All Articles Tagged "unplanned pregnancy"
When my friend texted me “I’m pregnant,” I didn’t know what to say. I was certain she wasn’t fishing for a, “Congratulations!!!” because the lack of enthusiasm – even through iMessage – was evident.
She and her husband just celebrated their one-year anniversary, but I knew she was not wanting to have kids anytime soon. “We’re on the five-year plan” she’d told me a few weeks after the wedding.
Her employment situation was as stable as it can be considering that she worked at a retail store for seven years, yet they refused to promote her to manager because she doesn’t have a college degree. She finally quit that job and only recently got another at a better store with better pay. Her husband owns his own business, but the high time was in the summer and, during the winter months, business is virtually non-existent. He recently began working third shift at a local company. Not only do they not necessarily want kids right now, they also aren’t as financially prepared as they want to be either. I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to pry, but I’m fairly certain they don’t have health insurance. It’s a situation that many newlyweds find themselves in but you never see an “Ugh, we’re pregnant” Facebook status update.
When you’re married, everyone expects you to begin popping out kids like they’re free to take care of. There’s sympathy for the teen mom when she gets pregnant by a random highschool dropout, but when you’re a wife, you’re expected to be excited about your pregnancy. When my friend and I finally talked, I could already tell that she’d been “comforted” by less than comforting statements from other people such as: “At least you have a husband to help you” and “there are some women who can’t even have kids”.
What blows my mind about both of those statements is, just because you have a husband to “help you” doesn’t mean you want to have kids at that moment. And just because some couples cannot have kids, doesn’t improve your financial situation. People truly say the darndest things sometimes.
According to the CDC, about half of all pregnancies are unplanned and some of those unplanned pregnancies happen during a marriage. Unfortunately, you can take precautions like using contraceptives and/or the calendar method – like my friend did — but if you absolutely do not want to get pregnant then there are really only two things you can do: refrain from having sex or have the factory removed. If neither is an option, then you just have to be as cautious as you can and hope for the best.
It felt weird talking to my friend about her pregnancy because I’ve never been in her shoes and, as I told my husband, I would be just as devastated as she is if that happened to us. I want to be comforting, encouraging, supportive and positive, and I believe I can be those things without having experienced what she is going through. Still, what do you say to someone in that situation?
Initially, I didn’t really say anything. I congratulated her and told her she is going to be the cutest little pregnant lady ever, but most of all, she’ll be a terrific mom. After that, I just let her talk. She talked to me about the disbelief, how she’d taken four pregnancy tests before believing the results. She talked about her fears and that she enjoyed being a wife but didn’t feel grownup enough to be a mom. She talked to me about being thrilled and nervous at the exact same time. She talked about being self-conscious and how long she waited before telling anyone. She talked about her job and how much she loved it but wasn’t looking forward to being pregnant on her feet all day. She talked about her apartment and that she and her husband wanted to begin looking for a house. She talked about her husband and that he was excited, but he works third shift so they barely see each other anymore. She talked and I listened because that’s what friends do.
Next, I think I’ll go online and look up some things to put into a “Mommy-To-Be” care package and mail to her. She lives about six hours away, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be there for her in spirit.
Life is full of surprises and getting pregnant when you weren’t expecting it – whether you’re married or not – is definitely a huge surprise. But as her friend, one thing she can count on is that I’ll do my best to be there for her. And, should I ever (God forbid!!!) find myself joining the ranks of the 50% of women who didn’t plan their pregnancy, I hope I’ll have a friend who will be there for me.
Have you ever had a friend dealing with an unplanned pregnancy? What did you do?
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We can all make a compelling argument for why we SHOULD have sex. After all, it’s fun, it feels good and is good for you, and it’s the most intimate way you can share yourself and your love with your partner. But there is a flip side to that frisky coin, and varying attitudes towards sex show that there are plenty of reasons why you should hold off on doing the do. If you’re on the fence on whether or not you should have sex with a new guy, or for the first time ever, here are some things to consider before going all the way.
There are some things that most men should just not have a say in: the flower arrangements at your wedding (unless he’s David Tutera), wings vs. no wings and choosing good china. Unfortunately, when it comes to pregnancy, a man’s opinion doesn’t get taken into much consideration past conception. Even under the most ideal circumstances much of the fuss is made over the mother-to-be. Her skin’s glowing, everyone within a 10-foot radius wants to rub her belly and make it rain Baby Gap on her and the growing fetus. But dad…well, he just gets left on the sidelines until it’s time to head to the delivery room where he gets a pat on the back, a cigar, and in some cases, lowered expectations to play his part.
But what about when a pregnancy occurs under less than favored circumstances? As much as some politicians want to limit or completely eliminate the options women have when it comes to their bodies and pregnancy, the options that are available to choose from are never easy to navigate when a woman faces an unintended pregnancy. Ideally, we all would like to face that kind of situation with a partner who is committed to the relationship and truly cares about a woman’s well-being, but the fact is, babies are made every day between people who don’t care about each other, let alone want to co-parent together. And when an unplanned pregnancy occurs some women may find that including their partner in the decision-making process is unnecessary and more trouble than it’s worth.
In most states, legally, the father has no say in whether a woman chooses to have an abortion, but if it’s possible, the father should at least be a part of the conversation. The fact is, no woman should have to deal with the idea of an abortion alone. When it comes to revealing a pregnancy to a partner, it’s easy for our minds to go into overdrive imagining a far worse reaction than what actually occurs. I’d like to believe in most cases that there are responsible men who may be terrified at the idea of becoming a father, but can at least to step up to the plate as a source of support.
After Tom Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape,” President Obama quickly responded, “What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.” While this may be true when we’re discussing women’s healthcare as a nation, there’s a big difference between a politician telling you how to handle your pregnancy and leaving the man who could potentially be your child’s father in the dark. You know your partner best and if you’ve both talked about not wanting kids in the near future, there’s a good chance he’ll support your decision. You also have to consider how much of a toll keeping inside information will have on the trust in your relationship if this is someone you intend on being with for a long time. If you can’t trust him to support you in your decision or discuss something so serious rationally, you may have to question your investment into the relationship in the first place.
Editor’s Note: All statistics can be found verified using the links at the bottom of the article.
The face of teenage pregnancy has become a diversified collection of races and gender as shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and 16 & Pregnant have revealed the challenges and successes that both teen mothers and fathers of all backgrounds face. Still when many hear the term “baby mama” they assume that the reference is to a young black woman complete with a baby stroller, public assistance and a dim if not non-existent future.
What you may not know is that the teen pregnancy rate among black teens has declined 44% and the teen birth rate has declined 47%. This means a good portion of our teens understand the value in waiting to become parents, if not waiting to become sexually active entirely. What it doesn’t mean is that our jobs as parents and mentors are over as 50% of African-American girls in the US will become pregnant before their 20th birthday.
ESSENCE magazine recently teamed up with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy for an unprecedented survey of 1500 black youths, ages 13-21 to better understand their attitudes about sex, relationships, values and the media. The survey titled, “Under Pressure: What African-American Teens Aren’t Telling You about Sex, Love and Relationships” also highlights the progress the black community is making with helping our teens make better decisions about sex while shedding some light on where the missed connections lie when it comes to preventing unplanned pregnancy and educating them about safer sex.
If you’re not talking to your teen about sex, you better believe that they are learning about it from someone or something, and unfortunately many of these sources don’t always provide the healthiest or most accurate information. Check out the following list of some key sources that the survey revealed influences the sexual decision-making of African-American teens as well as some other important key findings:
With all of the debate surrounding Planned Parenthood and the obvious right-wing attack on abortion, American women are being forced to reevaluate reproductive responsibility. Although a mere three percent of Planned Parenthood services can be attributed to abortions, the idea of terminating “unplanned” pregnancies is one to be reexamined.
Is getting pregnant after a one-night stand poor planning or a consequence of irresponsibility? After regular unprotected sex with your boyfriend, is it really a surprise to see a pregnancy test register positive? It would appear reproductive rights have become the remedy for poor decision-making.