I went to every single [WIC] prenatal class so that I could get educated on what to expect. They really helped me with nutrition, eating properly. It helped me stay healthy while I was pregnant.
- Shelly Lanier

Shelly Lanier, 43, tells her best friend Tracy Lasserre, 49, about becoming a mom at age 41 and how WIC services have helped her. WIC’s prenatal classes taught her important lessons about nutrition so that she could make sure both she and her baby stayed healthy.

Shelly: I have a two-year-old son named Brennan, who is the apple of my eye. And he was a long time coming. I always wanted kids, but I had lost two previous to him and his dad’s mom always said, “Oh, don’t worry, honey, you’re going to be 40 and pregnant.” And I definitely was 40 and pregnant. So he was a blessing in disguise. He’s keeping me young for sure.

Tracy: That’s awesome. So when you were pregnant, did you take advantage of WIC or any of the government programs?

Shelly: I did. I was so thankful that WIC was available because I wasn’t working at the time and they helped me out with food. I went to all the prenatal class so that I could get educated on what to expect. They really helped me stay healthy while I was pregnant, because I didn’t know I’m not supposed to eat luncheon meat. I needed to drink more milk. I didn’t eat like I’m supposed to. I’d eat fried foods all the time and junk, there’s certain fish that you’re not supposed to eat. And they educate you about all that stuff to keep you healthy for your baby. And then after the baby’s born, the nutrition to keep your baby healthy.

Tracy: What advice would you give a new mom about WIC?

Shelly: Sign up and go. I was apprehensive at first because I’m like, are they going to look down on me for coming in to get it? And they’re really not. They are not biased in absolutely any way—they don’t judge at all. I have felt so much love and support from them. That’s why they became my family.

Tracy: What is your biggest worry about Brennan?

Shelly: I don’t want him to be a bad kid. I try and show him all the right ways—respect everybody. Be a leader, not a follower. Be strong willed.

Tracy: I think he can get a lot of that from you.

Shelly: I hope so. And be a happy person. Don’t wake up mad at the world. Wake up thankful for everything. Be grateful that you’re here and you have loving family. I think he’s going to do that.

The audio-only story can be accessed here.   


This segment was produced by StoryCorps, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. It was made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and in partnership with the National WIC Association.