22 days maternity leave

I thought I would tell you a little about myself since I am asking for your money. I was raised in a family of 9 kids. Very strict Roman Catholic, 3 of my siblings died by the age of 3 or before. I had 3 older siblings and 5 younger. We were homeschooled by my mother as my father took on financial responsibility. We were always clothed, fed and had a roof over our heads, but I would say we were poor. At 14 my father left the family. At that time I was the oldest at home and my mother had to go into the workforce for the first time in my life. One of my siblings at the time was living with a grandparent for a year so the only ones still at home were me, a 9 year old sister and a 2 year old brother. With my mother having to work and go back to school a lot of responsibility of the household was non-negotiably thrust upon me Homeschooling, cooking, cleaning and putting myself through high school became the norm that my mother and I now shared. At that time in my life my dream was to become a nun, a prospect that pleased my very Catholic mother. As the years moved forward, younger siblings were put in school, and I finished high school by 16. The primary reason for this being I received a full scholarship for vocal performance at a local community college and since my mother wouldn’t let me enter the monastery just yet that seemed to be the thing to do at the time. One of my sisters lived nearby and was attending the same school. At 17 my mother allowed me to enter the monastery of my choice, which only lasted a few weeks. This is not the fault of the monastery, but I believe that experiences change you and had I entered at 16 when I wanted to instead of attending college, I believe I would still be happily living as a nun today. But my exposure and experiences as I said changed me and I no longer fit as I had before. It was sad for me and the nuns and we remain close friends to this day. I came home got an apartment with a friend and got a couple retail jobs to save money until attending school again in the fall. That never happened. I met a boy a couple months after 18 who I became completely smitten with. I ran away eloped and lived with him unhappily for over 2 years. During the time I was with him he beat, raped and verbally abused me daily. I did a escape that version of hell, and if you would like to read more about that in particular I would love your support of my book entitled My Abusive Relationship by Karin Cooper currently being sold on Amazon.   During my marriage we had moved to Galveston Island. After my escape I returned to Galveston to live and work and put myself through school debt free. By 23 I had an associates in literature and I was ready to head to school to continue on and get my bachelors in the fall. Before that could happen, I met a man, fell in love, became engaged, and then pregnant all just in time for the fall semester. I went to school, worked full time and had a baby by the next summer. I was unaware, but I believe around that time my fiance became aware that his love for liquor would always be greater than his love for me and his family. This gradually drove a wedge between us. So much so that by the next summer when I was 7 months pregnant with our second child, 3 weeks away from graduating with my bachelors and on the 8 year anniversary of the day I had married the husband that had previously beat me, my fiance walked away from us. I went on to graduate with a 3.97 GPA, honor roll, debt free and dean’s list with a degree in literature, a few weeks later. In November I gave birth with only my midwife and a close friend present in my living room. My job at the time did not offer maternity leave, so I also did a go fund me at that time and was able to spend 3 weeks with my new baby before going back to work. At that time to support me I had a job waiting tables and a network marketing business I worked vigorously on. Time went on for the next year and a half or so uneventfully. My kid’s dad helped financially and took the kids as evenly as possible, and my business was growing. One year ago things shifted. My children’s father was not treating my children in a way I felt comfortable with leaving them in his care any longer. So I gave him an ultimatum, get help or would no longer allow him equal time with the kids. At that moment he could have taken action to get help (there were multiple options which I was ok with him taking) he chose instead to cut off all child support payments and not see his children at all. This was rough. I began working more and got a second job to make ends meet. At that time I became truly grateful for the residual income of my network marketing business, because even though a couple hundred dollars is not much, any and everything helped. I filed for child support officially and we arranged standard visitation, which for reasons I will never understand my children’s father chose not to use any of his visits, much to the heartbreak of my children and mine for them. He also did not pay any of the child support he was ordered. By October of last year I ended up getting pregnant with a coworker. He, from the beginning denied paternity and while I was struggling with 2 jobs, 2 kids and first trimester sickness my heart and mind were sent swirling with fear for my future and those that I had brought into this world. Just to be clear. I did know ALL my options. For me I had to choose to keep this baby so please do not be unkind to me for that. I did however decide that with the painful and difficult pregnancies I experience I would need to swallow my pride and ask my family for help. It worked out that one of my sister’s was looking for a home to rent and we decided to move in together. In December I left my home of 9 years in Galveston and moved to Arlington, Texas. It is May now, and I am 32 weeks pregnant. I have a 2 year old, and a 4 year old that I work 6 days and 2 jobs to support. I still have a small check from my network marketing business, and my children’s father’s wages are being garnished although as a bartender that doesn't make for much because his hourly checks are very small. I recently started a third job to try to make ends meet, but with child care costs close to 1000 a month for both my kiddos I am currently living in a deficit. I did publish my book in March which I hope will help although I have yet to see any money from that, as I have not put a lot into marketing. I look over my options and I kind of hate them. I am ashamed of myself. 29 years old and pregnant and alone with my 3rd child from two different fathers. Culturally and the way I was raised, I am a failure. I sit here typing in physical pain from a rib that my new baby has dislocated and will stay dislocated until I give birth, tired from working and parenting all day. Yet, here is the crazy part. I am really happy and thankful. My kids are incredible. Like really really, make my heart explode incredible. All of my jobs bring me either pride or joy and excitement (some more than others admittedly). My life is good. Do I want more? Yes, completely open to that, but right now I do not feel worried. I feel at peace. My goal with this go fund me is to take 22 days after my baby is born off of work. I am about 2500 short of that goal right now. Unfortunately, none of my jobs currently offer paid maternity leave, so I am at the mercy of anyone who thinks my cause is worthy. I am sorry to ask. I wish I was not in this position. But I promise you it is not for lack of effort. Admittedly I have learned the hard way LOTS of times. But I pledge to you this is not the end of my story. I will conquer every obstacle and I will pay it forward. Thank you for reading and sharing and taking time out of your day to think of me. No one owes this to me, my own actions put me in this situation so I expect nothing. But I swear, I will never give up and I will work hard and provide for my family until we have the life of our dreams.
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Organizer

Karin Cooper 
Organizer
Arlington, TX
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