Public Policy Forum: Kellie Phelan’s Story

“What was it like to be pregnant with me in jail?”
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Originally posted on September 21, 2016

For the past 6 years, Kellie Phelan has worked with hundreds of children whose parents either are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. Before becoming the Program Coordinator for Hour Children’s “Hour Friend In Deed” Mentoring Program, Kellie herself was incarcerated, pregnant, and in treatment for opioid dependency. Two days before her release date, an Hour Children advocate let Kellie know she had re-entry housing ready for her and her newborn daughter. Maternity Care Coalition had the pleasure of inviting Kellie to our Fall Public Policy Forum, Pregnant Women, Infants and the Opioid Crisis.Kellie’s story was highlighted by Hour Children and can be watched below.

“Our past has nothing to do with who we are today–[Sister Tesa] loves me for the person I am. I was given simple words and those simple words made a light go off in my head. And if I can give that to just one person–I mean I can’t even explain what that feeling is.”

Eight years after her release, Kellie’s daughter Savannah had a question for her mother:

“What was it like to be pregnant with me in jail?”

Savannah was on the internet looking up her mom’s work when she found a video of Kellie talking about giving birth to Savannah while she was in jail. Savannah and Kellie’s conversation was documented by StoryCorps.