I remember the wave of panic that spread through my body. Luke and I hadn’t been necessarily trying to get pregnant, but we weren’t NOT trying either. Those two pink lines stared back at me.
What am I going to do now?
We weren’t financially stable. Luke and I didn’t own a car. I was working at a restaurant, “how will this pregnancy affect our only source of income?” I wondered.
Luke wasn’t ready to be a father, and I knew nothing about raising a child.
The Best of Intentions
As soon as Ashley’s friends and family heard she was pregnant, the tension was tangible. Everyone knew about the unhealthy relationship she and Luke had, so naturally, Ashley received many concerned phone calls and a lot of unwanted advice.
Ashley also had a few people tell her they wouldn’t look down on her if she terminated this pregnancy. After all, she couldn’t financially support a child. Luke was a toxic partner and she needed to take care of herself and her future.
But something interesting happened when the option of abortion presented itself: Ashley felt a new instinct kick in. She felt protective of her baby. She was also annoyed that some people didn’t have the faith in her that she had in herself.
Ashley knew she could be a mother, but she didn’t know what her new life would look like.
We Found A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic
Sometimes when we get ourselves in a situation that seems overwhelming, it’s easy to feel shame. Guilt and embarrassment consume us. Ashley knew better, and knew it was irresponsible. But it was time to move on from negative self-talk and let those around in. Sometimes the most empowering thing you can say is, “I need help.”
Luke was incarcerated at the time and Ashley was living alone. Because of this, she was able to ask for help without interference. Their apartment was across the street from where her mom and step-dad lived, so she walked over and told her mom she was pregnant.
There was no judgment. No, “I told you so,” or “what were you thinking?” Just a mom supporting her young daughter through a crisis. She found an AWPMC which turned out to be a huge blessing. They knew Ashley’s circumstances, and would often call and check up on her to see how she was doing.
Thanks to her mom and OBGYN, Ashley was well taken care of throughout her pregnancy. She can’t imagine going through that experience alone. Ashley is thankful she didn’t have to, and you don’t either.
5 Next Steps to Take After the Double Pink Lines
Tell Your Parents/Those You Trust
You and your child will benefit from having as much positive support as possible. No matter how hard it may seem, swallow your pride and let someone know you’re pregnant. You’ll find that your expectations of outrage and condemnation may all be in your head. They love you and will want to support you in your journey.
Know Your Options
Raising the Child Yourself
Raising a child by yourself may seem challenging, and at times impossible, but many have done it, and so can you. If you have trustworthy family or friends that live close by, utilize those who are willing to babysit. It’s a blessing to have free childcare, as daycare can be expensive.
In Florida, the average annual cost of care for an infant is $8,376 in a child care center and $7,449 in a family child care home. The average annual cost of care for a 4-year-old is $6,647 in a child care center and $6,325 in a family child care home. Daycare costs will vary, depending on where you live, but some states help pay for a portion of daycare expenses for low-income earners.
The adoption process will vary depending on which state you live in, so be sure to research your state’s specific laws.
The most important decision to make is between an open and closed adoption. In an open adoption, the biological mother is still able to see the child. The arrangement is often decided by the adoptive parents.
The other option is a closed adoption. In this arrangement, once the adoption papers are signed, you have no legal right to see or interact with the child. This option would most likely be for those who want to cut ties with their child for whatever reason. If you choose this option, it is very challenging to convince a judge to change the agreement to open adoption.
Here is a great resource for Adoption information. From here, you can choose the adoption topic by your specific need:
Maybe you never wanted kids, and now you’re conflicted. Many mothers (myself included) were not necessarily “mom-material” before having a child. And guess what? Ashley grew into a great mom. She learned as she went, and that’s okay. Just because you weren’t expecting to get pregnant does not mean you can’t become prepared.
Women who had abortions were more likely to have more mental health problems postpregnancy than women who carried their pregnancy to term and gave birth*.
Abortion cannot be undone. The procedure relieves you from raising a child but can be emotionally damaging. If you choose abortion, it is recommended that you seek out a post-abortion recovery program like our Passage of Hope program. www.passagesofhope.org. We can get you connected with Passages of Hope during your appointment at AWPMC.
Find a Reputable OBGYN
It is essential to schedule an appointment with an OBGYN as soon as you can. If you are low income like Ashley was, take some time to research state-funded insurance. AWPMC will be happy to provide information about applying for pregnancy Medicaid and finding an ONGYN. You may still be on your parent’s insurance. If this is the case, your parents will need to call and check out their insurance policies and practices. It’s always better to be prepared. A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic excels at medical care and will make sure things go as smoothly as possible.
Focus on Yourself and Your Baby
Now that you know you’re pregnant, it’s time for some self-care. Pick up What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Your body is growing a tiny human, and that takes work. Sleep is so important for you and the baby.
Eat healthy, nutrient-filled meals. Not everything you eat has to be green but do your best. You are eating for two now.
Keep up with doctor appointments, and don’t hesitate to call your OBGYN if you have any questions or concerns. That’s why they’re there.
Prepare to Give Birth
As you get closer to the end, it’s time to amp up your game.
Tour hospitals and decide on which one you want to deliver at
Pack a bag full of items you will want to have on hand in the hospital
Create a birthing plan. You want a giant Hershey bar the morning after you give birth? Write it down.
Make sure you have a contact who can drive you to the hospital
Download a contraction counting app. In the heat of the moment, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how close contractions are because you may be uncomfortable. These apps time the contractions for you.
Back to the Story
On January 31st, 2003, Ashley gave birth (without Luke) to a gorgeous baby girl – we’ll call her E. In the coming years, Ashley divorced Luke and raised E alone for several years. Together, they moved into an income-restricted apartment and Ashley began working 40 hours a week. Ashley could purchase a car for the first time, provide for E, and life was good.
Fast forward to 2021. Baby E is no longer a baby; she’s 18! Ashley married a wonderful man 14 years ago who adopted E and had two more girls. They live comfortably. Ashley obtained a degree, and barely recognizes that scared young adult from so many years ago.
Your past does NOT determine your future. You’re stronger than you think.
Schedule an appointment at A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic and talk with us about your fears and options. Knowledge is empowering, and we can calm many of the thoughts that scare you about an unplanned pregnancy.
A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic is a safe place where you can confidentially discuss sexual health, pregnancy, women’s health, STIs, and relationship issues with one of our client advocates. We are a pro-woman, non-profit, holistic health clinic. We strive to offer clarity in your decisions while caring for your body, mind, and spirit. Feel free to contact us today to take advantage of our free services. We are here for you and ready to listen.