Getting Past the Fear of Pregnancy

One of the most common things we see in women who come to our center is fear. Fear that their lives will be derailed by pregnancy; fear that their loved ones and friends won’t accept them; fear of being a bad parent. More than anything, these women are afraid of the unknown. That’s why it’s vital to get past the fear of pregnancy before you make any decisions or choices. Here are a few tips for how.

Getting Past Fear of Pregnancy

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Is there any connection between pornography, STDs and unplanned pregnancy?

Last month was Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (among other designations).  Efforts were focused on reducing the number of teens facing unplanned pregnancies – a number that has declined significantly in recent years.  This is a good thing, but focusing solely on pregnancy prevention, while overlooking other painful consequences of the misuse or too-early use of sex hurts young adults in the long run.

Typically pregnancy is only a possibility three to six days a month for the average female. But STDs – sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STIs) – can be acquired any day of any month that a guy or girl is sexually active.  And the effects of STDs can be as life-altering as pregnancy, with no upside at all – unlike pregnancy, which results in people like you and me! Lighthouse offers free testing for the two bacterial STDs most commonly found in young adults.

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Happy Mother’s Day to Julias everywhere . . .

After a dozen years, it still doesn’t get old.  Every Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the women Lighthouse has supported to make brave choices – choices that have changed their lives and their children’s forever, for the better. I smile when I think of how their first courageous choices – which seemed nearly impossible at first – resulted in joy and more life-enhancing choices for themselves and those around them.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am grateful that Lighthouse is able to offer free life-affirming support to women facing unplanned pregnancies.  Some of our confidential services include pregnancy testing, medical confirmation of pregnancy, STD testing and relationship support for women like Julia.  Here is the story of Julia’s pregnancy journey, shared with her permission:

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When Sex isn’t Sexy

While most television shows and movies include casual sexual encounters, rarely are the lovers (and I use that term loosely) shown getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, for short).

Some consequences of uncommitted sex make it to the big screen.  Unexpected pregnancies have become an expected plot twist, thanks to movies like Juno and Knocked Up that center on the concept of an ill-timed conception.  The emotional drama after a relationship turns sexual or a sexual relationship ends makes for interesting viewing (think 500 Days of Summer, Friends with Benefits, or Vanilla Sky). But STDs seem to be the unspoken, unexpected consequence.

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Every crisis contains an opportunity – even an unplanned pregnancy

Crisis.  Gut wrenching, knee buckling, breath-sucking, life-changing personal crisis. We’ve all been there. Usually we wonder what to do next or how we will ever overcome the unexpected problem.  We had plans and dreams . . . and suddenly those visions are gone and even our day-to-day living seems threatened.

When life-changing obstacles threaten our plans, most of us don’t – or can’t – see the potential benefit of the ordeal.

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Valentine’s Day on Social Media—a Lot Not to Like

Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day stirs mixed emotions for many people.

To celebrate it, we buy chocolate or flowers for those we love, and even send children to school with bags full of handwritten notes and treats for their classmates. Couples go out to dinner or exchange gifts to mark the holiday.

But what about those who are single on Valentine’s Day? What about the person whose spouse has passed away? Many people have an attached sadness to this day every year. These feelings of sadness can easily turn into an (understandable) sense of bitterness towards the day.

While this is no new concept, there is something in society that I feel has made this experience worse for many people – even people who are in a relationship on this Valentine’s Day:  social media.

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Hope to be married someday? Stop hoping and start dating!

I recently heard that 85% of Americans hope to marry someday, according to a study by Rutgers University, which also found that 82% of female high school seniors say that having a good marriage is extremely important to them.  Whether you are a high school or college senior, or even a senior citizen, a good first step to marriage is a date.

A date, what’s that? – all but the senior citizens are asking.  If you are clueless as to how to begin the dating process, consider the following helpful tips posted on the Love & Fidelity Network’s blog recently. (Click here for the entire article: http://www.loveandfidelity.org/2016/02/18/3-tips-bring-dating-back/) The author describes herself as “now happily married, having survived college dating (despite the scariness).”

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A Lifetime of Love

My first Valentine’s Day as a married woman, at the ripe old age of 22, I had a major meltdown when stores began to close and no flowers appeared. It was a Saturday night in the days before supermarkets sold fresh (or what passes for fresh) flowers.  In desperation, my husband bought the next best thing:  a vase from Macy’s that would hold flowers the following Valentine’s Day when he would be older and wiser.

Thirty years later, I still love gifts of flowers (and I even got a bouquet a few days early this year, to mark the anniversary of our first date!).  But my idea of what counts as an expression of love has changed. For the better, I think.  My friend, Anne, says it best in her poem, Love, which is reprinted here with her permission.  (For more of her thoughts, check out www.anneethompson.com.)

Love

No more,
Do I carve big hearts in the sand.
Neither do I scribble our names entwined.
Nor do I keep your photo’ under my pillow.
Nor chant your name like a rhyme in my head.
I do not whisper about you with friends,
Nor blush when I hear your voice.
I do not loiter in the places you may pass,
Nor practice smiles for you before a mirror.

Yet still,
My heart thrills at the sound of your laughter,
And I watch the clock when your arrival is near.
I am content when I manage to please you,
And I watch your face when you drive or read.
I learn every wrinkle that creases your smile,
And I bend to your moods as they change.
For though time may mellow and age us,
My love for you remains
The same.

by Anne E Thompson

Thank you, Anne.  And thank you, Fred, for living love, instead of buying it.

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

This Christmas season as I scanned my Instagram feed, I came across a photo of my friend Abby’s son in front of a big tree in her workplace.  It warmed my heart to think of how her life has been changed for the better by a pregnancy decision more than five years ago.

When I first met Abby, she was attending a college in Massachusetts, and had come home to make a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.  It was a difficult decision.  Continuing with her pregnancy meant she might be the only pregnant student at her school.  It might mean lost opportunities.

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