| By Katie Camario

A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Motherhood

At a low point in her life, Ashley faced the difficult decision of ending her unplanned pregnancy through abortion or choosing life. At the time she had been struggling with addiction and was incarcerated.

“I was going to have an abortion before I went to jail,” she said.

But things took a turn when she was released.

“Well, I was clean now because I had been in jail. So, I wasn't addicted to anything anymore,” she said. 

She searched online for low-cost prenatal care, “I put in Google ‘free sonograms’ because I didn't have any health insurance,” she recalled. 

She came across a listing for Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center in Hernando County.

The center is run by Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg and offers free, confidential, and nonjudgmental support to women of all ages who are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. There, Ashley received her first sonogram. 

“I actually saw that the head was formed, his body was there, his hands and his legs aren't there yet, but I saw he was an actual being,” said Ashely.

Though she had considered abortion, something shifted in Ashley when she saw her baby’s tiny form.

“I knew he was a boy before anybody ever told me, like, I knew in my heart. I just definitely, for sure, had a connection,” she said.

Ashley made the courageous decision to continue her pregnancy. 

Through the Foundations of Life program, Ashley gained knowledge and resources.

“I started making goals and seeing videos and learning about stuff for the babies,” she said. “I achieved my goal of getting into a place before the baby was born.”

Ashley said that as her son grew inside her, so did her sense of purpose and capability, “Once I started learning and getting supplies for him from Catholic Charities, I felt, like, more at ease.”

Through their support, Ashley’s life began turning around just in time for the birth of her son, whom she named Angel. 

“I named him after his dad,” Ashley said. “His dad really wanted him and was so supportive of me throughout the whole pregnancy.” 

It’s that support Ashley said that reassured her of her decision to choose life. Today, over a year later, Ashley and her son's father are still together as a family, providing their little Angel with stability and love.

“He lives up to his name. He's a little angel,” she said. “He just really changed who I was. And if I didn't have him, things wouldn't be the way they are. I'm actually happy for once in my life.” 

Now at six months old, Angel continues to bring joy to Ashley’s life. 

“I love being a mom. I’m so glad I didn't go through with that abortion,” she said. “Now, I can look back and see, honestly, how God was working.” 

By sharing her journey, Ashley hopes to inspire others. “I'm just so glad to be able to tell my story so someone else can hear it,” she said. 

“The way that society makes abortion look, it makes it seem like it's nothing and that if you don’t want to have a baby, it's OK but having a place that will help you, really help you, it helps a lot,” she said. “Sometimes people feel like they don't have a choice. You’re homeless or you have no money but Catholic Charities literally was a lifesaver for my baby.” 

Ashley is now focused on reaching new goals, “I have another goal, because I still do counseling with Catholic Charities, and I made goals during counseling to get into a bigger place.”

Your Donation Makes a Difference

Foundations of Life Pregnancy Centers are funded through gifts to Catholic Charities and the Catholic Ministry Appeal.

About Foundations of Life

Foundations of Life Pregnancy Centers are operated by Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg. These centers are a resource for women who are facing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. They serve all women regardless of age, race, or religion, and treat each of them with the respect and love that they deserve. Ninety-six percent of their clients choose life for their unborn child. To learn more, visit foundationsoflife.org

Hillsborough County

Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center, Tampa
6845 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri.,
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
After Hours on Wednesdays by Appointment
813-631-4398 | folhillsborough@ccdosp.org

Knight’s Women’s Center, Tampa
2002 E. Fletcher Avenue, Tampa
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri.,
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
813-910-3280 | folhillsborough@ccdosp.org

Pasco County

Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center, Dade City
37733 Meridian Avenue, Dade City
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri.,
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
352-521-1218 | folpasco@ccdosp.org

Hernando County

Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center, Spring Hill
8370 Forest Oaks Boulevard, Spring Hill
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri.,
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
352-686-9897 extension 22 |folhernando@ccdosp.org

Pinellas County

Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center
St. Petersburg
905 S Prospect Avenue, Clearwater
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri.,
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
727-550-4236 | folpinellas@ccdosp.org

Katie Camario is a freelance writer and photographer in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.