Arisa was 19 and petrified. Her pregnancy test results were positive.
“I was really scared and kind of horrified in the beginning, because I knew the (baby’s) dad was not someone who would be there for me,” she remembers.
Her grandparents, who raised her, initially expressed disappointment and concern, which caused a strain in their relationship.
The now 21–year–old was working as a manager at a local restaurant when she found out she was pregnant and fell into depression. Thankfully, despite her initial disappointment about the pregnancy, Arisa’s grandmother knew Arisa needed help and reached out to Catholic Charities to make an appointment at Marisol Health in Denver.
During her appointment, Arisa met with a family development specialist who helped her look at all of her options. Most importantly, she listened. “Her personality was really nice and reassuring and comforting,” she shared. “I couldn’t talk to the dad about it. She also talked to my grandparents, which helped. To have somebody else to talk to was huge.”
Arisa began adoption counseling. “I knew I wouldn’t do an abortion, and I was Catholic. I didn’t want that on my conscience.”
She received adoption and relationship counseling, as well as ongoing emotional and material support with Marisol Health.
As she prepared for her baby’s birth, she lived with her grandparents. The compassionate staff regularly checked in and offered help with food, clothing and job assistance. She received care from Bella Health + Wellness in Englewood, a Marisol Health partner, because it was closer to her home. As she experienced morning sickness, dehydration and weight loss, she received excellent medical care.
Then she had a change of heart. She wanted to raise her child.
“Deep down I didn’t want to give her up,” she shared. “She was my baby and I wanted to keep her. If I wanted to keep her, I knew there’s resources and things for me.” With her grandmother at her side, Arisa gave birth to a baby girl and named her Ayla. “I felt like I made the right choice,” Arisa said about her happy, beautiful baby girl.
Marisol Health brought a baby crib, diapers, wipes and lotions for her. Arisa also joined the mom’s group through the clinic that brought together moms to talk about parenting tips and care for infants and toddlers.
Ayla is now 18 months old and thriving. Arisa highly recommends Marisol Health to other pregnant women. She said many may not understand a young mother’s emotions, but Marisol Health is always there to help.
“Literally, everything they can help you with, they do,” Arisa said. “And resources for your baby, too. Everyone at Marisol Health is really nice and professional. You can tell they really care about their job and what they’re doing. That’s a good feeling.”