A Mother’s Determination: Rene’s Fight for Her Daughter

A Mother’s Determination: Rene’s Fight for Her Daughter

Rene is a mother of two daughters, one of whom has cerebral palsy. This is her story:

“My water broke at 5 months, 21 weeks pregnant. It was too early. If I was to have her, she wouldn’t survive. 

I didn’t go into labor. Breaking early, it was scary. They sent me home for two weeks and when I turned 23 weeks, they kept me in the hospital.

They said I had to choose to continue the pregnancy or terminate.”

Rene chose to do everything she could to save her daughter.

“When I went into labor at 7 ½ months, it was an emergency C-section. We didn’t know what extent she would be harmed…She came out and her limbs were contracted. When she was in hospital, they said she might not be able to breathe.

She stayed in the intensive care unit for eight weeks. She was born with a brain bleed and it affected her muscles and movement. She had therapy from the time she left the hospital: physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy, etc. She was almost one when they diagnosed her with cerebral palsy.”

Rene’s daughter

Since then, Rene has continued to fight for her daughter’s health and quality of life. Her daughter is now six years old. 

“She wants to be able to do [things] herself. She learned to chew…We still go to physical therapy and occupational therapy every week. It works better now. She’s doing legs and hands and it’s more effective. Her stomach muscles aren’t strong enough yet. I’m just hoping and praying even if in the next ten years, she can walk and do everything that every other kid does. 

[Other than walk,] everything they said she wouldn’t be able to do, she can do.”

Rene works hard to provide for her two daughters, and she knows that being a homeowner will improve their quality of life, especially for her daughter with cerebral palsy. She found Milwaukee Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership program and knew it was the right choice for her and her family. She is now building a brand-new home for her and her daughters. 

“If I can move into a brand new house, I don’t have to worry about getting things fixed. Being a single mom, I felt like Habitat was a better option for me. The houses are nice.

Being a mom of special needs, I try to look for every type of outlet. [I want] to build ramps in and on the house. By me renting right now, I don’t want to overstep my boundaries. Even with a landlord that would let me do it, I don’t want to rearrange someone else’s house. If it’s mine, I can do whatever I want for my child. 

I could put one of those bath chairs in. I want it to be accessible for that. Right now, I’m carrying her around all day…I’m her legs.”

Rene understands the importance of homeownership in providing stability and safety for her daughter, so she dedicated a lot of time and effort to prepare for buying a home. By partnering with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity to build her own home, Rene will have a monthly mortgage payment significantly lower than what she would have paid in the open market. Moreover, this new mortgage will be hundreds of dollars less than her current monthly rental payment.

“I’ve been saving and putting money up and hoping and praying the opportunity came. I’ve been working on my credit to get it up. Some people want [homeownership] so bad but are not prepared for it. I now kind of know what to expect with it. I will dedicate as much time as I can [to this process].

If something happens to me, I want [my daughters] to be okay. My daughters always talk that mama is going to get her own house. [They] want to decorate their rooms.

It’ll mean everything to my daughters. It’s something to call their own.”

Rene is excited to build a stable home for her and her daughters. As she embarks on her homeownership journey with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, she sees a future where stability and accessibility are not just dreams, but a tangible reality.

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