CLEVELAND — Twenty-four-year-old Aniamanie Revere was elated when a home pregnancy test revealed she was with child. For years leading up to that moment, she’d believed she couldn’t have children. Now she’s expecting a baby boy, due Christmas Day.
“I am scared,” she confessed to News 5. “I want to be the best mother that I can be, honestly. I want to be perfect. Nobody is perfect, no mom is perfect. We don’t get a manual on how to be a parent.”
There may not be a manual, but there is B.A.M.S., Baby and Mommy Support. It’s a program within the Council for Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland that helps expectant moms make a smooth transition to motherhood.
“It’s a very important program here in Cleveland because infant mortality rates are so high,” explained CEOGC Community Services Program Manager Travena Golliday. She says B.A.M.S. offers support and education to help ensure healthy childbirth through workshops on pregnancy, nutrition and exercise, parenting, and life skills.
“There’s a lot of things that I wasn’t familiar with,” said Revere. “They help me learn certain things like how to give the baby a bath and how to care for the baby, how to dress the baby.”
Golliday says women come to the program with a range of issues. “Some come in and they really don’t know what they need until they talk to a worker and then they are able to see ‘oh wow, I didn’t know that, I needed someone to talk to.'”
B.A.M.S. offers more than education and advice. Through community partnerships, donations, and funding through the Cares Act, the program provides essentials like diapers, bottles, strollers and more at planned baby showers for the moms-to-be.
It’s something Revere appreciates. “Sometimes it does get hard where you need to call somebody and you may need to cry, you need to scream, you may need to shout,” she said. “They don’t ever turn their back on you.”
This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.