When you find out you are pregnant, you first need to ask yourself, are you ready to be a mother? For a minimum of 18 years, you will be required to sustain a human being physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Never allow someone to pressure you into making a decision that you can’t morally back out of; always do what seems right to you. Ensure your safety.

Choose A Provider To Get The Care You Need

Depending on your state, you only have a few weeks to make a decision on how you want to move forward. Things are different in some states post Roe V. Wade check to see what your state says about abortion laws. 

If you choose to move forward with raising your baby, consider a Doula to help you through your pregnancy. Doula care has been demonstrated to enhance health outcomes for pregnant and laboring people as well as their newborns. These improvements include greater breastfeeding rates, fewer low-birth weight children, and lower cesarean delivery rates, according to the National Health Law Program’s Doula Medicaid Project. 

With high infant and mother mortality rates, this could be the most uncertain part of your journey. When it comes to choosing a doctor and doula, read reviews, check credentials, ask questions.

Low-income people in the United States are at a higher risk of poor birth outcomes. Black pregnant and birthing people are particularly at risk. By delivering patient-centered care and advocacy, doulas help reduce the impacts of racism and racial bias in health care, combating disparities in maternal health.

Black Women Birthing Justice built a collective Network of Black Doulas all organized in directory by state. 

Search Tags to find a Black Doula based on your needs, training level, and years of experience, background, and focus at https://www.blackwomenbirthingjustice.com/black-doula-locator.

Develop A Birth Plan

Have a list of all the things you want to happen when you give birth and give it to your doctor. This list should include who you would like to have in the room with you for moral support, where you would like to have your baby, pain relief preferences, preferred labor and birthing positions, preference for skin to skin contact, how you would like to feed your baby whether breastfeeding or formula, what you would like to happen after your baby is born

Check to see if your school has a Title 9 office, they might be able to help direct you to local resources. 

Also, check to see if your campus has a school therapist. Having an unplanned pregnancy in college is a difficult thing to navigate. It’s essential to your mental health to talk to someone about the different emotions you are feeling as this baby grows inside of you. It’s important to talk to someone , no matter what  

Embrace Grace is a support group that hold space for young pregnant people with bi-weekly meetings and baby showers. To find a group in your area visit https://embracegrace.com/

Locate A Family Resource Center In Your Area

You are responsible for diapers, day care, transportation and doctor visits. You’ll need to provide food, clothing and a home for your baby but there are resources out there that make these needs accessible for you. Stack all of the information, free diapers, gently used bibs and clothes you can find. 

“I was a part of postpartum with the Compton Girls Club,” said DeAnna Pitman. “They had a program for young moms who were pregnant or just had a baby. It was instrumental in providing mental support and diapers, creating a sense of community with other moms who are trying to figure it out.”

Pitman is working with the Young Women’s Resource Center’s on a resource guide for young moms. The guide is posted on their website under the “resources from Los Angeles” section. For more information visit https://youngwomenfree.org/location/los-angeles/

To obtain child care assistance, contact your local Department of Human Services office. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to the age of five. They also offer stipends to assist low-income mothers in gaining access to nutritious foods.

Most hospitals offer free childbirth and parenting classes. Take them. 

Don’t Abandon Your Education

Less education has traditionally resulted in lower income. If anything, now is the time to really put your head in your studies so you can provide the best life for you and your child. Attending school, working, and raising a child is difficult, but not impossible. You have to hustle and lean on community resources. 

You got this mama.

Seyna Clark is a junior journalism major at the University of Mississippi. She seeks to bring her brand of truth to the masses with candor and compassion. Feel free to follow her thoughts and more here.