All posts by Julie

Julie, COO, has been with First Care Clinic since 2011. She holds a Master of Arts in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the UW Madison School of Business. Julie finds seeing women and couples transformed from hopelessness to hope a very rewarding part of her job. When not working, Julie enjoys reading, learning, meeting new people, cooking and sharing time with her husband, Dennis, their three grown children, and dear friends.

Figuring Out What’s Best for You

Chloe* found First Care Clinic, saw that it had great reviews, and tells of her experience with welcoming and helpful staff. She talks about walking through best and worst case scenario and sorting out her options.

If you think you might be pregnant and are looking for someone to talk to — someone who won’t judge you but will help you process your thoughts and feelings — listen to Chloe’s story and come see us.

If you think you might be pregnant in the Madison, Wisconsin area, text or call us at 608-259-1605 to make an appointment – all of our services are free of charge.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

5 Things to Consider When Making a Pregnancy Decision

If you think you might be pregnant and you weren’t planning on it, your mind may be swirling with all kinds of thoughts.

“I can’t be pregnant. Not now.” “I was on birth control. How is this possible?” “How can I care for another child?” “What about finishing school?” “How will I tell my parents?” “I can’t afford a child right now.”

Woman looking at pregnancy test
Pregnant and not sure what to do? Take time to consider these 5 things before making a decision about your pregnancy.
An unintended pregnancy can present many challenges. But you will want to take time to consider a number of things before making a decision about your pregnancy.
  1. Are you pregnant?
    • Are your symptoms or a home pregnancy test indicating that you are pregnant?
    • Before making any decision, get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are.
  2. Consider your options. If you are pregnant, you have three options.
    • Abortion: Abortion is often seen as an option of necessity. It is not a choice that most women want to make but they feel that they don’t have other options. Learn more.
    • Adoption: Adoption can be a very difficult choice to make. However, making an adoption plan can be a good option for women who are not ready to parent and are also not comfortable choosing abortion. Find out more about adoption.
    • Parenting: Some women who initially consider abortion decide that they can parent their child after considering their feelings, values and fears as well as resources and support that are available. Find out how we can help.
  3. Consider your thoughts, values and resources.
    • It can be helpful in sorting out your thoughts to make a list of your options and the benefits and risks of each option.
    • Think about what you value. Looking at your list, rate how important each benefit and risk is to you.
    • Think about and write down any resources and support you know about that may support each of your options. How might the important people in your life support you in your choice? What community resources are available to you?
      • If you feel you do not have enough support, discuss your options with a trusted person. Our nurses and patient advocates can help you with this. Text or call us.
      • Is anyone in your life pressuring you to make a certain decision? It will be best for you – and for the long term health of your relationships – if you can both respectfully communicate your thoughts and feelings.
    • You will want to consider whether you want not make this decision alone or share the decision.
      • Regardless of who you involve in the decision, it will be best if you can make it freely – without feeling pressured to make a certain choice.
      • We can offer a listening ear to the person or people you are involving in your decision.
      • The father of your baby may find it helpful to meet with our Fatherhood Specialist or a male client advocate. Text or call us to find out more.
    • If you feel pressure from others to make a specific choice, find someone to help you and the others involved. Our nurses and patient advocates are available to meet with you. We can help you navigate the challenges you are facing. Text or call us.
  1. Learn all you can about each of your options.
    • Abortion: Do you know what abortion procedures are available to you? Do you understand the potential risks of abortion? You have the right to give fully informed consent and to assess risks and side effects.
    • Parenting: Do you know what risks are associated with continuing the pregnancy? What community resources are available for pregnant moms and moms with infants and other children? What are the responsibilities of the father of the baby?
    • Adoption: Do you understand the options available with making an adoption plan? There are now many options for adoption. An adoption can be open or closed. You may get together with your child regularly and send birthday cards and gifts or choose to live life separately. Find out more.
  2. Know your rights: In the state of Wisconsin, you have the right to make this decision. No one else, including your parents or the father of the baby, can legally force you to have an abortion. The decision you make must be voluntary and non-coerced. If you are feeling pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, get help. Contact us or call the police.

As you attempt to cope with the complex emotions associated with an unintended pregnancy, it can become more difficult to think clearly about your options. Come in and talk about how you are feeling. We can help to answer some of the questions that are going around in your head. Text or call us today.

Parenting, Abortion and What?

Adoption Options and 3 Myths You Should Know — 

Adoption is not for everyone. In fact, fewer than 2% of unmarried women facing an unintended pregnancy choose to make an adoption plan. Contrary to popular opinion, most women who make an adoption plan are in their mid to late 20s or older.

Adoption is never an easy choice. But then, neither is abortion. And parenting can be a difficult choice as well. Especially when life is challenging and resources are scarce.

When making a decision about a pregnancy, a woman has those three choices:

  • Adoption
  • Abortion
  • Parenting

We often talk about abortion and about parenting. Adoption can feel like the forgotten option.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to choose to make an adoption plan. Carrying a child for nine months and then placing him/her for adoption is hard. And there are considerations to be made regarding the father of the baby, who also has legal parental rights.

Fortunately, there are now many options for adoption. An adoption can be closed or open or semi-open. It can include correspondence, regular get togethers or no contact between the birth mom or dad and the child. Birth moms and dads may send birthday cards and gifts. They may communicate via email or Skype or meet in person. Or they may choose to live life separately and possibly reconnect down the road.

In a closed adoption, there is no contact or communication between the birth parents and the adoptive parents and child. Decades ago, nearly all adoptions were closed. But that has changed.

An open adoption involves contact, communication and/or information sharing. Biological and adoptive families share varying degrees of personal information. The type, directness and frequency of contact varies a lot. A semi-open adoption allows for interaction between the families. With a semi-open adoption, the interaction is usually facilitated by a third party such as an attorney or the adoption agency.

A study by the National Institutes of Health indicated that open adoptions “are more likely to result in positive relationships across birth and adoptive family members.”

Contact between adoptive and birth families is becoming more common across all types of adoption. Social media and new technologies are accelerating this interaction. More than 9 out of every 10 women who choose adoption request some form of contact with the adoptive parents.

There are many myths about adoption that are very pervasive in our society. Some of those are about the birth mother. If you’re pregnant, these myths could affect your decision or the thoughts of those around you.

Three myths about adoption and the facts you should know:

  1. Myth: The birth mother didn’t love her baby and is abandoning him or her.
    1. Fact: The truth is exactly the opposite. When a woman places her child for adoption, she is choosing what she believes is in the best interest of her child. Rather than “abandoning” an unloved child, she is recognizing her current situation. She wants a “better life” for her child than she can currently provide. It is a loving, brave and self-less choice.
    2. Fact: Further, 90 percent of adopted children ages 5 and older have positive feelings about their adoption. Most adopted children appreciate the selfless decision their birth parents made for them, and love them for it.
  2. Myth: Birth mothers will experience unresolved grief for the rest of their lives.
    1. Fact: Birth mothers are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents.
    2. Fact: Birth mothers in the NIH study experienced less unresolved grief with open adoptions.
  3. Myth: Adopted children are not loved as much as biological children.
    1. Fact: An adopted child can be loved by both his/her adoptive parents and his birthmother or birth parents.
    2. Fact: Adoptive parents can love an adopted child as fully and selflessly as biological parents. They provide a loving, stable and nurturing environment. Many adoptive parents have longed for a child for a long time. Or they enjoy parenting so much that they want to grow their family through the miracle of adoption.
    3. Fact: Nearly 3 out of every 4 adopted children ages 0-5 are read to or sang to every day. Only half of non-adopted children receive this same attention from their parents.
    4. Fact: Most birth mothers welcome contact with their placed children. According to the NIH study, “80% of the birth mothers felt positively about being contacted. While 5% felt neutral, 15% felt ambivalent, and none felt negatively about a child-initiated search.”

If someone you know is facing an unintended pregnancy, she may or may not be considering adoption. If she talks about adoption, keep in mind the common myths and the facts about adoption. Be a supportive friend. And if she asks, share this information with her too.

Dads Matter

Dads Matter.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to Fatherhood.

While our clinic provides medical services for women only, we do offer other services for the guys. If a man is trying to figure out his role when his girlfriend is pregnant or if he wants to learn to be the best dad he can be whether or not he and his girlfriend will be parenting together – we can help.

So, if you’re a guy – read on to find out about what we can offer for you. And if you’re a woman, share this with your boyfriend, fiancé or husband.

Making a Pregnancy Decision

If you’re a guy and you think your girlfriend may be pregnant, or she tells you she is, it might be hard to know how to respond.

Be sure to listen, stay calm and talk about it. She needs your support now more than ever. Your thoughts are likely very important to her as she makes her decision. Find more do’s and don’ts here.

Don’t just say, “Whatever you want to do.” Even though she has the legal authority carry the pregnancy to term or have an abortion, you have a very active role in this situation. We can help you have this conversation.

We will also provide pregnancy testing and ultrasound as indicated – free of charge. You are invited to be at this appointment, and, with her permission, be there for the ultrasound.

And you can meet with a male peer advocate who can help you fully understand the options your girlfriend may have – and your role in this decision-making process.

If you are coming with your wife or girlfriend to an appointment for a pregnancy test or ultrasound, and you would like to talk to another man about your questions or concerns, text or call 608-259-1605 to schedule this meeting.

Preparing for Fatherhood

Not sure how to be a dad? Perhaps your dad was not involved in your life very much – or maybe you’d just like to learn more than you picked up along the way.

Fathers play a very important role in their children’s lives.

Our Practical Fatherhood curriculum is specifically designed with dads in mind. This series of 10 lessons, in a one to one format, can help you learn about role models, discipline, respecting your child’s mother, and the “dad difference.”

Fathers are also invited to attend and participate in all of our education programs where you will learn about nutrition, safety, fetal development, preparation for delivery and birth and more. There are more than 90 lessons available from which you and your girlfriend may choose.

Interested in learning how to be a dad from someone who’s been there? Male mentors are available to meet and discuss relationship and parenting issues. Get the tools you need to be equipped for fatherhood.

Childbirth Education & Infant Safety

This class, facilitated by a Lamaze trained RN, is designed with you and your girlfriend or spouse in mind.

You want to be a good partner to your wife or girlfriend, and to get off to a good start being a dad. Our Childbirth Education classes help you to do just that. Some of the things you’ll learn:

  • How to time contractions
  • When to go to the hospital
  • The stages of labor and the support you can offer
  • How to advocate for your baby’s mother

Like all of our services, Childbirth Education classes are free and confidential.

Regardless of how far along your partner is in this pregnancy, we can help you along the way. Text or call 608-259-1605 today to get started in having the conversations to make a pregnancy decision or to prepare to be the best dad you can be.