How Can I Support My Partner When She’s Pregnant?

How Can I Support My Partner When She’s Pregnant?

Whether your partner’s pregnancy was expected or unexpected, it’s normal to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety as you think about the future. It’s normal to wonder how things will change for you, your partner, and your relationship. It may also feel like you’re sitting on the sidelines while your partner is experiencing the pregnancy firsthand and receiving all the attention, but your role is so much more than sideline supportive. It’s active and crucial.

It’s Vital for Your Pregnant Partner to Feel Your Support

Research is clear; mothers and infants are healthier when pregnant mothers feel supported by their partners. Your appropriate support means your partner is less likely to experience depression or anxiety. Studies also reveal that having a supportive partner impacts infants positively in addition to their mothers; they appear to display lower stress levels too.

When your support leads to your partner being emotionally healthier, her body will better cope with the physical demands of pregnancy, delivery, and recovery after giving birth.

Here’s a real-life example: Your partner feels sick, and you genuinely believe she needs privacy, so your first thought is to leave her alone. But the good news is that you’ve already had conversations with her about this, so you know if you leave her alone now, she will experience your well-intended efforts as abandonment.

You realize your support efforts to give your partner space would have the opposite effect you intend, so instead of leaving her alone, you offer ginger ale, crackers, and your presence. And your partner feels loved and supported.

The key isn’t whether you think you’re providing the support she needs, but if your partner perceives your actions as supportive.

You need to start somewhere, so here are practical suggestions on ways to support your partner when she’s pregnant.

Connect on an Emotional Level

When you and your partner discover she’s pregnant, emotions follow. You both need to talk about feelings of uncertainty, inadequacy, anxiousness, and excitement. Emotionally connecting while she’s pregnant sets a solid foundation for your relationship and the decisions you make about the pregnancy.

Invest time to learn about how to listen well, empathize, and validate her feelings. Validate doesn’t mean you agree; it means you empathize enough to want to understand her inner world. The goal is not to respond but to listen to understand her perspective. We all desire to be heard and understood, and when your partner perceives your attempts to understand her, she will feel incredibly supported.  

Connect on a Practical Level

When you support your pregnant partner with actions, it communicates, “I care,” far more than words ever could. Here are ways to connect on a practical level:

  • Prioritize your relationship — discuss needs, desires, and dreams
  • Take notice when she needs help and help out without being asked
  • Go with her to her doctor visits and childbirth classes if you choose to carry to term— ask questions
  • Encourage her to take a nap
  • Take walks or cook a balanced meal together

Avail supports women and men by offering a safe place to talk through your experiences and questions, especially when facing an unexpected pregnancy or abortion. If you have further questions or think your girlfriend might be pregnant, make a confidential appointment with a Male Client Advocate today. All services are free.

Avail exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Your Girlfriend’s Cycle: How Likely Is She to Get Pregnant?

Your Girlfriend’s Cycle: How Likely Is She to Get Pregnant?

Gone are the days when contraception was solely the woman’s responsibility. If your girlfriend becomes unexpectedly pregnant, it affects both of you. So, it makes sense that men like you are asking more questions, looking for answers, and want to be informed about their girlfriend’s cycles and when they are most likely to get pregnant.

Let’s get started.

1. What is a “cycle?”

Each month a woman’s body prepares for a possible pregnancy, and that hormonal process is her “menstrual cycle” or just her “cycle.”

The length of a woman’s cycle is measured from the first day of her period to the first day of her next period. Cycle length varies from woman to woman and can range from 21 to 35 days with the average being 28 days.

There are four phases to her cycle: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase. Let’s look at what that means in regards to getting pregnant.

2. Which phase in my girlfriend’s cycle is she more likely to get pregnant?

Your girlfriend is more likely to get pregnant in the ovulating phase of her cycle, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen at other points in the cycle, and here’s why!

The ovulation phase is when a woman’s ovary releases an egg. If you think you might be “safe” and have unprotected sex during the follicular phase of your cycle, remember this: your sperm can live up to five days right into her ovulation cycle. That creates a situation where her egg and your sperm are in the same place at the same time, and she could potentially get pregnant.

A woman’s egg lives about 12-24 hours, and a man’s sperm lives up to five days. That means there is about a six-day window each month around ovulation that your girlfriend is more likely to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex.

3. When in her cycle is my girlfriend ovulating?

Ovulation occurs about two weeks before her expected period.

4. How can I tell when it’s two weeks before my girlfriend’s period?

Excellent question. If your girlfriend is one of more than 100 million women who use a period tracking app, ask her if she will share it will you. The popular period tracking apps have the capability for cycle sharing and push notifications.

If your girlfriend isn’t comfortable sharing her app with you, ask if it would be okay to download your own app and track her period yourself. This isn’t weird or abnormal. It’s taking responsibility and empowering yourself with knowledge!

Common Myths About Getting Pregnant

  • Myth: She can’t get pregnant if she has her period.
  • Myth: She can’t get pregnant if you withdraw before ejaculating.
  • Myth: She can’t get pregnant if she is taking the pill.
  • Myth: She can’t get pregnant if she is breastfeeding.

Avail supports women and men by offering a safe place to talk through your experiences, especially when facing an unexpected pregnancy or abortion. If you have further questions or think your girlfriend might be pregnant, make a confidential appointment with a Male Client Advocate today. All services are free.

Avail exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Expressing Tough Decisions to Disapproving Loved Ones

Expressing Tough Decisions to Disapproving Loved Ones

Even the most independent thinker is likely to hate the thought of disappointing friends or family members, so communicating a choice that you’re sure the listener will disagree with can be stressful. It can be tough to openly express your desire to take a different path than others might choose, especially when this path can lead to potential consequences.

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy and aren’t sure how others might react to your ultimate decision, it’s crucial to prepare yourself for some tough conversations. Read on for some tips and tricks to help ease this process and ensure you’re able to fully express your feelings to your family members or other loved ones.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice can improve just about any speech, especially in emotionally-charged situations. By practicing what you’re planning to say and anticipating the responses you might get, you’ll be far better prepared for the actual process. You may even want to bring along an index card or a notebook when preparing to reveal your decision to your family members. This can help you if your mind goes blank or if you feel especially anxious before you begin.

Anticipate (and Answer) the Most Common Questions

After learning of your unexpected pregnancy, your loved ones may have dozens of questions, from “where will you live?” to “what about school?” By anticipating and having responses already prepared for some of these questions, you’ll be more confident when the time comes to reveal this news to your friends and family. And even if you’d like to keep your reasons for your choices private, thinking through them on your own can be helpful to the overall decision-making process.

Don’t Feel the Need to Justify Your Decisions

Often, these conversations can quickly put the person making a choice on the defensive. You might feel compelled to provide multiple reasons for why you’re making certain decisions. While providing these reasons can help the listener realize that you’ve put a lot of thought into this decision, it can just as often devolve into an argument.

Regardless of whether your family or loved ones are supportive of your decision about an unplanned pregnancy, Avail NYC is here to help. We’re a resource-focused organization that gives women and families the support and referrals they need to make a confident decision. If you’re pregnant and not sure what to do next, give us a call today.

Contact Us

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider. 

Balancing an Unplanned Pregnancy in a New Relationship

Balancing an Unplanned Pregnancy in a New Relationship

An unplanned pregnancy by itself is hard to deal with. Getting pregnant in the beginning of a new relationship adds another complicated dimension. You may not know each other that well yet and you aren’t able to predict your partner’s reaction to the news. Will he stick around and be supportive or will he walk away?

Maybe you’re crazy in love. Maybe you’re just “in like.” If he’s willing to stick around, do you want him to? What if he wants to get married? Uncertainty can be hard to handle and we are here to support you at Avail NYC.

When facing an unplanned pregnancy, you might not feel happy and excited, at least not in the beginning. Scared and confused might be more your speed right now. Or maybe you adjust quickly and are digging in, figuring things out, and are ready to make some decisions.

There is no “right” way to feel about an unplanned pregnancy, just as there is no “wrong” way, either. Whichever way you feel, that’s the right one for you.

What We Know

You’re not alone. In 2011, nearly half (45% or 2.8 million) of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the United States each year were unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute. That’s 2.8 million women just like you, every year.

Your life isn’t over. With 2.8 million women each year finding themselves unexpectedly pregnant, it’s reasonable to expect that people are more used to single women getting pregnant than in the past, and there is no reason to feel ashamed. The only opinion that matters is yours. There are a lot of young single women who not only parent, but have successful careers, maintain strong relationships, and enjoy fulfilling, rewarding lives.

You Have Options

An unplanned pregnancy isn’t the end of the world because you have options. You can choose abortion, adoption, or parenting. At Avail NYC, we are committed to providing accurate, unbiased information so you can make the best possible decision for YOU. We will answer all of your questions and support you throughout the decision-making process and beyond.

Come in and See Us

Come in and see us at Avail NYC. We can give you a free, self-administered pregnancy test and if it confirms you are pregnant, we can offer you a referral for a free ultrasound to determine if the pregnancy is viable, if it is an ectopic pregnancy (which needs medical treatment right away), and the gestational age. The ultrasound is performed on site by a third-party women’s medical clinic.

Once this is completed, we will give you a decision-making tool that helps you take into account your situation, values, and goals as you decide which path is the best one for you to follow. Our caring advocates will be there for you every step of the way to listen and help you process.

Make an Appointment

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

How to Tell My Mom I’m Pregnant

How to Tell My Mom I’m Pregnant

Caitlin sits in her room, crying so hard her whole body shakes. So many thoughts run through her head. Mostly just no, repeated over and over. Until her mom knocks on the door and asks, “What’s wrong? Caitlin?”

On the other side of town, Shaunda sits in class. Her eyes are red, but no one really notices. She keeps her head down and tries to focus on her exam, but her mind is awhirl. When her shoulders start to shake, her professor comes over, puts a hand on hers, and quietly asks, “Is something wrong? Can I help you?”

A third girl, Phoebe, looks at her best friend as they walk through the park. She asks the big question, the one that is running through each girl’s mind: “How do I tell my mom I’m pregnant?”

Look at Your Options

We know an unexpected pregnancy can be really tough news to get. The shock and fear can be paralyzing, and you may not know where to turn, or who you can talk to at first. Despite what you may be thinking, you are not alone.

Our compassionate, unbiased client advocates are here for you and can help you plan what to say when talking with your mom. They will guide you through a decision-making tool to help you decide which option is right for you.

At Avail NYC, we want to make sure you are informed on each of these choices so you are able to make the best possible decision for you. They can also help you plan how to talk to your mom.

Put Together a Plan

Timing can be important, especially when you have difficult news to share. Plan to tell your mom at a time when she’s not busy with important things, and when there will be plenty of time to talk. If she’s on deadline for a work project or about to rush out the door, that might not be the opportune time. Also, have a backup time, just in case something comes up.

When you do sit down to talk, being direct is usually the best choice. Talking all around a subject when one person doesn’t know what’s at the heart of it can be frustrating, and that won’t help you. Just as you were surprised, expect your mom will be, too. Give her some time to move past that and calm herself. Then, continue the conversation.

She will probably ask what you plan to do, or she may give you her opinion on what she wants you to do. Think about how you want to respond to both of those situations, so you will be prepared. You can probably guess some of the other questions she will ask, too. They likely won’t make for a fun conversation, but spending some time thinking about what she might ask, and what your answer will be, will help you feel more prepared.

Make an appointment to visit Avail. We are here to help you in a non-judgmental environment that is focused on providing the support and information you need. All services are free of charge to our clients.

Make an Appointment

 

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

How to Tell My Boyfriend I’m Pregnant

How to Tell My Boyfriend I’m Pregnant

With the popularity of sharing pregnancy announcements on social media, it’s easy to stumble across one of the thousands of videos, photos, or written testimonials from women whose partners were ecstatic to find out they were expecting. However, not all pregnancy announcements are planned. If you are worried about the future or don’t think your partner will be supportive, you may feel that you have no options. Learn more about how to approach your partner with confidence.

Have a Plan

Blurting out “I’m pregnant” may not always be an ideal way to break this news, especially if you are not sure how the person you are speaking to will react. Spend some time thinking of the best opportunity to bring this news up.

This conversation should occur at a time when both you and your partner are relaxed and don’t have any immediate demands on your time or attention. Bringing it up as one or both of you are about to head out the door in the morning, while your partner is working on a project, or just before you fall asleep at night usually isn’t conducive to a calm, rational discussion.

Once you have made a plan for announcing the news, it can be a good idea to have a backup plan just in case the first falls through. Although you have some time to think through your unplanned pregnancy options, you don’t want to wait too long to have this conversation with your partner.

Investigate Your Options

If your partner is open and supportive of your news, this can be a tremendous source of emotional support for you. But if you are not sure how your partner will react, it can be helpful to arm yourself with information before you broach the topic.

For example, you may want to have a laboratory-quality hCG pregnancy test and an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy and its viability. And if you are not sure you want to raise a child, talking with someone about all of your options could give you more security and confidence when speaking with your partner.

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can be stressful and scary, especially if you don’t have a strong support network of friends, family members, and other loved ones. At Avail NYC, we are here for YOU. Talk to a client advocate to learn more about your options and learn how to make a confident decision for your future. We offer free self-administered pregnancy test kits and free ultrasound referrals through a third-party medical facility, while connecting you with a wide range of services to assist with all aspects of pregnancy and parenthood. Contact us today.

Make an Appointment

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider

What Are Healthy Relationships Based On?

What Are Healthy Relationships Based On?

Whether you’re single, exploring the dating field, or in a long-term, committed partnership, the relationships you maintain in your life are very important. A strong, healthy relationship can foster personal growth and development, helping you to become the best version of yourself through a focus on equality and respect.

Learn More About Avail NYC

However, not all relationships are positive. Some interactions are driven by control and possession rather than love and trust, compromising your own well-being in favor of another’s self-interest. These kinds of relationships can be damaging and dangerous, especially when major life events, like an unexpected pregnancy, arise.

These tenets are key parts of maintaining strong, stable relationships – platonic, romantic, and otherwise.

Mutual Respect

Without respect, any relationship will falter. A partner who respects you will value you for who you are, including your interests, ideas, beliefs, and morals. Your partner should never ask you to change your identity, compromise on your ethics, or put you down for your personal qualities.

Trust and Honesty

A relationship without trust isn’t a relationship at all. You and your partner should be able to talk openly and honestly about any topic with an assumption of truthfulness. There is no room for paranoia, distrust, lying, or suspicion in a healthy partnership.

Support

A good partner supports you in all that you do, from seeking a new job to pursuing higher education. While some events may require compromise and discussion, you should never be put down or insulted when working through issues with your partner.

Fairness and Equality

In a healthy relationship, no one person is better or more worthy than another. You and your partner should share tasks, chores, and benefits equally to ensure a just and balanced experience in both good times and bad. A relationship where one person handles all of the emotional, physical, and financial labor isn’t fair at all.

Separate Identities

A relationship is a union between two people – two unique, independent people. Part of succeeding in a relationship means maintaining the qualities that define you, from friend groups to hobbies. Attempting to control another’s passions and pastimes is not healthy.

Good Communication

Communication is a true necessity in a successful relationship. Partners should be able to speak openly about any topic and receive positive, helpful responses that do not attack, abuse, or tear down. Effective communication can take many forms, from face-to-face chats to text messages, but channels should remain open and judgment-free at all times.

A Sense of Playfulness

Different relationships have different vibes, from serious to silly, but a sense of playfulness and adventure can keep the love alive. You should be able to have fun with your partner, from taking trips to enjoying favorite shows and movies. Playfulness might look different for each couple, but it is a worthwhile pursuit.

A strong relationship is a big part of successfully coping with an unplanned pregnancy. If you are seeking a caring, compassionate resource during an unexpected time, Avail NYC is here to make a difference. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Contact Us

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider. 

Healthy Relationships Set Boundaries

Healthy Relationships Set Boundaries

It can be tough to set boundaries with those you love, especially if you were raised in an environment where your parents, teachers, or other trusted adults didn’t always exercise good judgment in setting their own boundaries.

Setting and enforcing your limits can be the key to generating healthy relationships, and in many cases can even prevent you from becoming entangled in an emotionally abusive relationship. Read on to learn more about how setting social, emotional, and physical boundaries can improve the quality of your personal relationships.

Social Boundaries

In today’s tech-heavy world, “social boundaries” has, in many ways, come to mean “social media boundaries.” While social media can allow you to connect and chat with friends and loved ones across the globe, it can have a destructive side as well.

You may want to devote some introspection to how much of your life (and emotions) you would like to publish online. Making your life an open book can provide you with regular support and feedback from your followers, but can also put your choices up for public scrutiny and comment. If you find yourself unable to make even a simple decision (like what to have for dinner) without consulting your followers, it may be time to step back from social media for a while and renew your confidence in your own decision-making abilities.

It’s also a good idea to periodically review your social media privacy settings and your list of friends or followers to ensure that any updates you do post are going to a group who will support you, not tear you down or gossip behind your back.

Emotional Boundaries

Alone time is important — even for extroverts who gain emotional energy from being in the company of others. You shouldn’t feel pressured into spending all your time with someone, whether they are a romantic partner, friend, or specific family member.

Setting emotional boundaries might also mean committing yourself to some uncomfortable conversations. Confronting someone who has hurt you can be awkward, and it may be tempting to just let an unpleasant incident slide to avoid the prospect of further drama. But allowing these violations to go unchecked can make it easier for them to recur.

Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries can be among the toughest boundaries to set. Social pressures and childhood conditioning have led many adults to doubt their own wishes and desires.

Reclaiming these boundaries as an adult can be one of the best things you can do for your mental health. You do not have to engage in any undesired physical affection or contact if you don’t want to, inside or outside of a relationship. By that same token, it’s important to respect others’ physical boundaries by maintaining open communication.

If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, contact Avail NYC today to receive a free self-administered pregnancy test, or to talk to one of our volunteer client advocates today in a supportive and confidential environment.

Contact Us

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider. 

What Is A Healthy Support System?

What Is A Healthy Support System?

Even the most independent people benefit from human interaction, and having a support system to encourage and guide you through emotionally-tough times can be crucial to your mental health. However, cultivating this support system doesn’t happen on its own, and if you aren’t sure what to look for, you may struggle to seek help when life challenges arise. Read on to learn more about some of the defining traits of a healthy support system.

What Can Support Systems Look Like?

Support systems can take a number of forms and may include family members, friends, physicians, therapists, or counselors. Support systems can also include strangers or acquaintances you meet through church, a support group, an online community, or in just about any other context that provides you with encouragement and accountability. Don’t feel as though your support system is limited to those who are close to you; seeking out support from those outside your inner circle often provides a different, and helpful, perspective on whatever challenges you’re facing.

What Traits Define Healthy Support Systems?

Not all support systems are necessarily the healthiest for those they support, so knowing the foundation of a good support system can be a useful first step in determining how you can improve or boost your own.

Some traits that accompany a healthy support system include accountability, fellowship, the sharing of common experiences, and a sense of purpose.

Having a support system provides a level of accountability to help you achieve your goals or triumph over adversity. Whether someone is attempting to kick an addiction, lose weight, finish a college degree, or just push forward through a particularly difficult phase of life, a healthy support system won’t allow you to give up, and won’t encourage unhealthy or self-harming behaviors. Furthermore, a support system that provides regular accountability checks can operate as a constant cheering section.

Fellowship, or the sharing of common experiences, is also important. This is why support groups tend to be so helpful for those dealing with an addiction or psychological issue. Simply sharing stories and hearing others’ experiences can be cathartic and will bring you closer to others in your group.

Counseling and therapy can always be a valuable component of a support system. While friends and family may be well-meaning, they might not always have the emotional tools you need to help guide you through tough times, and working with a talk therapist or cognitive behavioral therapist can give you an unconditional level of support.

Finally, your support system should imbue you with a sense of purpose.

How Can You Improve Your Own Support System?

If you’re struggling to define your own support system and are facing a potentially life-changing issue like an unplanned pregnancy, Avail NYC can help. Our compassionate advocates will work with you to explore your options in a peaceful, non-judgmental environment, and can offer everything from free self-administered pregnancy tests to pregnancy and after-abortion support.

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider. 

4 Ways to Improve Communication In Your Relationship

4 Ways to Improve Communication In Your Relationship

Even the best relationships can hit occasional rough patches due to prolonged stress, depression, or just the pressures of everyday life. For those who may not have always had the healthiest relationship models during their formative years, fostering a sense of open, healthy communication might not come naturally.

Fortunately, implementing a few tried-and-true methods can help you when it comes to tackling difficult conversations or just avoiding a blow-up that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Read on for several communication techniques that can help you improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of your relationship.

Separate Reactions From Responses

During stressful times, it can be easy to project your frustrations from other situations onto a matter at hand, hurting your partner’s feelings in the process. By taking a deep breath before responding to a question or statement that has upset you and asking yourself whether you’re preparing to react (without thinking) or respond (to the question asked or statement made), you’ll be able to avoid knee-jerk reactions you may regret later.

Make a Request Instead Of a Complaint

The analogy of a nagging wife and her oblivious husband has been thoroughly exploited in pop culture for centuries. While stereotypical and occasionally even offensive, at the core lies one nugget of truth—a series of complaints without any corresponding request for action (or, better yet, a solution). The result? A complaint that likely falls on deaf ears.

Regardless of the gender dynamics at issue, if you’re planning to make a complaint about your partner’s behavior or actions, it’s best to include either a specific request or a proposed solution. The difference in reaction between “you can’t ever manage to put your clothes in the hamper!” and “could you please put your clothes in the hamper?” can often be a substantial one.

Take Time-Outs When Needed

Important conversations can be tense and involve a varying range of emotions. If you or your partner needs to pause the conversation to provide some breathing room or space to think before responding, it’s important for this need to be respected. Pressing someone to continue a conversation when they need some time can lead to strife and statements that may later be regretted.

On the other side of this coin, it’s respectful to get back to this conversation within a reasonable time frame. Using timeout as an excuse to push off difficult conversations or avoid making an important decision can be a breach of your partner’s trust.

Invest Time In Your Relationship

Even if you and your partner are unable to spend much time together on a daily basis due to work or school, it’s important to carve out at least a few minutes every day to focus on communicating (or just spending time) with each other. This means putting away phones, laptops, and other distractions and turning your entire focus to your partner, and expecting the same respect and attention in return.

At Avail NYC, we support healthy relationships. Learn more about the free services we offer, including support for New Yorkers facing an unexpected pregnancy or those seeking emotional support after an abortion. 

About Avail