Pregnancy is a hard stage. You aren’t who you were before. You aren’t a parent yet either. Not officially. You’re often the only single person in the birthing class and at the doctor’s office. Other pregnant people have celebration and anticipation surrounding their pregnancy. Baby showers, coddling and attention all paid to the married women, while you struggle to carry the weight on your own. This can be really hard to deal with emotionally.
You will get a lot of different reactions from people during your pregnancy. Try not to let them get to you, and just stay focused on doing what’s best for you and your child. It’s not always easy, but it is the smartest thing you can do. Remember that this is only temporary. Believe it or not, as soon as the baby is born, you get a lot more support from people. You aren’t quite as much of a social outcast then. I never quite figured out why this is, but it’s what happens. In a way, it’s a good practice ground to prepare you for the future. There will be many times in your child’s life when they are unhappy with you and treat you as an outcast. Being able to stand firm in those times is an important trait for the future. Try and find a friend or two that you can talk to during the tough times.
There will be a lot of those. Pick your battles. You can’t fight about everything. The boss who told me to wear a ring – I did. It was easier and didn’t really matter to my future or Angel’s. The boss who wouldn’t promote me, I left the company and found a better more supportive boss. Friends who couldn’t be supportive of my new life situation I let go. I found new friends who were encouraging to me and my child. They were a wonderful support during those early years. They babysat, provided for things my daughter needed, and helped me stay strong.
They can be difficult to attend alone. But they are absolutely necessary to your baby’s health. Make sure you find a doctor you are comfortable with and that accepts you. I had a doctor who actually told me to my face ‘teens shouldn’t be pregnant’ when I started having issues with my pregnancy, he didn’t care. Don’t allow that. Find a doctor that you feel comfortable with that is going to help you bring your baby safely into this world.
My doctor induced labor for Angel. When we asked him why, he said “The baby should have been born already. I think the delay is because the cord is around her neck. If she drops naturally, she’ll choke.” When Angel was born, the cord was wrapped around her neck. He saved her life, multiple times. My doctor knew my health and my baby’s health well enough to make those kinds of decisions. If I hadn’t seen him regularly, he wouldn’t have been able to make those kinds of life saving decisions. It’s important for your doctor to be involved for your entire pregnancy.
Can’t afford it? There’s government insurance, private insurance, and pregnancy centers that all offer affordable ways to get the care you need. Some organizations are focused on helping single/teen parents get the health care they need. Check around your community for different groups. The local hospital’s nursery wards can tell you of resources that can help you. Also, check with colleges in your area that have medical programs. Often they offer discounted services for their interns to gain experience. If your parent’s have insurance and you can still be covered by it, use it. If you’re local college offers insurance and you can attend, use it. (See the chapter on Education). Some doctors donate their services as a tax write off each year. So call some local doctors in your area and ask. You may have to hear “No’ 50 times, but if you get one yes – it was worth the phone calls.
This is one of those areas, where whether you go alone, or find a friend to go with you – you have to do it. It’s doing the right thing for your child. And that’s what you need to stay focused on during your pregnancy. You aren’t who you were before, and you need to build a life around being the parent you are about to become.
Sometimes, love, support, and friendship come from places you never expected. When I was 4 months pregnant with Angel, I was really feeling the pressure. There was stress at home, school, with her dad, work – everyone was against me. I got sick and ended up in Emergency Room. That’s how I met the doctor who delivered her. The ER doctors told me there wasn’t anything they could find and for me to go home. I refused and asked for a second opinion. They called a doctor from the OB ward because he was the only one available. He took one look at me and told them to admit me. The next day, I had surgery to remove one of my ovaries. After the surgery, the doctor told me that he did what he could to not disturb the baby during the surgery and that he felt she was a fighter and would make it. Months later, he saved her life again by inducing my labor. He was a huge support all through my pregnancy, answering my questions and treating me with the same respect as all of his other patients. He was one of the doctors who worked for free for patients who needed him to.
You don’t have to go through this alone. There are teen homes in most cities that you can connect with, even if you don’t live there. There are organizations and people who will provide you with support. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find older women, like myself, who have been where you are now. You aren’t the first, you won’t be the last, and there are people who can help you if you reach out to them.