Mariah Saari found out she was pregnant in the bathroom of the Midtown Anchorage Wal-Mart.
The timing could not have been worse. Mariah was barely 20 years old and didn’t have a steady place to live, a car or a job. She had recently moved to Anchorage from Kenai, where she grew up living out of a suitcase, to escape an abusive boyfriend.
In Anchorage, Mariah met a set of people who seemed to party full time. Soon, a dozen of them were living on the floor of her apartment, and she was partying full-time too. She was evicted. Worse, she had been using methamphetamine for months.
At first, Mariah was in denial. She told no one about the pregnancy. Then came the day at the Bear Valley party house she'd been crashing at when she felt a tiny movement deep within her. It was her baby kicking. It terrified her to think of the life growing inside her and the fact that she could have already damaged it with drugs. That day, she called her aunt and asked if she could move into her already crowded South Anchorage apartment. She made a doctor’s appointment and vowed never to take meth again.
“I wanted to fix everything I had done,” she said later.
Read the three-part series.