15-year-old Caitlin was an honor student and state champion choir member with a possible college scholarship on the horizon. After a single decision led to an unplanned pregnancy, Caitlin’s plans changed. Despite tremendous obstacles, Caitlin ultimately chose Life for her son.
The journey has been a difficult one with much uncertainty. On August 17, 2017, after 21 hours of labor, Caitlin welcomed her baby boy into the world. For this young mother, that moment confirmed everything she had struggled so hard for over nine difficult months: she had made the right decision in choosing Life for her son. Caitlin says, “They placed him immediately onto my chest. He took his first breath and opened his eyes and looked at me. In that moment, I felt as if the world was silent. The naysayers and negativity was gone and that moment was all that existed.”
Shortly after, Caitlin suffered serious complications from the delivery and her son was taken from her as medical staff worked to stabilize her. Caitlin was in and out of consciousness, surrounded by panic, but she says she still felt the stillness of the life-changing moment she met her son. “I remember thinking I was going to die, but I wasn’t scared. I knew that if I was going to die, it was okay, because I had given this baby life, when I so easily could have chosen, and almost did choose, not to.” Caitlin’s fearlessness shows the wisdom beyond her years that has guided her. She says, “The absolute joy and love in my heart for this life isn’t something I even know how to put into words.”
Her son’s name is Carter Alexander. Carter means “bringer of goods,” and Caitlin chose the name because she wanted to show that he was bringing something good into the world. Alexander, which means “defender and helper of mankind,” signifies the goodness that Carter has brought into Caitlin’s life. She explains, “I believe with my whole heart that saving his life, he saved mine.”
Caitlin’s mother, Jenn Brescia, has stood by her daughter’s side every step of the way of this difficult journey. A single mom herself, Jenn knows the hardships Caitlin faces. She is proud of Caitlin’s strength in making the decision. Shortly after Caitlin became pregnant, Jenn lost her job and the family faced a dire financial situation. Now, Jenn is helping Caitlin care for Carter and trying to go back to work as soon as possible. Caitlin says, “I thank God every day that my mom has been here to support me through this. She has been here with me, helping me learn and guiding me through Carter’s first weeks of life.”
Unfortunately, because Jenn was unemployed for part of Caitlin’s pregnancy, the family has still not recovered financially. Mere weeks after Carter’s birth, Jenn, Caitlin, and Carter have been evicted and as of September 1 are living in temporary housing while trying to find a permanent solution. Although Jenn does not show her daughter how hard the challenges have been, Caitlin can see the stress her mother experiences as she attempts to go back to work while caring for her daughter and grandson. Caitlin has been deeply moved by her mom’s courage and says, “I hope one day to be as strong and loving as she has been to me.”
Caitlin will be finishing her high school education through an online program and will need help caring for the baby. Jenn will be returning to work shortly but knows she will need to miss work to help Caitlin more in the coming weeks and months. Many of the baby items Carter needed have been donated by friends and kind strangers, but Caitlin and her son still need a great deal of assistance. The family is reaching out to the community and has set up a GoFundMe page. To learn more about their story and to donate to support Caitlin and Carter, visit the fundraising website.