Delaware County woman supports mothers before and after childbirth

LANSDOWNE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Theresa Pettaway is a mom of three. But over the years, she has become a mother figure to countless women across the Delaware Valley.

"Through each child that I had, through each trial that I experienced, it kept me fighting for the community," she said.

Pettaway became a mom before she even knew it.

"As a teen mom, I did not know I was pregnant," she said. "And not only was I 26 weeks pregnant, they said I am actually in labor and ready to deliver."

What started as a simple doctor's visit to acquire birth control initiated the traumatic premature birth of her first child.

"They didn't think she was going to make it," Pettaway said. "She did."

Pettaway learned how to become a full-time mother and student at the same time. But she wasn't always given the proper instruction to do so. This inspired her later work to help connect mothers with appropriate resources.

Emerging from the harrowing experience, Pettaway raised a child for 12 years before having another. And in her thirties, she had a third. They were both premature births.

"With my second daughter in the NICU, I started being the person that everybody came to," said Pettaway. "So, I educated myself and started mentoring moms. That's where the Pettaway Pursuit Foundation was actually birthed out of."

PPF for short, Pettaway's non-profit provides mothers with education, online classes, breastfeeding assistance, labor support, and postpartum care at a reasonable cost. They have also increased their outreach to include food and essential item giveaways such as the Pampering Parents Program.

"Between the classes and education and even the lactation consultant, I mean, just being a first time mom and being older, it just really made such a big difference," said Amey Reid from Secane, Pennsylvania.

Some mothers are simply happy to receive donations due to the cost of childcare products.

"If you don't really have the finances, just like myself, it's just like, oh, where am I going to get diapers this week?," said Teeka Phillips from Wilmington, Delaware. "So, this has been a great relief to me and my family. And we appreciate this drive."

The Pettaway Pursuit Foundation relies on donations to continue its work. Theresa plans on continuing to grow its reach with her family by her side.

"I'm here to meet the needs of those who are coming behind me," she said. "So, I am grateful to be here doing this."

To learn more about available resources, visit their website.

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