Sometimes, life happens in the most unexpected ways — and sometimes, it might happen in the form of an unplanned pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and don’t know where to turn for support, here are five resources to consider.
Your Doctor’s Office
If they’re available, your regular doctor and/or gynecologist is one of the most invaluable resources for your pregnancy. Not only provide prenatal care for you and your baby, but they can also offer advice on handling the pregnancy and potentially refer you to even more resources for financial hardship, childcare, food stamps and other aid. If you don’t have a regular doctor due to a lack of insurance, you might be able to obtain coverage while you’re pregnant.
A Women’s Clinic
It’s easy to find women’s clinics in Illinois, and most of them serve as safe havens of support and care for women who are pregnant, ill or even struggling with domestic abuse. Your local clinic can provide testing if you don’t have access to pregnancy tests, provide some prenatal care, offer guidance on getting through your pregnancy and offer resources for parenting. Different clinics might have different restrictions on what the providers are allowed to do; if your nearest clinic is far away, you may want to call ahead of time and see what services are available.
A Pregnancy Crisis Center
There are pregnancy crisis centers all over the country, and each one specializes in getting expectant mothers the help they need. From medical procedures and potential referrals to parenting support, counseling and other sexual health services, these centers are specifically designed for women who are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. Like women’s clinics, these centers may have different restrictions on what they’re allowed to do, so you may need to call ahead of time and find out what services are available. If you’re pregnant and have nowhere to turn, there is always help available. You can access support through the American Pregnancy Association by calling, emailing or visiting their website; for more severe situations, you can get help from the SAMHSA 24/7 emergency hotline.
Your Family and Friends
Your loved ones can be immensely helpful in deciding what to do next. If you haven’t already and feel comfortable enough to do so, sit down with your partner, parents, siblings, other relatives or friends and let them know that you’re pregnant. Be honest about your fears and any struggles you may be dealing with. The people in your circle might be able to connect you with a doctor, offer financial assistance or a place to stay and can provide much-needed emotional support and guidance. Sadly, every family is different, and it’s understandable that not everyone may be supportive of your situation; if someone in your circle is toxic or uninterested in helping, you do not need to reach out to them.
For those times when life throws you an unexpected turn, you have options available. No matter what you do, the important thing to remember is that help is available.