Lulu Morais won’t forget Aug. 15, 2015—the day her world came crashing down.
A grocery store pregnancy test confirmed what the 18-year-old Brazilian native and her boyfriend had feared the most.
“I was crying for like two hours straight,” said Lulu, now 19 and living in Littleton. “I felt like everything was coming to end.”
She worried about what to tell her parents, whom she described as devout Catholics. She decided to go to Planned Parenthood to confirm the pregnancy and learn about her options, but a cold atmosphere and indifferent staff had Lulu running from the building before her appointment. She wanted help from someone who cared.
Then Lulu discovered Marisol Health (formerly known as Lighthouse Women’s Center), a Catholic Charities of Denver medical center. A Google search led her to the cozy house at 3894 Olive St. where staff offered her the support and compassion she needed, from the moment of initial shock to those first moments of motherly joy.
“They cared about me,” Lulu said about her first visit. “It was more personal. They were really sweet about it and reassuring that everything was okay and I didn’t need to freak out. And they said there were a lot of options and help for me. They said you didn’t need to struggle by yourself.”
Marisol Health provided her a free pregnancy test and ultrasound. She watched an informational video about fetal development and received a silicone baby the size of a prune—about the same size of her baby girl at 10 weeks. The staff helped her navigate decisions abut adoption versus raising the baby without the father.
A Marisol social case worker, Paulina Gutierrez, also met her for coffee. She referred her to other services including Bella Natural Women’s Care, a clinic in Englewood where Lulu received prenatal care.
Lulu will forever remember the day less than 9 months later when she first gazed at her newborn daughter, Chloe.
“It was like this instant love,” she said. “I didn’t know how I could love someone I’ve never seen yet. I think it’s amazing. It’s a miracle.”
Looking back, Lulu said Marisol guided her as her pregnancy fears turned into a loving welcome of her baby.
“In the moment it feels like everything is crashing down, but then it only gets better,” she said.
Marisol Health locations
3894 Olive St., Denver
1285 Centaur Village Drive, Lafayette
1575 Folsom St, Unit 102, Boulder