Although Mother’s Day is a special day to celebrate mothers, this Mother’s Day some mothers in Acadiana are honoring a place that helped them transition into motherhood. Two women, Sharae Levine, and April Austin say ” A Pregnancy Center and Clinic” changed their lives.
“I came here and they definitely changed my mind,” says Levine. “They had me watch videos and get myself very educated on the decision I was going to make. I thought if I had an abortion that was it. That was the end of it.”
Thirteen summers ago, Levine found herself pregnant and afraid. Believing the decision to abort was her only option. Looking for answers, she turned to The Center for help. She says it was a decision that helped to put things into perspective and shape the rest of her life.
“I ended up graduating when the child was 9 months old. I worked for about a year and then I decided to continue to go on and get my master’s,” says Levine. “Life got in the way and I had other children, but in the Fall I will be working on getting my Ph.D.”
Levine has continued to help advocate for The Center at the Capitol and has been a volunteer for the last 11 years.
Levine shares a similar story to others who have been to The Center.
“For the first time I wasn’t judged, criticized, or told how I’d ruined my life,” says April Austin.
Twenty years ago Austin was a teenager who found herself in a crisis as well. Pregnant, alone, and without the support of her family, she knew she needed help.
“I learned my choices and I learned that I could be a single parent and be successful,” says Austin.
Austin was 19 when she had her daughter Amber. Amber found herself pregnant at 15 and her mother says her help from The Center helped prepare her to help her daughter.
“I wanted to give her those options and be supportive to her, and not have the same experience that I had,” Austin says.
Austin says life comes full circle. Her daughter is now 20 years old with a daughter of her own. She has finished school and she is doing well for herself.
“I was 15 when I got pregnant. It was hard at first and I was nervous and scared, and so we got through it and we are still getting through it,” says Amber.
Patrice Lewis, the Executive Director of APCC says she is thankful for success stories. She says she is hopeful more women know they have choices.
“It means a lot because it shows not just the short term effect that we are here to help you right now, but it shows the long term impact of our services,” says Lewis. “We are here to make sure that women can successfully care for themselves and their babies, and can pursue their hopes, their goals, and their dreams, and so they can have a stronger family foundation.”