Mari's Story

Mari's Story Graphic

Allen Women's Health had been serving a woman named Mari* for a few months. Mari was non-English speaking, and from another country. She had been to multiple maternal appointments, typically with her husband in the room or in the waiting room. They always used a telephonic interpreter during visits and it was effective. One day, Mari requested a special appointment with the social worker only to discuss insurance, and she requested that her husband remain in the waiting room.

She began the visit asking questions about insurance, as expected. But, as the visit continued, the social worker also screened for depression, as is typically done at each visit, as well as for her safety. The pregnant woman became tearful, and shared that she had been a victim of domestic violence, but she was afraid to ever share this information because in her country, you weren't supposed to tell anyone. She had no family or friends here and she had been homeless prior to meeting and marrying her husband shortly thereafter. She was being abused, sometimes with physical objects, locked inside rooms, and even starved. 

Allen Hospital provided information on available options for support, including safety leave and obtaining shelter. She decided not to leave with her husband and requested services through the community to become safe. It was arranged through another agency, specializing in shelter for domestic violence, that a taxi would pick Mari up at a separate exit in the back and take her to an undisclosed hotel. 

Mari placed all of her trust in the clinic and through her bravery, she was able to safely leave and remain safe afterward as well. She continued to work with many community agencies throughout her pregnancy, as she didn't have any income, transportation or support, and was starting over in a new country. Mari delivered a healthy birthweight baby, and she has now secured safe housing for herself and her baby. Allen Women's Health was proud to have helped her do that. 

Cedar Valley United Way is proud to support programs like UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital's Enhanced Maternal Health program that helps people like Mari.

Together, we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. To live better, we must Live United. Because, United We Can!

*Names in the story have been altered to preserve anonymity.