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Hope for the families at El Nido

October 26th, 2016 by Monika Guzman-Estrada

Soon to be a first-time mom, “D” is 22 years old and full of love. Admittedly, D is also a little anxious to meet her baby boy, so she hoped that seeking help at El Nido would ease some of her fears and concerns. We were overjoyed to greet her, get to know her, and discover just how we could empower her so that she would have the assurance that she is going to be an amazing mom.

During my meeting with her, she asked a lot of questions: What should I pack for the hospital? What can I expect when I check in? What do I need to have ready at home? What kind of diapers do I need? How do I even change a diaper?

To her relief, I answered all her questions, and to her delight, I taught her how to change a diaper and dress her baby. Holly Fogle (our “Swaddle Queen”) taught her how to swaddle her baby using a baby doll donated by Holly’s daughter. Immediately, I could see D’s anxiety diminish after we walked through the answers to her questions. After each demonstration and with her success replicating each task, she grew more and more confident. God’s work at El Nido is giving first-time mothers like D hope for themselves and their children. It is a blessing to witness.

We have an extraordinary group of mothers who are part of El Nido, and they are such resilient women. Some are new to the city and are having a hard time adapting to a new country, culture, and language. To make matters more difficult, they find themselves alone, so far away from their support system of family and friends. Too many of them have histories of domestic violence. And yet, despite the all the adversity, they have a drive to make life work and to give their children every advantage possible. These are mothers who are eager to learn, excited to be integrated into our program, and so very grateful for the sense of community here at El Nido.

I am blessed to hold a place in these mothers’ lives and to be adopted into their families. In loving God and our neighbor as ourselves, we understand how God is calling us to serve and to create community of love and care. That’s exactly what we are doing at El Nido in Washington Heights, and we want YOU to be a part of it!

Monika Guzman-Estrada

Monika Estrada Guzman is the Program Director of El Nido, Christ Church's faith-based outreach program in Washington Heights, NYC.