for homeless, pregnant women here in Springfield just hit a milestone.
The maternity home at the Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri — is celebrating the birth of 100 healthy, drug-free babies since it opened in 2013.
This includes Joanna Scales’ son.
“So his name is Leon,” Scales said. “He’s walking now, and he has like this little waddle. It’s so cute.”
Leon was born on March 29.
“He is very, very strong-willed,” Scales said. “He has the cutest little laugh you’ve ever heard in your life.”
What he might not know until he’s older is what it took for him to come into this world healthy.
“Honestly I was in a really bad place,” said Scales.
Long before Leon’s birth, Scales spent time in a mental institution.
She also struggled with substance misuse for 12 years until she turned 28.
“I had just found out that I was pregnant. I was really feeling hopeless,” Scales said. “‘Like what am I going to do? Where am I going to turn?'”
Scales was homeless and her father recommended going to the LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Home.
“This just seemed like a saving grace,” Scales said. “This was an opportunity to get my life on track. Not just for me, but for my son.”
She stayed there for a little more than a year where counselors helped explain why she turned to drugs.
They also taught Scales self-love and self-care.
“Knowing that I’m worthy of a good life, and also my son is my world and I would do anything for him,” Scales said. “I feel like I’ve not only learned how to become a better person, but also a better mother.”
Her improvements helped the maternity home reach a milestone of 100 healthy and drug-free babies.
“It’s kind of cool being a part of something so big,” Scales said. “To see mothers united with their children and happy and healthy and sober is the coolest part of this whole thing.”
“101 is right around the corner, expected anytime now,” Cindi Kopel the Director of Maternal and Family Programs at the Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri said.
Scales says since she joined the program, she’s gotten a job, a car and saved enough money to drive home to California where she’ll reconnect with her family and her parents will meet their grandson.