HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (KT) – When Devin Dukes found out she was pregnant at 18, she thought abortion was her only option. It was only when she was sitting in the waiting room at Planned Parenthood, procedure already paid for, that she went with her instincts and chose life for her son, Camden.
“My mom asked me if that’s really what I wanted to do; I didn’t answer her,” said Dukes. “But when she told my dad to ask me, I burst out in tears. I had already had a gut feeling I wasn’t going to go through with it because I had already scheduled a visit with the OB-GYN.”
At her appointment, the OB-GYN reminded Dukes about Alpha Pregnancy Care Center, where she had gotten an ultrasound earlier in her pregnancy to verify the gestational age of her son. At 20 weeks, Dukes returned to Alpha.
There, she took parenting classes that prepared her for the arrival of Camden.
“I definitely had a lot of fears,” Dukes said. “I mean, I was freshly out of high school. I didn’t know anything about raising a baby.”
Dukes explained that support from her family, friends and Alpha empowered her to choose life and work hard to provide for her son.
“I knew that was my baby,” Dukes added. “I know that at 12 weeks along, they say that it’s not viable. But he was a baby; he was growing in me, living in me. I was his mama, and I wasn’t just about to give that up because of fear.”
“Devin’s son means the world to her, and you can tell,” said Amanda Westerfield, executive director of Alpha. “She made her decision for life and never looked back. She’s willing to put in the work it takes to be a great mom. We are so proud of her!”
Camden turned three in May. While the program at Alpha only lasts until a child turns two, Dukes still keeps in touch with Westerfield and the pregnancy center team.
“If I call them now and say I really need something, they would try their absolute best to help me,” said Dukes. “They don’t just up and dry leave you. I will agree that Amanda (and) all the Alpha (staff) are very good people (and) have always supported me.”
In addition to providing guidance on parenting, Alpha also supported Dukes while she earned her associate degree in medical assisting. While she currently works as a medical assistant, Dukes plans to further her education by becoming an R.N. and maybe, eventually, a pediatrician.
And though there were concerns having a baby would prevent Dukes from pursuing a college degree, she said Camden serves as her motivation.
“He didn’t stop anything,” Dukes said. “(Getting pregnant) might have delayed it. But he’s the reason I pushed so hard to go where I went.”