Category Archives: Blog

Men and Pregnancy

Men and Abortion

Since January, 1973, with the legalization of abortion in the US, the primary decision a woman makes in choosing abortion parenting, or adoption has been centered on “a woman’s right to choose.”   Does the father have rights and what about men and abortion?  The Supreme Court says the father does not have any legal rights. [Planned Parenthood of Missouri v. Danforth (1976)].  This means that, though he may have influence as a result of his relationship with the woman, legally, he has no rights at all regarding the decision to carry and parent or terminate.  There’s no requirement that he even be informed.

The decision-making process that precedes an abortion, complicates how the abortion ultimately effects a man.  He may not know about the pregnancy, and so the abortion may happen without his knowledge or input.  He may oppose the abortion, and state that clearly and emphatically.  He may know about the pregnancy, but in trying to be loving, supportive and affirming of the woman’s rights, he may withhold his feelings or beliefs about abortion.  He may have not formed an opinion, and may simply go along with whatever the woman chooses.  He may support and even encourage her choice to terminate.  He may pressure her, using coercion and threats to leave her if she doesn’t agree to abort.  Or, he may completely abandon her, walking away from the relationship and the responsibility for the pregnancy, leaving her to cope and decide on her own.

These different reactions will have different levels of impact on the man, both in terms of his own emotional responses and his relationship with the woman.  If he pressures, encourages or even actively supports the abortion because he is fearful or complacent, he can have a significant emotional response later when he lives with the reality of abortion and how it may affect him and the woman.  If he abandons her, either literally, or by withholding his feelings and beliefs, he may find himself in the same boat.

The most common initial responses after an abortion to which he agreed to or maybe did not agree to are:

  1. Relief – relief the abortion is over and the decision to have an abortion. Relief the relationship can possibly get back to “normal”.
  2. Anger – anger he did not express his desires for this baby to be born or anger he had no rights. Anger he felt he had no control over the decision-making process.
  3. Denial – beginning to deny the experience or decision, to lock away the emotions and not deal with them, and to keep silent about it all thinking it will go away. All of which could lead to other destructive and complicated behaviors if not dealt with.

So, what is the long-term impact of abortion on the men involved?  There are as many as 28 studies which indicate most men feel overwhelmed, and many have disturbing thoughts about the abortion.  Often men generally are not very comfortable expressing vulnerable emotions like grief, guilt and shame.  They tend to go silent and withdraw, or become angry leading to hostility and sometimes aggression.  They may struggle with depression and anxiety.  They may wrestle with feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.  They may suppress their emotions, or become angry and belligerent. Whether they remain in relationship with this particular woman or not, their relationships going forward can be negatively impacted by the abortion experience.

Sometimes when a couple faces an abortion decision, a genuinely caring man feels he is trying to be supportive of the woman he loves, stay silent for the express purpose of making her feel empowered, of not pressuring her, and making sure she knows she can make the best decision for her own life.  Yet often the end result is what she most needs, his stabilizing presence and his opinion, his silence causes her to feel alone and abandoned.  The destabilizing of the relationship often begins in the silence and the distance that results.  Statistics show that most relationships end after abortion in spite of often believing this will save the relationship it can end it.

The loss of an unborn child through abortion leaves most men at some point trudging through grief, confusion, guilt, and trauma.  His choices are to forge on, trying to deny the undeniable impact of his loss, or to accept his responsibility, grieve the loss and work through his feelings.  If you are such a man, or you are in relationship with one, reach out to someone who can walk with you through the process.

Here at Choices Women’s Clinic we care about women and men and the choices you make.  We are here for you and invite you to consider our ongoing care programs like life coaching or abortion recovery to begin a healthy process of working through difficult decisions.  We believe there is always a way back!

Unplanned Pregnancy

Unplanned Pregnancy…Now What

About 46 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Which would mean that if you are reading this, you have found yourself in that same situation or know of someone who is. Perhaps you or a friend are seeking advice on what to do next.

When facing an unplanned pregnancy, the first thing that happens is that you are in a state of disbelief.  Maybe such disbelief that t is hard to know exactly what to do next.  When in disbelief, we just want it to go away. The crisis like situation that was not planned for certainly can be overwhelming and even isolating.  It can be difficult to think through what to do next or where to go from here.

While going through this, it is essential to seek out professional information and consider all your options.  It is also essential to take the time to research, seek professional resources, weigh pros and cons, self-reflect and ask yourself specific questions.  Good decisions are not usually quick decisions and not meant to be made alone.

You have 3 choices in your unplanned pregnancy: abortion, parenting or adoption.  Each of those choices are life altering and require you to fully understand each one. You may experience having a fear of telling others and fear of judgment. You most likely have a lot of questions.

  • What kind of abortion procedure would I have, how much does it cost, and what are the risks involved?
  • What does my current support system look like to make each of these choices?
  • What are the risks medically, physically and emotionally of each choice and what is the long term impact?
  • What resources are available to me to make these choices?

You owe it to yourself, your future, and your unborn baby to slow down and make a healthy decision.

I recall facing an unplanned pregnancy at the age of eighteen.   I had recently graduated from high school and left home to live with friends.  I had my agenda of attending college and living “La Vida Loca”.  Finding out that I was pregnant, I was afraid of what people would think or say, especially after leaving my home without my parent’s approval.  I was not in the right place with the father of the baby and did not have a healthy support system.  However, I knew I was at a crossroad of what to do and believed there was only one solution: abortion.

I decided I needed to speak to someone about my unplanned pregnancy.  While driving, I saw a clinic and called and made an appointment to be seen and weigh all my options.  Upon arriving, I felt scared and wondered what they were going to think of seeing a young girl pregnant.  I wondered what they would think about me wanting to have an abortion. What I experienced was quite the opposite where I felt welcomed and not judged.  These strangers provided professional services like an ultra sound and genuinely cared and helped me lay out all three options.

I felt empowered and encouraged, and by the end of that evening, I choose to have my baby and parent.  I was not aware of how I was going to pull this off, but I knew abortion and adoption were not for me.  Twenty-five years later, that has been one of the best decisions that I made.  What seemed to be the worst time in my life brought a great outcome for me. Today I have a son and I can’t imagine my life without him.

Here at Choices Women’s Clinic, we can first provide professional medical services to help you assess your options like ultrasound, a medical consultation and a pre-abortion screening.  We equip women and men to make an informed pregnancy decision. We believe and respect the fact that each person is capable of making a healthy decision when given the proper information. We are here for you regardless of your circumstances or your decisions. Choices Women’s Clinic can provide no cost medical services, non-judgmental consultation and resources to answer any questions and address any issues you may be facing with an unplanned pregnancy.

 

 

Pregnancy Test

Abortion Safety Protocol

So, you have missed a period. You took a home test and you are pretty sure you are pregnant. Maybe you have seen a doctor, and they confirmed your pregnancy. You are pregnant and you have your reasons why you can’t have a baby right now.  So, you’ve decided to get an abortion.

We get it. Not all positive pregnancy tests feel like good news. Sometimes it actually can feel more like your whole world is falling apart. It’s hard, you see no way out or through.  Maybe it is plain scary and overwhelming.  You might feel like you have to make a decision right away before anyone finds out and before things get even more out of control.

First, take a deep breath. In all situations in life we need time to consider the risks or some say the pros and cons of the decision.  Often when we make a rushed decision, we put ourselves in unsafe situations. You deserve to be safe and healthy regardless of your choice for this unplanned pregnancy.  Take a breath.  You don’t have to rush out and do anything right this minute. Here are some questions and answers that will help you be safe and make informed choices.

Have you confirmed your pregnancy? The very first thing you need to know is if you’re really pregnant. At Choices Women’s Clinic, we offer lab-quality urine tests to verify your pregnancy. We can also offer you an ultrasound at no cost to you through licensed medical professionals.  An ultrasound is the best way to know if you have a viable pregnancy, since a high percentage of pregnancies will miscarry. The ultrasound also shows how far along you are, which is important in determining which abortion procedure you would have.  Even if you’ve taken a pregnancy test, it’s important to confirm with a medical professional that you’re still pregnant.

In your decision-making process for your health and safety consider the following:

Are there risks involved with an abortion procedure?  Like any medical procedure, an abortion involves the possibility of some risk.  It’s important that you know your family medical history and your own medical history, and that you research potential risks before making your decision.  Get information from reliable, trusted medical sources or ask a medical professional who has nothing to gain from your decision.

Do you know the qualifications of the abortion provider?  Not all surgeons or doctors have the same experience and expertise.  Equally, not all abortion providers are the same.  As consumers today, we have availability today to research the products we buy and the services we seek.  You would want to know if the doctor performing the procedure is a board-certified OB/GYN.  You might want to check with the FL medical board to see if the physician is involved in any malpractice suits or has judgments against them.

Do you know how the provider handles complications?  When having a medical procedure in a clinic, we need ask how that medical provider handles complications.  A few considerations would be: Does the doctor have privileges at a nearby hospital?  Does the clinic have an emergency plan in place to address complications?  If you have complications once you have been discharged will they see you again and treat you?

Do you know that you can change your mind?  This is your choice.  You can change your mind at any time regardless of where you are in the procedure.  Abortion is a big decision.  You should be absolutely certain this is what you want to do. If you feel pushed or hesitant, you have the right to take the time you need to take a step back and take more time to think it through.

Choices Women’s Clinic cares about you and your safety and well-being. This might be a difficult, overwhelming time, but you don’t have to face this alone. We’re here to listen and give you any information you need to make safe, healthy decisions.

Abusive Relationships

What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like

Her side:

Since we’re little girls we begin to dream of a fairytale-like love story, the prince comes to sweep us away and we live happily ever after. We are strongly influenced by the stories we see in romantic movies, but what happens when the guy you once fell in love with begins to show a different side? A side of him that you weren’t familiar with and that love and trust turns into fear?

Many of us believe that if we were ever caught in a situation where our lives were in jeopardy we would quickly react and step away from what can harm us. The toughest thing about abusive relationships that entangle us to stay is the bond and relationship we’ve built during the time that the abusive behaviors were withheld. The feeling of dependency is hard to break.

When we think of abusive relationships, most assume it’s physical. Abusive relationships go beyond physical touch. In fact, emotional abuse is very common. The abuser can be disguised as someone who you wouldn’t consider to be harmful and easy on the eye. Here is a list of behaviors and characteristics that may help you to understand what an abusive relationship looks like:

  • Tries to humiliate or harass you
  • Constantly belittles you, calls you names
  • Extremely moody
  • Isolating you from friends and family
  • Criticizes the way you dress, speak, priorities, beliefs, etc.
  • Is unfaithful
  • Is unreasonably jealous
  • Subjects you to feeling guilty
  • Makes everything your fault
  • Throws and breaks things around you, sometimes punches walls or slams doors
  • May have a history of child abuse

From experience, I can remember being surrounded by many and yet felt so lonely. I thought I was being strong by staying in the relationship and not giving up until I was able to take a step back and see that the strongest thing I could do was to walk away from the toxic relationship.

His side:

As a young man we dream of finding the “Mrs. Right.” A woman whom is supportive, loving, kind, and one you’d feel good taking home to show your mother. So what happens when your significant other isn’t what you expected?

We’d all like to think we would have it under control, but when objects are thrown or you’re being physically assaulted, with her threatening to call the police and tell them you hit her, what can you do?

First let’s try and identify some traits that send up red flags.

  • Is every argument your fault?
  • Do they put you down to make themselves feel better?
  • Are you constantly striving to win their affection but find it to be an endless battle?
  • Is there anger beyond out of control or normal circumstances?
  • Has infidelity been an issue?
  • Are they constantly jealous? Or over possessive?

Try evaluating these things. Never try to justify someone else’s actions. Furthermore, ask a loved one or someone close for help. While it’s often you may have the feeling that you can’t leave due to your bond, life is better beyond this unhealthy relationship.

Whichever side you may be on, if you find yourself involved in an abusive relationship remember that you are not alone and there are resources out there. Reach out to a relative, a friend, or you can call Choices Women’s Clinic and we will do our best to provide more information about getting the support and resources you need.

Pressure of Sex

The Pressure of Sex

 

It seems like from the moment you learn about sex at a young age, the pressure to have sex is on.  Whether you are single, dating or even just friends with the opposite sex, the pressure to have sex can be an issue. This is especially true among teenagers and men and women of college age.  Sexual pressure can be as simple as a commercial on television or as heavy as a partner pushing you past your boundaries to have sex when you aren’t ready. Sexual pressure can impact a person negatively. It’s important to understand that not all sexual pressure is negative.  An effective way at managing sexual pressure is to have open dialog with your peers and possibly adults you trust about sex and the pressure that comes with it.  Together you may find that you are not alone and discover ways to overcome the pressure with positive and healthy solutions.

So what are some ways to overcome sexual pressure?  First it’s important to understand where the pressure is coming from. Could it stem from insecurities? Most men and women feel that you need to be desired physically or sexually in order to be valued or accepted. When in fact, someone’s physical or sexual attraction doesn’t necessarily equate value or even acceptance of you. It can be a means by which you are drawn in for them to obtain what they want from you.  In my opinion, it’s more important to be respected rather than accepted.  Remember acceptance is temporary. You may be accepted today and rejected tomorrow by the same person.  If you struggle with insecurities, whether they are physical or mental, recognize those insecurities and work on ways to strengthen those areas. Giving in to sexual pressure due to insecurities can result in feeding those insecurities and increasing them.

Second, know who you are and what your values are. What are your boundaries? Don’t wait until you’re in a situation where your boundaries are being tested to determine what they are. Ask yourself if you are ready to have sex, and will be able to handle all that having sex comes with. If the pressure of having sex alone is too overwhelming for you to handle, then engaging in sexual activity will compound those overwhelming feelings. Learning to say “no” to the things that push you outside your boundaries or make you feel uncomfortable can be a healthy sign of maturity and will increase your confidence which can lead you to make empowering decisions.

Lastly, don’t believe the lies about sex. Sex does not equal love and cause someone to fall in love with you. If you alone aren’t enough for someone to deem you worthy of love, then sex will not change that. Not everyone is having sex though others might tell us otherwise. Many men and women are respecting their bodies and valuing their sexual purity these days. Despite what you see on TV and what your friends are telling you, many people are waiting until marriage to become sexually intimate.

Another lie is that sex doesn’t have consequences.  As long as you are “safe” then you will be ok. That is simply not true.  There is not a birth control method that is 100% fail proof. Even when a person practices “safe” sex, they risk a potential unplanned pregnancy. Having “safe” sex can still lead to STD’s, unplanned pregnancies, emotional devastation, addictions and destructive relationships. Once you have had sex, you are now left with consequences that can last a lifetime.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with sexual pressure is communication.  Don’t be afraid to talk about sex with your friends and partners and mentors/parents you can look up to. Be honest and stand firm on what you believe. Ask questions to determine if having sex is really what you are wanting or seeking. If you have goals, ask yourself if the consequences of having sex right now will lead you to your goals or alter the chances of achieving them. One thing that has worked for me as a single woman, is keeping my eyes on my goals and worth. I have so many dreams that I refuse to allow the consequences of sex ruin or alter them. Also, knowing that I am a beautiful, strong and a capable individual whose ability to have sex does not define or shape my identity. So be bold. Be strong. And when the sexual pressure comes, and it will, find the courage to overcome and not give in.

If you have had unprotected sex and fear that you may be pregnant or are concerned about STD’s please schedule an appointment at our Orlando location as soon as possible.

Life Coaching

What Life Coaching Means for You

What is Life Coaching?  Life coaching is a coach who comes alongside you to see you where you are at and help you get to where you want to be.

I recall watching a commercial with a well-known basketball player and thinking, “He was not always a great basketball player”.  He had to work with someone behind the scenes that showed him different techniques and calling out some of the areas where growth needed to take place.   The coach had to come alongside the basketball player on the sidelines and outside the games calling out different plays to conduct and not conduct.

Even the best players and experts can benefit from a Life Coach. A Life Coach will listen to your story without judging or criticizing you. A coach can will help you determine action points significant to you to help you identify and make progress on your dreams and goals. A Life Coach can also provide great support during hard times.

We all have blind spots in our lives that we are unaware of and need some guidance. A Life Coach can help in areas that are challenging and approach beliefs that are crippling one from making genuine connections and have fulfilling relationships. They help individuals gain courage, strength and discover some of the passions they have as well as gain the confidence needed in overcoming life challenges that come unexpectedly.

A Life Coach helps to work on self-confidence and explore obstacles that have kept an individual stuck and enabling them to move forward. With Life Coaching, one can explore many different topics like personal goals and/or professional goals.  It is not just about dealing with the past, but closing the gap of where one is at and where they would like to be. Together an action plan is created that the individual and the coach are held accountable to achieve and fulfill.

In a coaching session, you are able to examine where you are at and discover what patterns have been beneficial for you. You take a look at some life challenges and misunderstandings about yourself and others that have occurred throughout life, learning to follow through in trusting yourself to revisit those areas. Life coaching helps with your personal life, goal setting, and dealing with life challenges. It helps an individual to get unstuck and create healthy habits, as well as learning how to have fun, unleash the gifts within, and improve relationships.  Furthermore, it helps create awareness in identifying your life purpose and reaching your goals.

People that have chosen to have a Life Coach have been successful in life because they have chosen to create a plan that will lead them to become a better individual. The role of a Life Coach is to help provide the tools needed to help achieve goals and carry out the vision for yourself at the same time providing accountability. It is a great resource to utilize that allows an individual to move forward in life. Everyone has life challenges but it is what you do with them that matters. With each challenge, there is always a solution that eventually becomes part of your story.

At Choices Women’s Clinic in Orlando, Florida, we offer Life Coaching for our clients. Together we explore areas of life that have been challenging and help shape you into a stronger, healthier person empowered to move forward. The goal is to gain new tools to deal with life challenges and achieve happiness and true fulfillment in your personal life. We want to support you to become the best version of you! You are worth it!

Valentines Day_Love

Love is in the Air

February has long been ear-marked as a time in which love just seems to blossom. Maybe it causes us to pause and think about what it means to love or what love should look like in our lives, or even… who is my special Valentine? For you, this month might be one, huge dish of excitement and thrill topped with warm feelings or maybe a time that’s just a reminder that a special love connection is lacking in your life.

Letting love in seems so natural for some, while others see it fail time and time again. Factors bigger than we want to admit or face might be hindering our relationships. We learn (sometimes at an early age) that loving can get us hurt. Whether its friend relationships, familial, or romance… it can stop us in our tracks and cause us to doubt its realness. It begins to shape us as individuals. We might operate defensively by shutting off intimate ties- where no one gets in; or we might compensate by becoming over-doers or over-givers. If we could just do enough/ give enough, we could make them love us. So, we work hard to gain approval, acceptance, & love. We might eventually settle- believing that it’s enough, or maybe believe we’re not worth more. That we can sacrifice our desires, needs, beliefs, and worth to keep from being alone.

Sometimes we can confuse love for feelings of infatuation, a one-sided feeling, or just close friendship. Sexual feelings can move us to act impulsively before the relationship has matured. Often this can lead to disappointment, a broken heart, as well as feelings of low self-worth.

It is important to evaluate our relationships and think about how other people – friend or romantic – make us feel. True love shows respect, affection, concern, and admiration. True love does not subject you to humiliation or any form of abuse. True love should encompass a variety of POSITIVE emotional and mental states.

Here at Choices Women’s Clinic in Orlando, FL, we understand you might be facing struggles and hurt of past and present. Fears, isolation, or confusion might cause you to become overwhelmed by the unknown. Many questions might be swirling in your mind. We hope to give you a safe landing place where your voice is heard, where your fears are validated, and your needs are honored. We want to empower you with information. We embrace you for you. We celebrate your worth! There is no one like YOU in this world. You, and all your uniqueness matters. You are an expression of love.

Love is all around. It’s in the smile from another, in the company of a friend or family, it’s a reassuring hug you needed to feel. Love is spending time doing things that make you feel positive, connecting to the true “you” inside, taking care of yourself, its laughter. Let yourself feel love. Today… and in this month of love… we encourage you to experience the expressions of love that are all around you. You are loved.

Ultrasound Technician with Mother

What to Expect During an Ultrasound

The fear of the unknown can make even the strongest person feel vulnerable and anxious. However, receiving an ultrasound during your pregnancy is meant to empower you to give you answers to the unknown. Whether your pregnancy was planned or unexpected, you should receive an ultrasound to know if your pregnancy is located in your uterus, if it is viable, establish a more accurate due date than what your last period estimates, and to determine the number of fetuses.

A common misconception is you and/or your baby will be exposed to radiation. However, an ultrasound machine emits sound waves that form an image on the screen. It is completely safe and painless when used by a licensed professional for medical purposes.

Your sonographer or practitioner can perform an ultrasound one of two ways- abdominally or transvaginally. Typically, if you are in your early first trimester, you will receive both. Your ultrasound appointment will probably begin with a brief medical questionnaire. Be as honest as possible. The medical professional is only asking these questions to benefit you and your medical outcome. You may feel hesitant to divulge your private information. However, the practitioner is not going to share this information with anyone. And for your peace of mind, the professionals hear all sorts of medical histories and stories. You are probably not going to shock them with what you say. Once your technician has gathered all the necessary information, he or she will ask you to lay on the exam table.

The technician will then lower the lights in the room to help visualize the ultrasound monitor better. Then the technician will apply gel to your abdomen. Some clinics have gel warmers that heat up the gel to make the application to your stomach more comfortable. The technician will use a camera called a transducer to scan your abdomen taking pictures of your pelvic anatomy and of the pregnancy.

If a transvaginal ultrasound is warranted, you will be asked to undress from the waist down. The technician will provide a sheet or drape to help keep you covered to maintain privacy. Don’t worry if you are nervous about being exposed. The technician will do their best to keep you covered. If they do see you uncovered, rest assured they have seen many other patients undressed as well. It is not going to matter to them. The technician will then prep the transvaginal probe by placing a sheath over it and applying sterile gel at the end. You may be asked to help guide the probe in or if you are unable to insert it yourself, the technician can do it for you. It should not feel painful. It should feel similar to a tampon. The end of the probe is inserted into the vaginal cavity, which will provide a more detailed and clear image. Just like an abdominal ultrasound, the technician will take pictures of your pelvic anatomy and pregnancy.

Once all the required images are obtained, the technician may provide a printed ultrasound picture for you to take home. Depending on the protocols at the clinic you visit, your practitioner may give you a verbal preliminary report, which will later be confirmed by the reading physician.

Most ultrasounds will have normal results. However, 1-2% of pregnancies are ectopic. This means the baby will develop in the fallopian tube, ovary, or abdominal lining. These pregnancies can result in fatality for both the baby and mother when it ruptures. If an ectopic pregnancy is discovered during your appointment, the technician will send you to the hospital for confirmation and possible surgery to remove the pregnancy from the unlivable location.

Another unpredictable finding found in 30% of all pregnancies is miscarriage. This is confirmed when a fetal pole is seen without a heartbeat. Secondary to no heart tones, is a gestational sac that forms without a fetus. When this occurs, it is referred to as a blighted ovum. Typically, when a gestational sac is the only pregnancy structure seen, a repeat ultrasound is necessary to confirm the fetus has not developed. Many times, late ovulation can delay the appearance of a fetus on an ultrasound.

If your practitioner has confirmed that your pregnancy is located in your uterus, is a viable a singleton or multiple gestation, and provided you with a due date, you can feel confident knowing you have made a positive impact on your health by seeking this preliminary information. It’s not just about making healthy choices for your body; but for a healthy mind as well. Scheduling and receiving your first ultrasound can put your mind at ease for the uncertainties you may have.

At Choices Women’s Clinic in Orlando, Florida, we can answer those uncertainties and empower you with the information you need with our free limited ultrasounds, which are performed only by licensed professionals. If you would like to schedule an appointment to get the answers and support you need, please call our office or fill out a request form on our website.