Finding out that she was pregnant was a real wakeup call for then-high school student Ceddria McWilliams. But once the news was confirmed, she knew things had to be different.
“My doctor, Patricia Elliot, told me about Gift of Life Foundation. She told me they had a program called Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) for first-time moms that could help me prepare,” she said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, so I figured the program would be good for me.”
NFP nurse home visitor Kathy Pounds said one of the things that made an impression on her when she met McWilliams was her attitude. “Ceddria knew she needed to change her life. She was open to the educational materials and we worked together to set goals on what she wanted to achieve,” said Pounds.
McWilliams’ journey to motherhood wasn’t easy. She was rushed to the emergency room twice for high blood pressure, and went into labor six weeks early. McWilliams said it was during that time that Gift of Life and Nurse Kathy were really there for her. “You could tell that being my nurse wasn’t just a job to her. I could feel that she cared about me and my baby,” McWilliams said. “Tori was premature and I was worried when she didn’t reach her developmental milestones on time, but Nurse Kathy was reassuring. When I look at how far Tori has come, I’m grateful. She is really smart. She is crawling, walking — and she says words. I praise her a lot because she deserves it!”
McWilliams said Gift of Life helped her in other ways, too. “Nurse Kathy encouraged me to finish high school and I did… I graduated in 2016.”
She also followed in her brother’s footsteps and pursued a career in law enforcement. McWilliams graduated from the Montgomery Police Academy in October 2017 and is now a police officer. “My time with Gift of Life was a great experience for me. What I learned, what I am a doing for my child, and meeting my life goals has allowed me to see myself as successful.”