It Takes a Village

What if I don’t have a good support system?

An unplanned pregnancy can bring a rollercoaster of feelings—fear, excitement, uncertainty, happiness, worry, and everything in between. It also brings a new set of needs—financial, physical, medical, emotional, relational, and even spiritual. Having a good support system in place to help you navigate these feelings and needs is important to having the healthiest journey possible through pregnancy, birth, and life after birth.

There’s an old African proverb that says “It takes a village to raise a child”… in other words, it takes a whole community of people to meet all of the needs of any one person—parent or child. Some people already have a supportive partner, family, friends, and community to help them on this journey. Others, however, may feel alone or uncertain of how to get the help that they need; they may be wondering who is in their “village.” In the event of an unplanned pregnancy, you may be faced with negative outside pressure, misunderstanding, judgment, or rejection by people around you. Here are some helpful things to consider if you don’t have a good support system in place:

  • Recognize unhealthy influences. If there are people in your life who put you down, physically or emotionally harm you, threaten you, manipulate you, or are pressuring you to make a decision that you don’t want to make, those are all signs of harmful, unhealthy influences. The best thing that you can do is distance yourself from these unhealthy influences as much as possible, and in turn, find healthy influences to support you. You cannot control what others do or say, but you can take responsibility to make the best decisions for yourself and for your baby.
  • Believe that there ARE people who will support you.

Feeling alone or afraid can be overwhelming. You may feel hopeless or defeated by the prospect of a pregnancy without a good support system. However, there is ALWAYS hope and there ARE people who want to support you. Sometimes, you just have to know where to look. Cutting out unhealthy influences is only half the battle—replacing them with healthy ones is the second step. This might seem easier said than done, but a great place to start is by making a list of support resources:

  • Your physician team; this could include an OB/GYN, midwife, doula, or community-based health clinics (such as Choices Medical).
  • Classes or support groups are great ways to meet new friends and people who are in similar situations. These could be parenting classes, lamaze classes, breastfeeding support, or single-parent support groups.
  • Churches often provide a community of spiritual support, as well as being a place to connect to other families and receive help.
  • Finding a counselor or therapist can be helpful in sorting through mental and emotional struggles. While these are not always free services, health insurance sometimes covers the cost, and there are also often community counselors that use sliding-scale or low income payment plans.
  • Lean on family members or friends who have your best interest at heart and can be compassionate and reliable.
  • There are even support groups and message boards online that can provide encouragement and shared experience with those going through similar things.
  • The best way to find help is to ask for it.

The bottom line is that help is available, you simply need to have the courage to ask. If you need help connecting with resources like the ones listed above, Choices Medical now has an in-office case manager that can help you. Pick up that phone, send that text, write that email, make that appointment, and don’t be afraid to reach out to support resources when you have needs. You and your baby are worth it!

Sources available upon request.

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