birth mother adoption

What to Expect After Going Through Adoption

Finding out you are pregnant when you were not planning to start a family can be overwhelming. Some women know from the moment they see the positive pregnancy test that they are not at a place in their lives where they can raise a child. Others may not be sure how they want to move forward and spend time exploring their options.

Women who decide not to keep their babies – but who are not interested in having an abortion – may choose to place their baby for adoption. Healthy women who can carry their babies to term find adoption a reasonable alternative to abortion. There are four different types of adoption plans available to birth mothers and their partners. The one you choose determines how involved you will be in your baby’s life after the adoption process is complete.

Adoption agencies guide birth mothers on the journey, making sure they have what they need to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and a positive birth experience. What happens to the birth mother after the baby is born and placed with his or her new family? Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque can provide expectant mothers with the assistance they need before, during, and after the baby’s birth and placement. Here is what you can expect once your baby is with his or her adoptive family.

Feelings of grief, guilt, and loss

Even if you opt for open adoption and have some involvement in your baby’s life, birth mothers can still go through periods where they feel profound grief and loss. An adoption is a life-changing event for the child and the birth parents. Birth mothers, especially, may find themselves going through what is known as the five stages of grief. The term was made famous by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Birth mothers may go through some or all these stages. Birth mothers who are unsure whether they can completely cut ties with their children should opt for open adoption. Care Net’s staff can put birth mothers in touch with adoption agencies that offer this option.

Another common feeling after an adoption is guilt. It is human nature to second-guess our decisions in life. Placing a child for adoption is one of the most difficult decisions a woman and her partner will ever make. Feeling guilty afterward is normal, especially for women who may be relieved by their choice not to raise their children.

Difficulty forming relationships

Persistent feelings of grief, guilt, and loss can make it difficult for birth mothers to form meaningful relationships after placing their children for adoption. If shame is part of the equation after an adoption, birth mothers may feel like they can never be open and honest with new people in their lives without the fear of judgment for their decision. Choosing adoption is one of the most loving things birth mothers can do for their babies. Birth mothers who struggle with this – and with forming new relationships because of it – can find solace in sharing their stories with other women in the same position. Care Net’s staff can put birth mothers in touch with group counseling options that allow them to explore their feelings with other women going through the same experience.

Dealing with inappropriate questions

Some people have no filters when it comes to the questions they blurt out. Even some otherwise well-meaning people can say the most insensitive things to birth mothers who have chosen adoption for their babies. As a rule, you should never ask someone questions about something as personal as adoption. If they are comfortable sharing their experiences and feelings with you, then they will do so voluntarily. Birth mothers who encounter individuals who lob inappropriate and insensitive comments or questions at them can tell the person calmly and politely they are not comfortable discussing the matter. If people persist in their rudeness, birth mothers are under no obligation to continue the conversation and should remove themselves from the situation.

Counseling – especially group counseling with other birth mothers who placed their children for adoption – can be helpful in learning tips and techniques for dealing with intrusive people. Our staff can put birth mothers in touch with a support advocate as part of our post-adoption education services who can review group counseling options.

Care Net helps struggling birth mothers

The nurturing staff at Care Net helps struggling birth mothers through the adoption process. We are here for you every step of the way. Our judgment-free zone is designed to help birth mothers make the best choice for their pregnancy. Contact us today to schedule your free appointment.

surprise pregnancy

Surprise Pregnancy? Do These 5 Things Now

A surprise pregnancy can leave you feeling anxious and unsure of what to do next. You may feel like you failed somehow and panic about the next steps you must take to respond. You are not alone. Finding out you are pregnant is a shock for nearly half of all women in the U.S. each year. The latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that millions of women – married, unmarried, young, and old – deal with unexpected pregnancies.

Once you get past the initial shock, there are five things you can do to begin addressing your situation.

1 – Verify the surprise pregnancy

This may seem like common sense, but sometimes you get so caught up in the moment you forget that home pregnancy tests can produce false positives. Home pregnancy tests measure the level of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. hCG is known as the “pregnancy hormone” because women only produce it in their bodies during pregnancy. The reason some over-the-counter pregnancy tests produce false positives has to do with the quality of the test. Hospital-grade pregnancy tests also measure hCG but can detect the hormone much earlier than OTC tests. Even hospital-grade pregnancy tests require further validation. At Care Net Pregnancy Centers, we confirm all positive pregnancy tests with a free limited pregnancy ultrasound. We can perform an ultrasound six weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period.

2 – Get screened for STDs

One of the steps we recommend following positive confirmation of your pregnancy is STD/STI testing. STDs and STIs pose serious health risks for expectant mothers and can be harmful to your baby’s development. Moms can transmit certain infections to their babies in utero, while others may pass to the baby during vaginal delivery. STDs can affect the development of the baby’s eyes, lungs, and liver. Some of the damage is irreversible. Many STDs are curable with proper treatment. Doctors also can help prevent the spread of non-curable STDs/STIs from mother to baby during delivery when they know about the need early in the pregnancy. Care Net Pregnancy Centers provide free STD/STI testing. Our staff will recommend scheduling the testing if you come to us to confirm your pregnancy.

3 – Consider your options

After you verify your pregnancy, it is time to consider your options. Since your pregnancy was a surprise, you may not be in a place in your life where you can raise a baby. Having children is a huge responsibility, so it is OK if you are not prepared to accept the challenge right now. While some women may opt for an abortion, others do not wish to end their pregnancies. Adoption is a viable alternative. Whatever decision you make about your pregnancy, the staff at Care Net Pregnancy Centers is here for you. We provide pregnancy help to navigate through these uncertain times. Our team ensures you have access to the most accurate and medically sound information to help make your choice. We provide a judgment-free zone for you and your partner. Best of all, our services are free and confidential.

4 – Embrace your feelings

There is no right or wrong way to feel when facing an unexpected pregnancy. It is perfectly acceptable to be angry, depressed, frustrated or overwhelmed. Even if you were not anticipating becoming a parent, maybe you are excited at the prospect and willing to embrace your pregnancy with open arms. Mixed feelings also are normal. You may be thrilled about becoming a mother but also scared to death at the same time. If you are struggling with your emotions and need help sorting through them, do not be afraid to reach out. Care Net Pregnancy Centers can hook you and your partner up with the resources you need to help manage your feelings.

5 – Schedule prenatal care

If you decide to keep your baby or choose to place him or her for adoption, one of the next things you should do is schedule an appointment with an obstetrician to have a wellness check. Expectant mothers have specific nutritional needs and will need an exam to check their overall health and that of the baby. If you work with an adoption agency to place your baby with a loving family, the agency may assist with finding you an OB and paying for all necessary medical care leading up to and including the birth. If you are keeping your baby to raise yourself and need help finding an OB for your ongoing prenatal care needs, Care Net Pregnancy Centers can help. Our community referrals program helps expectant mothers and their partners find everything they need to have a happy and healthy pregnancy, including:

  • Affordable housing
  • Medical assistance
  • Medical services
  • Support groups

Care Net helps you handle surprise pregnancies

Surprise pregnancies do not have to send your life into a downward spiral. Our pregnancy help center is here to walk you through your pregnancy options. We provide accurate information, free pregnancy and STD testing, and connect you with a multitude of resources once you decide how best to handle your pregnancy. Contact us today to schedule a consult.

newborn sleeping

Baby Essentials 101: What Baby Needs at Home

Bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital is exciting and scary all at the same time. Next to discovering you were pregnant, safely transporting your little one from the hospital to his or her new home is a major life event. New parents have a lot of anxiety about bringing their babies home for the first time. Many “what ifs” go through their minds as they worry whether they are prepared to care for this fragile human being without the 24-hour-assistance they received from nurses and doctors at the hospital. Getting your baby home from the hospital is not as scary as you may think with a little advanced planning and the right equipment for the job. Here are some of the baby essentials you will need.

Baby essential #1: A Welcome Home Outfit

Choosing the outfit your little one will wear home for this momentous occasion is one of the least stressful parts of planning. Sometimes new moms pack the outfit long before the baby arrives, placing it in an overnight bag next to her own clothes for the hospital. Others wait and have their partners or family members choose an outfit and bring it to the hospital later. Whichever you choose, it is important to not overdress the baby for the trip home.

A good rule to follow is to dress your baby as you would dress yourself. For instance, if you bring your little one home on a hot summer day, putting a knitted cap on his or her head will likely cause discomfort. In warm weather, a onesie and light cotton pants are appropriate. If you bring your baby home during colder months, dress him or her in footie pajamas and a hat, and cover with a warm blanket.

Baby essential #2: A Proper Child Safety Seat

Even more important than an appropriate outfit for your little one is a proper child safety seat. It is never safe to transport your baby in a vehicle without a car seat. New Mexico law requires all children up to age 7 ride in a child safety seat. For newborns, you must use an infant-only seat that is rear-facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants and toddlers ride rear-facing until age 2. Never place an infant car seat in the front seat of your vehicle, even when rear-facing. Most vehicles have passenger-side airbags that can seriously injury your baby during a crash.

Parents who need assistance purchasing a car seat have options. If you are enrolled in a government program like Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, or WIC, you are eligible to receive a free car seat. You also can reach out to the New Mexico Child Safety Seat Distribution Program for help with a car seat. The program not only provides free car seats to families but also teaches them how to safely install them in vehicles.

Baby essential #3: An appropriate baby bed

One of the safest places for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in bed with you. Co-sleeping is dangerous for newborns. Tired parents easily can roll over onto their babies and suffocate them. Whether you choose a crib or a bassinet, make sure it includes a soft mattress and is free from bedding and toys that can cause suffocation. If you buy a used crib or bassinet, check to ensure it was not recalled for safety or other issues.

Baby essential #4: Diapers and diapering supplies

Newborns basically have three jobs: eat, sleep, and poop. New parents can find themselves going through a lot of diapers, wipes, and other diapering supplies during the first months of their babies’ lives. Since your newborn baby’s weight can fluctuate from one day to the next, you may want to keep newborn and size-one disposable diapers on hand. Other diapering necessities include diaper wipes and baby ointment or cream to prevent diaper rash. Some parents also prefer cornstarch powder, but it is optional.  

Baby essential #5: Clothing and blankets

Babies go through a lot of clothes because they spit up and have diaper blowouts regularly. Make sure you have several outfits, bibs, and blankets on hand to quickly change out when these accidents happen. Some other recommendations include:

  • Nightgowns for use until the umbilical cord falls off to prevent rubbing.
  • Short- and long-sleeved onesies.
  • One-piece sleepers with zippers.
  • Scratch mittens to keep baby from scratching his or her face.
  • Receiving blankets.

Baby essential #6: Bathing supplies

Baby bathtubs are not necessary for giving baby a bath, but most parents find them convenient. You also should have baby washcloths, hooded towels, and baby-safe cleansing products. Baby shampoo and lotion are gentle enough to get baby clean while protecting his or her delicate skin.

Baby essential #7: Medical care products

It is scary to think you may need medical care products for your little one, but parents must be prepared just in case. Here are the things you should include in your infant medical care product kit:

  • Baby scissors or nail clippers for trimming nails.
  • Bulb syringe to suction mucous out from the nose if baby becomes congested.
  • Eyedropper or syringe for administering medication like anti-gas drops or acetaminophen.
  • Thermometer for checking temperature.

Enjoying your new baby

Bringing your baby home from the hospital should be a memorable occasion. When you plan for that special day by including these seven baby essentials, you will have everything you need to keep baby comfortable, happy, and safe.

Need help finding resources for your new parenting adventure? Care Net Pregnancy Center can help. Contact us today to speak with a caring member of our staff who is happy to assist.

STD talk

Talking to Your Partner About STDs

It can be awkward to talk to your partner about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs). There is no reason for embarrassment. If you are comfortable having sexual relations with a person, then you must be mature enough to discuss the difficult things that come along with being in a sexual relationship with someone. Candidly discussing your STD/STI status and insisting on testing is one of the smartest ways you can protect yourself and your partner.

Women who are thinking of becoming pregnant – or who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy – should get tested immediately. Certain STDs and STIs can cause birth defects or pass to the baby in utero or during vaginal birth. Knowing your status before pregnancy and delivery can help protect the baby.

Here are some practical tips on how to talk to your partner about STDs and STIs.

Know the facts

Before you can educate your partner on the importance of knowing your STD/STI status, you must understand the facts yourself. Spend some time researching the most common sexually transmitted diseases and infections and the negative consequences of contracting them. Make sure you investigate the best ways to prevent STDs/STIs. Not all birth control products, like condoms, prevent all sexually transmitted diseases.

Make sure you are using reliable sources for your information. Google is a great resource, but it does not guarantee all search results are from legitimate sources. One of the best places to find accurate information about STDs and STIs is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. You also can find reliable data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Plan what to say

Once you have all your facts, plan how you want to talk with your partner. It may seem silly to write a speech and practice giving it. Difficult conversations require planning and preparation. Talking about STDs and STIs is one of the most important conversations you will ever have with your partner. You do not have to script your talk word-for-word. Write down a few key points about supporting information if your partner has questions. Having a list of nearby places to get tested should be a part of the discussion. Care Net offers free STD/STI screening at select locations.

Schedule the talk

Pick a time that works for you and your partner. Then, pick a quiet place where you are not likely to be disturbed while you talk. Ideally, you should have this conversation before you become sexually active with a new partner. If you already are sexually active, you may wish to refrain from any further relations until you can get tested.

Using “I” statements is one of the most effective ways to have a difficult conversation. It helps prevent the other person from feeling personally attacked. For instance, you could start the talk by saying “I want to relax and enjoy sex, but I won’t be able to do that until I know we are protected from STDs.”

Be a good listener

Good communication involves both listening and talking. Once you have presented your concerns and all supporting facts to your partner, take time to listen to what he or she has to say. If your partner has more questions that you cannot answer, that is the perfect time to pull out that list of resources you compiled. Offer to visit a clinic that offers free STD testing and consultations so that all your questions can be answered by knowledgeable professionals. If your partner refuses to discuss his or her STD/STI status and is not open to getting tested or using protection, you must make the difficult decision of whether you wish to be sexually involved with them.

Schedule the testing

If your partner agrees to get tested, the next step is to find a clinic that offers free STD/STI testing and schedule your visit. You can agree to go together or separately, whichever you and your partner feel most comfortable doing. Care Net offers free testing services. Contact us to schedule your appointment today. Following initial testing, you will require a second appointment 2 to 7 days later to discuss test results. If you or your partner test positive, we can refer you to a treatment center.

choosing baby adoption

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing Adoption

Choosing to place your baby for adoption is a difficult decision. Women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy may consider adoption as an alternative to having an abortion. Opting to carry your baby to term and place them with a loving family is the ultimate act of love for a child. Care Net Albuquerque recognizes that even if you select adoption, you likely have many questions that need answering before you commit to your decision. We are here to help you with the adoption journey, helping to answer those questions and recommending resources that can guide you through the process. Here are the top five questions many women have about adoption for their baby.

Question #1: How else can you say, “give up for adoption?”

The phrase, “give up for adoption” is a common one when describing the adoption process. Just because the phrasing is familiar does not mean it is the language you prefer to use when talking about your choice. Placing your child for adoption is not about giving him or her “up.” It is one of the toughest decisions a birth mother can make. When you know that you are not equipped to raise a child for any reason, and abortion is not an option you wish to pursue, adoption is a proactive, courageous, and loving fallback.

So, what do you say in place of “giving up for adoption?” Some replacement suggestions include:

  • “I am choosing adoption for my child.”
  • “I am creating an adoption plan.”
  • “I am placing my baby for adoption.”

Question #2: How do you start the adoption process?

Once you have decided that adoption is the best option for your pregnancy, understanding the adoption process is key to finding the best family for your baby. Care Net’s team can help you with the basics of adoption, including walking you through the steps involved. Here is an overview of what you can expect.

  • Choosing an adoption agency. This is arguably the most difficult part of adoption after deciding to place your baby. While Care Net is not an adoption agency, we can make recommendations for reputable organizations that can guide you through the rest of the process.
  • Picking an adoptive family. Whether you opt for open adoption or closed adoption, birth mothers can choose the family who will adopt their baby. This can make your decision easier since you have the final say in who will raise your baby.
  • Completing the adoption. Every adoption plan should include instructions for the baby’s delivery. Once your baby is born, you will be asked to complete the adoption paperwork that grants the adoptive family custody of the baby.

This is only an overview of the adoption process. Adoption specialists, sometimes called adoption social workers, with the adoption agency can answer any other questions you have before you make your decision.

Question #3: How much does it cost to choose adoption?

Placing your baby with an adoptive family is one of the most difficult decisions a birth mother can make. It is an emotional time for everyone involved. Since the financial costs of pregnancy and child-rearing often are a motivating factor in choosing adoption, the adoption process always is free for the prospective birth mother. Depending on the adoption agency you choose, birth mothers may be eligible for adoption financial assistance to help with expenses like food, rent, and prenatal care for you and the baby. Adoption specialists will ensure your adoption journey is as stress-free as possible.

Question #4: Will you get to see your baby after adoption?

Whether you continue to have a role in your baby’s life after the adoption depends on the type of adoption you choose. Birth mothers who wish to maintain a relationship with their children should choose open adoption. Open adoption allows birth mothers and adoptive families to have ongoing contact that can include phone calls and even visitation. Open adoptions are recommended as the best option for children for many reasons. Semi-open adoptions provide the birth mother with the opportunity to meet the adoptive parents. Ongoing communication after that is not as common as it is with open adoption. If you choose a semi-closed or closed adoption, there is no contact with the adoptive family.

Question #5: Who can help you place your baby for adoption?

Adoption is a life-changing journey for birth mothers. There are caring professionals in place who can guide you through the process and ensure you have the support you need. Choosing an adoption agency that aligns with your beliefs always is a vital resource for your adoption experience. Reputable adoption agencies assign birth mothers adoption specialists who can answer all their questions and provide support resources.

Get free help from caring professionals

Need help getting started? Not sure you want to place your baby for adoption? Care Net can help. You do not have to go through the process alone. Our caring team members are here to help you through every step of your journey. Call any of our center locations to schedule an appointment with us.

STD birth defects baby

STDs and Birth Defects: Protect Your Baby

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause birth defects and other problems for a developing baby. It is very important that women – and their partners – get tested for the most common STDs/STIs once they confirm their pregnancy. When left untreated, STDs and STIs can pass from the mother to her baby, causing serious problems. Birth defects like blindness, deafness, and bone deformities are just some of the ways sexually transmitted diseases and infections harm your baby’s development. If you suspect or know you are pregnant, ask your care provider to test you. Some STDs and STIs have silent symptoms, meaning you never know you have them until it is too late.

Can STDs hurt my baby’s development?

Prenatal care always should include STD testing. STDs and STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis can pass to your baby during pregnancy or delivery. Your baby can experience short or long-term health problems once infected. Some of the most common problems include:

  • Blindness
  • Blood infections
  • Brain damage
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Deafness

Babies who are infected with an STD or STI while in the womb also are at higher risk for premature birth and stillbirth. It is not just the baby who is affected by STDs and STIs. Mothers can experience higher rates of miscarriage if their infection is left undetected and untreated. Birth mothers also may suffer from other health complications. Getting tested for STDs is the best way you can help protect yourself and your baby while he or she is developing in your womb.

STD birth defects baby

Which STDs cause the most harm to my baby?

Women are more likely than men to experience long-term health consequences after contracting an STD. Damage to the reproductive system is just one of them. Passing that infection along to your baby can have even more dire outcomes. Let’s look at the six most common STDs and explore the complications they can bring to your pregnancy.

  • Chlamydia is linked to pre-term labor and low birth weight. You can pass it to your baby during vaginal delivery. When detected early, it can be treated with an antibiotic, and measures can be taken to protect your baby during delivery.
  • Gonorrhea, when left untreated,can cause premature birth and low birth weight. It can be passed to your baby during vaginal delivery. Doctors can take precautions during delivery to help reduce the spread of transmission.
  • Hepatitis B causes the greatest risk to your baby if it is contracted shortly before delivery. Transmission to your baby during a vaginal delivery is preventable if infants are treated immediately after birth.
  • Hepatitis C can cause low birth weight and increase the risk of premature birth. Babies also can develop a type of liver infection when exposed in the womb.
  • HIV can pass from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy, labor, and vaginal delivery. Breast-feeding also is a risk for babies when the mother has HIV. When detected early, steps can be taken to help reduce transmission.
  • Syphilis is linked to premature birth, stillbirth, and in some rare cases, death after birth. Untreated babies have a high risk for complications involving several organs.

How are STDs treated during pregnancy?

Some STDs, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can be treated and cured during pregnancy with antibiotics. STIs caused by viruses, like hepatitis B and C and HIV, have no cure and can only be monitored with the hope of reducing transmission during pregnancy and birth. For instance, antiviral medications are approved for use in pregnant women with HIV to help reduce the chance of transmitting the infection to their babies.

If you test positive for an STD or an STI, you will require close monitoring by your healthcare provider during treatment to ensure your safety and that of your baby.

Preventing STDs and STIs

The only 100 percent effective way to prevent an STD or an STI is to abstain from sex. If you are in a committed relationship with a monogamous partner, you can both get tested to ensure you are safe. Avoid sexual activity until you have confirmation you are disease-free, especially if you are planning to become pregnant. Using condoms can help reduce the transmission of some STDs and STIs, but not all.

Where to get tested

Care Net Albuquerque offers free STD/STI testing for women and their partners at four locations. Contact us to schedule your appointment at the location that is most convenient for you. You will require a follow-up appointment 2 to 7 days after your testing to discuss the results. If your results are positive, our team will refer you and your partner to a treatment center. If you are pregnant and test positive, you must share those results with your obstetrician so they can take preventative measures to reduce transmission to your baby and treat you for the STD/STI if treatment is available.

pregnancy myths

Top 5 Myths About Getting Pregnant

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about getting pregnant floating around out there. Following what you think is solid advice about preventing pregnancy can lead to quite the shock when you find out you are expecting. You are not alone if you share in these misunderstandings. Forty-five out of every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in the U.S. experience unintended pregnancies.

Not sure what is fact or fiction when it comes to safe sex practices? We break down the top 5 myths about getting pregnant to help you avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

Myth #1 – You Cannot Get Pregnant While Menstruating

This is probably the most common falsehood about getting pregnant. Many women and their partners are under the impression they can have unprotected sex during their period without any risk of becoming pregnant. While the probability is low, it is not zero. If it is the first or second day of your period, the likelihood you will get pregnant is low. The danger increases starting with day 3 through the end of your menstrual cycle. That is because sperm can survive for up to 5 days in the uterus, even if the woman is menstruating.

Aside from the risk of pregnancy, you also are making it more likely you will contract a sexually transmitted disease or infection if you have unprotected sex during your period. It is best to always use protection when you are intimate with your partner.

Myth #2 – Certain Positions Prevent Conception

Some people believe if they position themselves a certain way after sex it makes it impossible to get pregnant. Despite what you may have heard, standing up during intercourse will not keep sperm from finding its way to an egg and fertilizing it. That is not how gravity works. It is easy to understand why some people wish this misconception was true. It gives them a free pass to be intimate with their partners without taking precautions to prevent pregnancy or STDs/STIs.

Myth #3 – You Cannot Get Pregnant the “First Time”

Believing that you cannot get pregnant if it is your first time having sexual intercourse is a costly mistake. If you are a woman of fertile age, all it takes is having sex one time, and you can become pregnant. You must use contraception every time you are intimate with your partner unless you are OK with potentially becoming pregnant.

pregnancy myth condom

Myth #4 – Birth Control Always Prevents Pregnancy

Again, this is another popular myth. This does not mean you should never use contraception. Quite the opposite. When used properly, condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Condoms also prevent STDs and STIs. Another popular form of contraception is the birth control pill. It is 99 percent effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy when taken as directed. Where some women get into trouble with the pill is they forget to take it at the same time every day or may even forget to take it for days at a time. When this happens, you increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Even if you rely on other birth control methods, use a condom every time to help protect against diseases and infections.

Myth #5 – The Morning-After Pill is Safe for Everyone

If you have had unprotected sex, or your birth control method fails, Plan B, also known as the “morning-after pill,” is what most women turn to for preventing pregnancy. It is available without a prescription and contains high doses of hormones intended to interfere with fertilization.

While you do not need a prescription from your doctor to use it, the morning-after pill is not safe for everyone and has some serious side effects. Women who are using certain prescription medications should avoid taking Plan B. It also is not guaranteed to prevent fertilization, which means even if you take it within the 72-hour window after having unprotected sex, you can still become pregnant.

What to do if you become pregnant

Sometimes you can take all the right precautions and still find yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy. Abstinence is the only 100 percent guaranteed way to prevent pregnancy. Women and their partners do not have to face pregnancy alone. Care Net offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds. We can confirm your suspected pregnancy and provide resources for making the best decision. Care Net is a judgment-free zone. We have your best interests at heart and will help you access the healthcare services and other resources you need. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.  

affordable childcare services

How to Find Affordable Childcare Services

Finding affordable childcare services often is a deciding factor in whether a woman keeps her baby. On average, parents spend $750 per child per month for childcare, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Costs can vary by state, but childcare easily is the biggest expense most families face. The ever-increasing costs of childcare can be especially daunting for single mothers, who already may struggle to make ends meet with one income. Dual-income households also require the support of reliable childcare services.

affordable childcare services

Why does childcare cost so much?

Blaming the cost of childcare on staff wages is not logical since most daycare workers make about $12 per hour or less in the U.S. Some childcare centers offer benefits to their employees. Childcare centers that are federally funded like Head Start, or that are affiliated with larger organizations (churches, universities), are the most likely to offer benefits like healthcare and paid time off.

The more likely culprit for higher childcare costs is the number of state and federal regulations to which the industry is subjected. For instance, some states require low caretaker-to-child ratios, which means childcare facilities must hire more staff to meet those mandates. High turnover rates among staff also drive up costs since employers must not only pay to conduct a job search but for any training new employees need during the onboarding process.

Tips for lowering childcare costs

One of the best things you can do soon after you find out you are pregnant is to start exploring childcare options. Starting early means you have time to secure an affordable and reliable option before others are in the game.

Here are some other things you can do to lower your childcare costs:

  • Set a budget. Once you know your budget, you can decide whether in-home daycare centers, part-time sitters, or a nanny share would work best for your situation.
  • Talk to your employer. Some employers offer a Dependent Care Account (DCA). A type of Flexible Spending Account, it allows you to set aside up to $5,000 tax-free each year to pay for childcare services. There is a downside to a DCA. Any amount left over at the end of the fiscal year is forfeited. This means you must budget carefully to make sure you spend every cent in the account, so you are not losing income. You must keep receipts and other accounting records and submit them to the DCA for reimbursement.
  • Use your childcare tax credit. If you itemize your taxes, you can claim up to $3,000 per child, per tax year for all childcare-related expenses. There is a $6,000 annual cap per family. While it is possible to use a DCA and childcare tax credits, any DCA money is applied to the tax cap first.
  • Explore non-profit options. Nonprofit organizations like the YMCA and local churches may offer affordable childcare alternatives in your community. Some of these organizations, like the YMCA, base your childcare tuition on your income. They can afford to do this because they may receive state or federal funding to help operate their childcare center, which allows them to offset costs.

Community referrals for childcare services

The costs associated with daycare should never be the reason a mother chooses to keep her baby. At Care Net, we believe in providing ongoing support to families who choose life. While we do not offer childcare services through our organization, our team is skilled in helping you to locate affordable and reliable childcare options. Need assistance paying for childcare? We can help with that, too. Care Net has an available list of funding resources to which we can refer our clients. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. 

parenting education class

Should you take a parenting education class?

Taking a parenting education class is one of the best ways to prepare for raising a child. A parenting education program can help new parents gain valuable child-rearing skills and become more confident in their ability to start a family. Whether your pregnancy is unexpected, or you and your partner have been trying to conceive, taking a free pregnancy education class at Care Net can help you prepare for your baby’s arrival. When parents have the tools and support needed to grow their parenting skills, their children reap the rewards.

If you and your partner are still on the fence about enrolling in a parental education program, take a closer look at the benefits.

Parenting education helps you master the basics

Basic childcare is a concern for many first-time parents. When you take a parenting course at Care Net, we cover everything from feeding schedules to health issues. You also learn how to determine your parenting style and craft a parenting strategy that focuses on your parenting personality. Care Net recognizes that children have different needs depending on their age. Our free parenting classes cover every stage in your child’s life. By the time you “graduate” from our classes, we make sure you have the essential tips needed to shape your parenting skills and abilities.

Parenting education instills confidence

Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting – and terrifying – things that can happen to you. If this is your first child, you probably have a lot of questions. Should you use cloth or disposable diapers? How often do you need to feed the baby? How much sleep does your baby need? A parenting education program addresses these and many other parenting-related concerns.  Parenting is equal parts knowledge and courage. Even when you know what to do, you still may hesitate. Gaining confidence in your ability to care for the needs of that tiny person and help them thrive is one of the top priorities for prenatal education providers.

Parenting education teaches parent-child engagement

One of the most pressing questions many parents have is how to connect with their children. When you have a newborn, engagement looks much different than when your child becomes a toddler and eventually a teenager. Parental involvement is one of the most important factors in the success of a child as he or she grows. Not only academically, but socially and emotionally. Care Net’s free parenting education program teaches parents what to expect at every stage of their child’s development. We offer practical strategies for meeting their basic needs, plus how to meaningfully engage with your child on all levels.

Parenting education provides a support network

This is one of the biggest benefits of participating in one of our education classes. Parenting is hard, whether you are brand new to it or are on your third child. Meeting other parents who are struggling with the same questions and concerns is comforting. It also is one of the best ways to build a network of support. This is especially critical for single moms, who may not have family or friends they can rely on for assistance once the baby arrives.

What to expect from parenting education classes

Care Net’s free parenting education program is comprehensive. Women and their partners (or a supportive family member) learn:

  • How to meet basic needs such as food, shelter, and protection.
  • How to provide emotional support to help children develop critical life skills.
  • How to ensure physical safety for your child.
  • How to build social skills to help your child communicate successfully.

How to sign up for a class

Signing up for a parenting education program is easy. Contact us today to get started on your parenting journey.

choosing adoption over abortion is a viable pregnancy alternative

Why You Should Choose Adoption Over Abortion

Finding out you are unexpectantly pregnant can cause a flood of emotions. Some women are scared or anxious, while others are excited and nervous. Whatever your feelings, they are perfectly OK. That includes being confused about the best way to handle a pregnancy. For women who are not yet ready for the lifelong commitment of child-rearing, abortion is a pregnancy option they may consider. There are alternatives to abortion if you find yourself pregnant and unable to raise a child. Choosing adoption over abortion is another possibility.

What are the benefits of adoption?

Only you can decide which pregnancy option is right for you. There are benefits to adoption that are not possible with the abortion alternative. Some adoptions are “open,” which means you can be a part of your child’s life after birth. This is one of the biggest benefits of choosing adoption for your unexpected pregnancy. You can watch your child grow while forming a relationship with the adoptive family. It allows you a window into your child’s life while relying on others who are committed to raising him or her.

There also are several benefits to your child, including:

  • Financial stability. Adoption in the United States is not cheap. Families who commit to the process are financially stable, which means your child will have greater opportunities in life.
  • Increased opportunity. Most adoptive parents are college-educated, which means they support advanced learning opportunities for their children.
Choosing adoption over abortion means you may have a chance to see your baby grow up with a loving family.

When to consider adoption over abortion

How do you know when to choose adoption over abortion? There are many reasons why women and their partners opt for adoption. One of the biggest contributing factors is the unpreparedness (or unwillingness) to become parents. Parenting is hard. Not everyone is suited to the task or feels ready to take on the responsibility. If this is how you feel, adoption is an alternative to parenthood.

Some women are lacking financial stability or the help of a committed partner. They know they cannot do it alone, and so they may consider adoption as a substitute to raising their baby alone.

Lacking a strong support system also can influence women toward adoption. This is especially true for women who do not have the help or cooperation of the baby’s father.

Sometimes women know they are unable to raise their child, but also know they are unwilling to have an abortion. For these women, adoption is ideal.

Types of adoption

If you are considering adoption, there are four different types of adoption plans. Birth mothers should make sure they fully understand how adoption works before agreeing to place their baby with an adoption agency. The staff at Care Net is trained to help you make sense of your choices and guide you to reputable adoption agencies should you choose this route for your pregnancy.

Here are the four types of adoption most agencies offer:

  • Open adoptions, which we previously discussed, allow the adoptive family and birth mother to have an ongoing relationship. The extent and frequency of the relationship are determined by the adoptive family and agreed upon at the time adoption paperwork is signed by both parties. Open adoptions are the best option for the child and Care Net encourages you to consider this if it is an option with the adoption agency you choose.
  • Semi-open adoptions are not available through every agency. When they are, they are an ideal way for the birth mother to meet the adoptive family and get to know them before the baby is born. With this option, ongoing contact with the adoptive family is not as common as it is with open adoptions.
  • Semi-closed adoptions allow birth mothers to choose their baby’s adoptive parents. Adoption agencies provide the birth mother with profiles of prospective adoptive families and leave the final decision on whom to pick up to her. There is no contact between the birth mother and adoptive family.
  • Closed adoptions provide confidentiality to birth mothers and adoptive families. In this scenario, adoption agencies serve as an intermediary between the two parties. The agency chooses the adoptive family based on its criteria. There is no contact between the birth mother and adoptive family.

Next steps in choosing adoption over abortion

If adoption is a pregnancy option you wish to consider, Care Net can help guide you through the process. We offer pre-adoption and post-adoption education services for birth mothers. Our supports are designed to help women:

  • Navigate through the adoption process.
  • Access a support advocate.
  • Fully explore their thoughts and feelings about their pregnancy and pregnancy options.

Women who need ongoing support can find it with us. Contact us to learn more about adoption as a pregnancy option, or to receive assistance with the adoption process.

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The information and graphics contained on this site are for informational and educational purposes only. This site is designed to promote broad knowledge of various pregnancy or sexual health topics and general understanding concerning pregnancy. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice, or professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Pregnancy and other health issues need to be diagnosed by your physician or other qualified health care provider in person. Home tests and online discussions do not qualify as diagnosis or advise for treatment. Make an appointment with one of our center medical team or with your physician to discuss any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Follow your medical provider’s instructions and never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on a website or social media.