It’s that time again… another academic year is underway. Perhaps this back-to-school season feels especially thrilling because, this August or September, you’re going to college! Maybe you feel like it’s finally your turn to take that exciting next step in your education and life. No matter your background or what goals you’re pursuing, chances are, this new chapter seems to hold the promise of a fresh start. But what if you’ve recently discovered that you’re unexpectedly pregnant? Does it feel like a bomb has exploded in the middle of your best-laid plans? There may be some tough decisions and stressful days ahead. Thankfully, you don’t have to handle any of them on your own.
Avenue Women’s Center is here for you through this challenging season. We’re a first-step pregnancy clinic providing free pregnancy support to women from our own Chicagoland community and beyond, through in-person and virtual consultations. In addition to presenting accurate information about pregnancy options and resources, we offer services like no-cost pregnancy tests and limited medical ultrasounds.
Call, text, chat, or email to connect with an expert staff member and schedule a visit!
A Formative Season of Life
Whether you’re heading to college for the first time or transferring to a different school, your plans matter a lot. What are your most important aspirations for this season of your life? To reach greater independence? To achieve success in academics, sports, or another skill? To meet people and discover exciting new social opportunities? These are all normal and admirable goals for someone who’s beginning her college experience. It may feel like you’re setting a trajectory for the rest of your life through the priorities you’re setting, the occupations you’re choosing, and the people you’re spending time with. College is about uncovering new opportunities and developing greater independence. Needless to say, an unexpected pregnancy can create additional challenges and complexities during a season that’s already full of transitions.
Learning Where You Stand
When faced with overwhelming changes and upcoming decisions, it can be really helpful to pause and gather the facts to identify where you stand. You may be wrestling with many unanswered questions. Chances are, you have some time to process your own best answers and take the steps that are healthy for you- even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. In the meantime, reliable information is available to clarify your path forward. Here are some methods you can use to gain insight during an unexpected pregnancy:
Learn about your pregnancy.
Begin by confirming the pregnancy with a highly accurate pregnancy test, like the ones we offer at Avenue. Once the pregnancy has reached a certain gestational age, a scan can provide information that may be highly relevant to your decision-making process while all your pregnancy options are still on the table. This information may include: 1) how far along you are (which will influence which option(s) you’re eligible for), 2) your chances of miscarriage, and 3) the location of the pregnancy (a pregnancy located outside of the uterus would pose a danger to you). Avenue provides limited medical ultrasounds to identify these three factors at no cost.
Learn about your options.
Any person facing an unexpected pregnancy has three options available to her: abortion, adoption, and parenting. Every option comes with its own set of potential challenges, risks, and benefits. Weigh these factors and understand the processes involved with each to see your pregnancy decision with a well-informed, big-picture perspective. Avenue can offer accurate information on all your options.
Learn about your available resources.
You may be eligible for community resources to assist with healthcare, housing, material items, and other possible needs. Accessing practical resources may empower you to consider a pregnancy decision you feel drawn to, but don’t currently feel equipped to pursue. No matter which way you’re leaning or where your path leads regarding this pregnancy, practical resources are there for your benefit. Our expert staff at Avenue can help you get connected with them.
Knowing Who’s in Your Corner
When it comes to navigating an unexpected pregnancy, having a healthy support network can make all the difference in the world. Consider confiding in a trusted family member, mentor, faith leader, mental health counselor, or pregnancy consultant if you haven’t already. If you decide to pursue your college education at a school that receives Federal funding while pregnant or parenting, know that you have rights under Title IX! This law protects students from discrimination on the basis of sex in a school environment (U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR)).
Check out some of our other blogs on this subject of coping with an unexpected pregnancy during college or right before your college experience begins.
If this blog has been relevant to your situation, you may feel a sense of urgency to make your pregnancy decision quickly, maybe even before the new semester begins. Remember that any and every pregnancy decision matters a lot. So, it’s important to take this process one careful step at a time and ultimately reach an outcome you feel confident in. Talk with the Title IX Coordinator at your school if you think you may need some accommodations to embrace your best pregnancy outcome while pursuing your education.
Reach out to learn more about Avenue Women’s Center and schedule a confidential appointment! Our caring consultants are here to support you every step of the way.
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR). (2020, January). Know Your Rights: Pregnant or Parenting? Title IX Protects You From Discrimination At School. Retrieved from: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-know-rights-201306-title-ix.html
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.