Sometimes you just really need to talk to someone you don’t know.
You’re pregnant, you didn’t plan to be, and you can’t imagine talking to anyone you know about it. Maybe your birth control failed, and you want to know what you should do next. You might be a teenager who’s afraid to tell your parents, a person in an abusive relationship, geographically isolated from your family and friends, or just not ready to tell anyone you know. You could be sure about what you want to do, or overwhelmed by your options. Maybe you know what your next step is, but you just want to talk to a totally neutral source about it. Planned or not, pregnancy, and the possibility of it, is overwhelming, and you’re not a weirdo for needing an outlet to process how you’re feeling.
The good news is that there are folks you can reach out to over the phone, even over online chat, but the key is finding the right resource. Googling “pregnancy help” will yield a lot of results, some of which will be crisis pregnancy centers, who specialize in giving out false information and whose goal it is to get you to give birth, regardless of what you want, or what happens to the child you have. If you’re looking for someone to give you well rounded advice, listen to you, and respect your decision, no matter what it is, check out these resources.
All-Options (formerly Backline)
All-Options takes a full-spectrum approach to providing information and support around pregnancy and parenting. That means supporting every pregnant individual (because not just women get pregnant), at any point in their pregnancy, and even after, regardless of whether or not their pregnancy ends in birth, and including abortion, miscarriage and adoption. If you call Talkline, All-Options’ toll-free resource, you’ll reach volunteer advocates (not mental health professionals), who will listen and help you process your emotions about being pregnant, now or previously. It’s not just pregnant folks who call Talkline, though – partners and others who want to support someone are also encouraged to call. Talkline’s advocates recognize the complex nature of the feelings pregnancy can elicit, whether or not you’ve been pregnant before, and they’re there to listen deeply, support your in your decision, and connect you with resources.
All-Options’ other services include a Pregnancy Resource Center, Pregnancy Options Workshops, and a clergy counseling hotline (1-888-717-5010) in which a diverse group of faith leaders support callers with questions about abortion and pregnancy.
The American Pregnancy Helpline is a free and confidential hotline providing information on pregnancy and options for teens. (You can also email a pregnancy educator at firstname.lastname@example.org.) The Helpline and its website is a project of the American Pregnancy Association. The website though, is a resource that presents all of your options, as well as a section on myths about getting pregnant (i.e., yes, you can get pregnant if you don’t have an orgasm), information about sexual health, and tips on how to tell your loved ones that you’re pregnant and planning to stay that way. While the site has a lot of information on how to be healthy during your pregnancy, because of its connection to the American Pregnancy Association, which is a site about pregnancy wellness, it’s well rounded and accessible.
PPLM Sexual Health Hotline – (877) 686-5772 option #3
In addition to its other services, Planned Parenthood offers an online chat option, where folks can access a Planned Parenthood health educator and ask them questions about everything from treating a UTI to what to do if a condom breaks. When you chat, you’ll get actual facts, but not a diagnosis or medical advice. You can also take quizzes online at the PP site to find out if you should take a pregnancy test, get checked for an STI, and how to proceed if you’ve missed a pill or other kind of birth control. I took the “Am I Pregnant?” quiz, and the questions include a long list of birth control options (‘none’ is one of them), as well as explanations to questions like, “What are signs of pregnancy?” and “What is unprotected sex?” The quiz also asks if you want to get pregnant now.
While online chat isn’t the same thing as hearing a human voice, this is a great way to make sure you’re getting serious information, especially if you can’t or don’t want to risk using the phone, but you can access a computer.
If you live in Massachusetts and you are able to use a phone, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has a Sexual Health Hotline, which you can call with your questions about birth control, abortion, and more, while remaining completely anonymous.