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What not to do when you think you might be pregnant

If you think you can’t face having a pregnancy test yet then here’s a few things you shouldn’t bother doing that absolutely will not help you at all…

You’re late. A week, a few weeks. Hard to remember when you were due because it’s been busy and sometimes you’re a bit irregular.

Maybe you think it’s too early to panic and you aren’t ready to go full pregnancy test yet. Our advice is to get tested soon as then you know exactly what your dealing with and can look at all your options. If you think you can’t face having a pregnancy test yet then here’s a few things you shouldn’t bother doing that absolutely will not help you at all…

1) Doing nothing

2) Endless Googling of early pregnancy symptoms until you end up in a paranoid spiral of certainty that you’re either pregnant or dying of a tropical disease

3) Going out and getting absolutely hammered. That’s not relieving stress, that’s pretending this isn’t happening. Nice idea but you can’t pretend this away

4) Feeling your tummy to see if it’s any bigger yet and/or obssessing about every gurgle trying to figure out if it’s a fart or a baby kicking

5) Going to the toilet every half hour to see if you’ve got a period yet

6) Staying awake for hours worrying about every single possible thing that this could mean, then being exhausted and snarling mad all day at anyone who dares speak

7) Doing nothing. Seriously. It will not help

You can sit back and hope for a period to rescue you or you can take some control and get the answer your own damn self. Spare yourself a tonne of stress and don’t wait.

If this is a false alarm, take an honest look at what contraception you’ve been using. There are so many choices available to you, if you don’t trust your current method (or if you didn’t use any – we’re especially talking to you) you need to try something else. Worrying about pregnancy is stressful, taking ownership of your contraception saves you from it. Go to your doctor or health clinic – protecting people from unwanted pregnancies and STIs is what they’re about. They have all the info and all the options and will listen to what you have to say and talk to you with respect.

In the UK contraception is free. STI tests are free. Doctors appointments are free. Pregnancy tests at the doctors are free. Protecting yourself is an essential part of a good sex life so take advantage of this amazing service.

 

Is my daughter pregnant?

Even if you practice very hard, it can be difficult for this question not to sound like an accusation.

Maybe she is. Perhaps you’re about to have to deal with this whole thing. Or maybe she isn’t. Presumably you don’t want to just come straight out and ask her, but that’s understandable. Even if you practice very hard, it can be difficult for this question not to sound like an accusation.

Why are you thinking this? Have your parental detective skills proven that there aren’t as many tampon wrappers lying around lately and she’s moody and avoiding you … let’s face it, there’s a hundred other potential reasons for both of those, particularly for a teenager. Is it a hunch, you just know that there’s something going on and this is your best guess? Try to think back to being a teenager and how little your parents knew about the world you lived in then. If you’d even tried to explain to them how complicated and extreme things get then they wouldn’t have understood it, parents just can’t, and you can’t really understand your teen’s world fully either.

I just feel that something’s changed, something’s going on that she’s not telling me. I don’t know what it is and lately it’s like I can’t say anything right

The main thing you can do is demonstrate that you are open to talking and create short times when this can happen. It’s very easy to just coexist alongside a teen, giving them lifts to place, nagging about laundry, watching tv downstairs while they’re up in their rooms or out. What this means is that it’s rare to actually have a conversation. So think of it this way, if you need to have a big conversation with them then you’ll need to warm up by making sure you’ve got some practice in where you’re talking about normal, everyday things. Try for non-confrontational situations, car journeys are good because you’re sitting side by side so avoid awkward eye contact. Supermarkets are good because you’re can talk about the week, the food, the other shoppers. Allow them to talk and to express ideas and thoughts that you might not agree with. This isn’t going to magically fix this issue but it will make it slightly easier if you can show that talking with you is safe and normal.

Last week I literally counted the tampons in the bathroom so I could see if any were being used. Yes, it felt ridiculous

If your daughter is pregnant then you must know that she hasn’t told you because she’s not ready and/or because she’s scared. Children can do an excellent job of protecting parents from sides of themselves that they think you won’t like. You can try to force this conversation to happen but it’s more probably that you’ll make her far less likely to talk to you at all. Shouting and threatening is not the way to create a safe space.

What you want is to parent your daughter, to look after her, to support her. Your job is to make sure that you are giving out that message to her in your words and actions.

The most important thing is to listen to her. Even if she’s not talking out loud about this, she might be telling you in other ways that she needs your help. Follow her cues and be there to guide her.

You’re pregnant. What next?

u just got a positive result on a pregnancy test. Whether you were told by a doctor or were sitting on a bathroom floor staring at a plastic stick that you’d just wee’d on, this has moved from a worry to a fact. So what do you do now?

You just got a positive result on a pregnancy test. Whether you were told by a doctor or were sitting on a bathroom floor staring at a plastic stick that you’d just wee’d on, this has moved from a worry to a fact. So what do you do now?

First, it’s okay to not know what you want to do. Give yourself a little time to let this info sink in. Its okay to freak out, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be numb, it’s even okay to be happy – that’s part of the whole motherhood deal.

You need info. There are timings that you can’t change and the more info you have about how many weeks pregnant you are, the more options you can have available to you. If you already know that you want an abortion then act quickly, the sooner you talk to a doctor, the better. If you don’t know if you want to have the baby then you still need to know how many weeks pregnant you are so you can figure out what dates you need to have made a decision by.

It’s actually too much to even think about. Like, I don’t know where to start. I haven’t told the dad yet. What am I supposed to do?

Take this part seriously, it’s not just a decision about having a baby, it’s about raising a human for the rest of your life. You can be a teenage mum and still end up doing that job you’ve always planned on getting, or still travel and see rather world, but it will be more difficult. You will have to work harder than everyone else and be much more determined.

If you know that you are going to have the baby then you need to get started with doctors appointments. You will need to think about telling people, the dad, your parents, your close friends. This isn’t time to turn your life into the Jeremy Kyle show, make it a thoughtful decision and not a dramatic revelation. Other people will want to gossip and talk crap about you, that is a fact you will have to get used to. You cannot fight them all, but you can spend every day proving them wrong. Again and again, their crap is for them to deal with, you focus on yourself.

I told someone I thought I could trust and she told everyone. Now I have to deal with everyone knowing when I haven’t told my mum yet.

This is probably the biggest thing you’ve ever had to deal with. You don’t need to have all the answers straight away but try to find a supportive person who can give you some honest talks. If you’re not ready to talk to friends or family then call one of the helplines who will allow you to stay anonymous, won’t judge you and will give you straight and unbiased info.

 

Changing friendships

If you’re pregnant you’ll need to accept that your life has changed. Your plans, your friendships, your family, all different now. Sounds dramatic but don’t panic, this is a change but not the end.

Trying to keep up with your life as if you aren’t pregnant will not help you. Denial is very powerful but it stops you from getting the best out of yourself. Be honest about your life, your plans and your friends now. Some of them you can bring with you but some of them – sorry about this – you will leave behind. Stark as that. This is growing up and this happens to everyone, you’re just moving quicker than most people. Maybe you can pick back up with them later on but right now you need to surround yourself with people who respect what you’re doing and don’t try to distract you from where you’re trying to get to.

My best friend, she still wants me to go out like we used to. I don’t want to miss out just because I’m pregnant. There’s a part of me that wants to pretend it isn’t happening

Find good people, the ones who respect you and your life, this is especially important now that your health and your future have to be your priority. You will find your current friendships changing and growing and you’ll also meet new people just through being pregnant – this happen whatever age you are and it’s a natural part of pregnancy.

People really showed me who they were. Some friends, I thought I was really close them but they ended up making everything more difficult for me, and there’s new people that I just click better with now

Prioritise your life. What do you want? What do you need? How are the people around you helping you to get these? If they aren’t helping you then you owe it to yourself and your future to step back from them. You won’t be alone, there’s always someone nearby who can remind you that you’re on the right track and that every day that you look after yourself and your future is another day won.

Why are my parents so mad about the pregnancy?

You were finally brave enough to tell your parents that you’re pregnant. You didn’t expect them to celebrate but they seem really, really angry.

Parenting is very complex. Pretty much all parents would like to be perfect and are just trying to get it right as often as they can. But its rare that there is a perfect response to this and you must admit that this kind of news is, at best, a shock.

They’re probably worried, shocked and concerned. This not only takes some getting used to but it is probably a more challenging and difficult route than they would choose for you.

It might make them confront the fact that they don’t know you as well as they thought they did. We’re all very good at protecting people from sides of us that they might not like and parents can be particularly keen to believe in a version of you that makes them feel better. If they have strong religious or social beliefs then changing a lifetime of solidly-held views is going to take time and effort.

They might be self-conscious and worry about people judging them and their parenting. Maybe they feel some guilt that they did something wrong and it’s all their fault. All of these are for them to work through. You can’t force them to change their feelings but you can be honest with them and let them know if you need them to talk with, listen to, or support you.

Try to be patient with them and if they’ve reacted very badly then give them time. You need to be in a safe and supportive place so let them know this. Help them to see that you still need them and love them.

Am I pregnant? …Testing Times

Am I pregnant? How and where do I get a test?

You don’t have to take a pregnancy test, you can just do absolutely nothing and wait for six months and see if your trousers fit or don’t fit.

Pregnancy test at the doctor

In the UK this is not only free but it’s the most accurate testing experience you’ll get. It might seem a bit terrifying if you’re not used to seeing a doctor but, trust us, they are not there to judge you. They literally take an oath to do the best for you as a patient. They will have seen this all before and their top priority will be to give you the info you’re asking for. Appointments are private and they can give you honest answers about your specific health needs.

It was my first time going to a doctor on my own, even calling to make the appointment was scary. And the doctor who knew me my whole life, knew my family, I was scared to tell him. But he just got on with it, he just talked really calmly to me

You might have to wait a little while to get an appointment and some doctors may not test you straight away so you’d need to visit or call in to get results.

If you are pregnant, you will have to see a doctor anyway. Might as well get started at the test stage and this way they can give you immediate access to info about health provision and your options. If you’re not pregnant, you can talk about contraception options to spare yourself from this situation in the future.

Home pregnancy test

They’re much more affordable than they used to be and it’s a lot easier than the science experiment test tubes previous generations of women had to fumble about with. They still involve wee. You will require access to a bathroom – preferably one with a bit of privacy . They’re reasonably accurate and you’ll get an answer pretty much straight away. Important to remember that you can get false negative results, so a test could tell you you’re not pregnant but it could be wrong. If you still don’t get a period or if you’re still worried then you should get yourself to a doctor.

I was trying to read the instructions and figure out if it mattered how much wee I did but my sister was hammering on the door yelling at me to get out the bathroom

If you’re not pregnant then take this as a sign that you need to check your contraception, you need to use a method that you trust and that works for you.

Doing nothing

This is no kind of solution. You’re leaving yourself with stress and worry that you just don’t need. Maybe your period will arrive all by itself, but those days and days of waiting are just creating angst that you don’t need. You can get an answer cheaply and quickly from a doctor or a home test.

If you are pregnant, the option of ignoring it is not going to help you. You potentially risk your health, the baby’s health and you also risk limiting your options. You need information and choices and you can start getting those when you have a proper answer. Help yourself out, just get a test done and then you can get on with your life.

Abortion: whose decision is it?

We’ll get straight to the point. One person has the decision here and that is the pregnant woman. The people around her can offer support, guidance and ideas but must respect her and her decision. Plenty of people think they have a right to tell pregnant women what to do but they’re wrong.

If you’re pregnant and deciding what to do it can feel like you have to please everyone, but it is your life and it is your responsibility to make the right decision for you.

Other people will also have opinions and want to help you, listen to them and respect what they have to say, even if it is the exact opposite of what you feel. Your family, the father, his family will have things to say and you should show them the respect that you’d would like to receive back. Even if you disagree with them, do it with respect.

Do not accept shouting on this subject. Anyone who shouts at you with their opinion of what they think you have to do is not showing you the respect you deserve. Explain to them that you can’t listen to them when they’re shouting and that they need to explain themselves in a better and more clear way. Maybe insist that you take a break and come back to the conversation. Sometimes it helps to write down bullet points of what you think so you can hold on to it if you’re feeling overwhelmed or outnumbered.

You can choose how much you tell other people about this. Both now and forever, this is your personal story and you are not obliged to reveal it unless you want to. There is no mark

Finding the facts about abortion

This is a personal matter, we’re not here to tell you that your feelings and beliefs are right or wrong. But we are always in favour of access to info and proper facts. Sometimes it helps to look more closely at a viewpoint just to figure out how you feel about it. And whatever your feelings and opinions were before, things are very different when you’re actually pregnant and making a decision about the rest of your life.

People have strong opinions about abortion. Sometimes extreme, judgmental and loud opinions. Pro-life, pro-choice or somewhere in the acres of middle ground.

This is a personal matter, we’re not here to tell you that your feelings and beliefs are right or wrong. But we are always in favour of access to info and proper facts. Sometimes it helps to look more closely at a viewpoint just to figure out how you feel about it. And whatever your feelings and opinions were before, things are very different when you’re actually pregnant and making a decision about the rest of your life.

My parents are very religious. I just couldn’t even start talking about it with them so I ended up calling a helpline. It was hard to speak but even just saying it out loud felt like a huge release

The facts about abortion, what happens and how to access them are all on the NHS site NHS: Abortion

There’s a lot of wrong information and some outright lies published mostly by the kind of anti-abortion groups who also think it’s okay to scare women outside abortion clinics. If you’re interested in the science behind their ‘claims’ and the honest facts about abortion, there’s a great podcast from the team at Science Vs available: Science Vs: Abortion (podcast audio)

Charities and support groups who will give you unbiased info, advice and help:

BPAS www.bpas.org

“BPAS is the UK’s largest provider of abortion services providing care for 55000 women each year. We are an independent healthcare charity which has, for nearly 50 years, been advocating and caring for women”

For women in Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Isle of Man:

Abortion Support Network www.asn.net

“Abortion Support Network provides financial assistance and accommodation to women travelling from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Funding is available on a case by case basis depending on financial need and availability of funding. Please contact us before booking travel as we can also advise on the least expensive clinics and methods of travel. We also provide confidential, non-judgmental information to anyone who contacts us via phone or email who is seeking information about travelling to England for an abortion, as well as information about reputable providers of early medical abortion pills by post.”

Your doctor and health worker will be able to talk you through your options. You need to know how many weeks pregnant you are as this changes the options that you have. The sooner you go and talk to them, the better. Whatever you decide, talking with them early on means you’re giving yourself the best chance of making the right decision for you.