Imagine life behind bars. Now imagine serving time in prison while you are carrying a child. Although many of us could not imagine this situation let alone know how we would react, there are numerous women in Texas that are facing this occurrence as a stark reality. On average, there are approximately 250 babies that are born to Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) offenders each year. Some of these women are denied that critical period of bonding with their baby after birth, and the infant is usually placed with caregivers until the mother is eligible for release. For others, like Carolyn, there is Santa Maria’s BAMBI program (Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative).
Pregnant and behind bars on a theft case, Carolyn didn’t have much to believe in, especially herself, until she was selected to take part of the BAMBI program at Santa Maria. Upon arrival, Carolyn was overwhelmed at the facilities and the array of services offered through BAMBI. “One of the first things I did in BAMBI is to take a hard look at myself.” Carolyn continued, “BAMBI made me realize that I had a problem with alcohol and I needed to change.” Carolyn took full advantage of the services offered through BAMBI and also took to heart the lessons learned from trials and tribulations of her fellow BAMBI residents. Carolyn recalls that “everywhere I turned there were positive female role models for me to follow and that above all else, turned my life around.” She continued, “It changed my mind frame and I began to believe in myself again.” While in group sessions, Carolyn’s baby was being well taken care of by the caring and compassionate staff at Santa Maria. Carolyn reflected that “the care my daughter received was great and they did it the right way. I deeply appreciate the support and structure that BAMBI offered both me and my daughter.”
Today, Carolyn is in Dallas with her children and with help from her family she is working her recovery one day at a time. Carolyn’s future is bright as she is attending Barber College and volunteers her time helping other women in recovery.
Carolyn, keep working your recovery and never stop believing!