Cerasela Soficu. Many of us don’t know her name, neither do the strangers who stop her on the street to ask her how old she was when her baby was born. She didn’t plan to have a baby and she wasn’t even asked if she wanted one. Although she wasn’t expecting him, Cerasela chose to keep him and, more than that, to protect him and raise him as a single mom. If I were to resume her story in only one word, there wouldn’t be a better one than courage. The courage to believe there is always a way, and even miracles, in a time when it seemed like she was going against the stream.
When she was a little girl, Cerasela remembers she was trying to blend into the wall, like she was trying to disappear or at least to pass unnoticed. She was so shy, that she kept herself silent for hours until her sister came home from school and only then she would tell her everything about her thoughts and emotions from that day. She had a hard time connecting with the others and her parents weren’t to close to her either. “They were present, but cold, I don’t know why, maybe nobody taught them to act differently or this is the way they have been raised as well. They told me to study, to be the top of the class, and I was. For many years I was until I got tired. I was so tired that I wouldn’t even go to college, I made an effort to finish it, but that was all”, Cerasela says.
She finished her studies, but the need of affection chased her, so she continued looking for it in the people around her. The moment she met her ex-boyfriend, she thought her pain will finally vanish. “At first I was bragging about him, told my mom he was such a nice guy, always putting up with me… I’ve then realized he was capable of some things that wouldn’t even cross my mind. I got to know him better and we were constantly fighting, I told him many times that I want to break up and that we will not get married, we even lost respect for each other. But he insisted, kept telling me that I will calm down, he wasn’t even listening to me”, Cerasela says.
Although they didn’t get along with each other any more, Cerasela wasn’t ready to let go. “We weren’t right for each other, we had totally different ways of seeing things, I knew that, he was also a video games addict, tried to tell him that being 32 years old he should be more responsible, but he had no desire to change. And time passed by like this, because I was afraid of being alone. Although it was a toxic relationship, at least it was one”, Cerasela says. After a few months of being in this relationship, she found out that she was pregnant. While she is now at peace with what happened, back then things seemed to be completely out of control.
After fighting in the middle of a park, when Cerasela told her ex-boyfriend that she will keep the baby, but she will not marry him, her ex-boyfriend ran to her parents to tell them she was with child. The next months weren’t exactly what a woman pregnant with her first baby would wish for. Cerasela’s sister, married and pregnant as well, cried the entire day when she found out what happened. Cerasela’s parents, although they’ve helped her a lot after that with raising Emilian, at first they were mad at her, constantly telling her to get married and often blaming her.
Her ex-boyfriend, Cerasela says, was so perplexed that she didn’t accept getting married, that he rejected the child, telling everyone that it wasn’t his. “He was so determined on getting married, that he even told me that I can get an abortion, if I don’t want to keep the baby, only to marry him. He then told me that if I don’t marry him, he will not take any responsibility for the child and he kept his word. I didn’t want to get married just to end up like my parents, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I knew what a child feels when his parents are fighting, I was that child and I didn’t want Emilian to feel the same way as I did”, Cerasela says.
Her baby boy is two years old now and he started speaking, dad being one of his words. “He only saw him once. After I calmed down, when Emilian was seven months old, I took him to his father’s workplace, so he can meet him. I feel that a child, no matter how old is the child, misses one of his parents. His dad held him for a while, said ironically that he’s beautiful and that was all. I tried to explain to him that our relationship is different from their relationship, as father and son, but he didn’t seem to understand. And I couldn’t go further because he had already found someone to get marry to and now he has another baby to care for”, Cerasela says.
In spite her sad story, Cerasela believes that ever since Emilian was born, miracles started happening. She would only receive a 50 euros allowance each month, since she didn’t work long enough before she got pregnant and she wasn’t eligible for more. Even though she had no clue about the way she will raise him, she knew one thing for sure: God was going to help her. Getting in touch with Provita Department (Metropolis of Moldavia and Bukovina), she was given everything she needed before and after Emilian was born. “Ultrasounds, blood tests, clothes,a baby bed, they paid for all of it and it meant so much to me. When I got pregnant, I had no support, I felt terrible, got a job in the third month of pregnancy, tried to hide the baby, cried every night. Provita also helped me to go to therapy, there is a shrink that I can go to anytime. Some people may say I’m a dreamer, but I’ve received everything I prayed for, without even getting to tell someone I needed those things, and that really was a miracle”, Cerasela says.
Giving birth to Emilian also helped her to become independent, something she always wished for, but never got the courage to do. She moved away from her parents, got a job, while Emilian was still going to daycare, but the biggest change was about her health. “It may seem a little weird what I’m going to say, but I believe this child came to being so he can change me. My life wasn’t too clean and tidy and, although I had my share of mistakes, I guess I’ve managed to take the right decisions afterwards…”, Cerasela says.
Although she is 27 years old, Cerasela is short and she weighs 92 pounds, so she looks like a child carrying around another child. She can see a certain look on people’s faces, but to her, these are only chances of telling her story. The story that helped her find out that a baby is a miracle and, no matter what, keeping him can only lead to other miracles. This is the message that Cerasela has for all the other mothers who sometimes might feel helpless: there is help. And there is always a way to choose life.
This coverage is part of the #saniting project – “One step on the
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