Relationship Myths: Part I
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The wonderful thing about the internet is that there is a wealth of information, advice and wisdom made easily accessible for us regarding anything, including relationships!  But the downside of the internet is that it’s hard to sift through all of that information to find the good, helpful and wise advice!  There is a lot of information posted by anyone and for anyone. But it might not be true.  This is no different with relationships.  There can be a lot of myths about relationships; our hope is to dispel a couple of them in this post.

 “My partner should know what I’m thinking or feeling”

By definition a relationship is two separate people coming together.  You may feel a connection with someone but no matter how similar you are in your beliefs and ideas, you are two unique individuals with your own unique DNAs.  You will have differences in some areas of your lives. These differences may be in interests, beliefs, ways of thinking, patterns of behavior, how you listen or communicate and your experiences.  There is this idea that when you’re in love with someone or when you’re with the right person they ‘will just get you’.  But they are not in your head and they are not you.  Communication and boundaries are important.  Both of you are unique individuals who are responsible for your own thoughts and feelings.  Communicating your feelings and thoughts when it’s appropriate and safe to do so is better than assuming that your partner knows what you are thinking and feeling.  If you need help learning how to communicate in healthy ways, you can ask a trusted counselor, mentor or friend to help you learn these skills.

 “Our relationship has to be a certain way”

Healthy relationships involve: mutual respect, trust, individuality, good communication, compromise and understanding.  There are many different opinions online about when you should become official, when you should say ‘I love you’, how to know if you’ve found “the One”, where you should meet someone, etc.  There are important things that you should do to make sure your relationships are healthy, respectful and aligned with your own values.  However, determining where and how you meet someone, how long you should date till you meet the parents, get engaged, etc. can look different for every couple because, every couple includes two unique individuals with different opinions, beliefs, values, thoughts and feelings.  One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to relationships.  Your relationship might look different than someone else’s. Don’t feel pressured to speed up your relationship to different stages just because another couple is at a different stage or does things in a slightly different timeline or fashion.  Focus on your relationship and hold it to your values and standards.  Make sure both you and your partner are comfortable with how things are going and progressing – this requires good communication so try to practice this early on if you can.

As always, our centre provides support to clients who wish to talk about relationships and how to create and build healthy relationships.  Feel free to contact us if you want to talk with one of our Client Advocates or our Community Education team.  

Confidence
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As a woman I can honestly say that one of the most attractive things about a man is confidence. This is one of the things that I noticed right away about my fiancé. I’m sure if I were to ask men, they would agree that confidence is attractive in women too. Social media today has impacted people’s confidence and view of themselves. We look daily at photos of people who post their “best” life and then we compare this to our “worst” self. We become critics of our own appearance, jobs, achievements, talents, and abilities. So then, how does one become confident? Maybe you need confidence in your job, relationship, or even just having confidence in yourself. I cannot speak for everyone but I can share how I have approached this problem in my past.

1)      Know your worth!

One hindrance in having or gaining confidence is when you believe the common lie that you are not worth anything. When you believe this lie it makes it easy for people to treat you like a doormat.  As well, it can prevent you from sticking up for yourself, making healthy boundaries and healthy relationships with people. This lie can spread into so many other lies that we believe about ourselves. The truth is that you are worth respect and you are valuable. There is no one else on this earth that is just like you and so that makes you valuable. Confidence is knowing your worth and being able to communicate this with other people by putting up those healthy boundaries and not allowing people to treat you like a doormat. Teach people how to treat you!

2)      Stop the negative self- talk

As mentioned above that little lie that we believe about ourselves can spread into so many other lies we believe about ourselves. What ends up happening when we give into these lies is that we develop negative self-talk. This can come in all sorts of forms and can affect so many different areas of our lives. Maybe it is in your relationships and you believe the lie “no one likes me” or “no one cares about me” or “they think I’m stupid and so I must be”. This can even affect your job or career. Maybe you pass up on opportunities in your profession because you do not believe that you have the qualifications or think that you would be good at that job. The list can go on and on. This negative self-talk cuts right into our confidence because we are often telling ourselves that we “cannot” do something whatever that something is. To regain your confidence back you have to change this negative self-talk to positive self-talk. This is when you need to be kind to yourself and not allow those negatives thoughts about yourself to have power over you. Instead practice telling yourself some positive thoughts such has “I have family and friends who care about me”, “I am intelligent and capable”, “I can do this”, “what I have to say is important”. Confidence is being able to truly believe in yourself.

3)      Understand that failure does not define you

Ok so maybe you were able to scrounge up enough confidence and courage to do something that scared you and you failed at it. Maybe that girl or guy did not agree to go out with you, or maybe your boss chose someone else for that promotion after you put yourself out there. One important thing to understand when it comes to building confidence is that failure does not define you. When you make a mistake or do not succeed at something right away it does not mean that you are a failure. It means that you simply made a mistake or that something just did not work out for you this time around. Our society takes rejection and failure so personal when at times that rejection and failure has nothing to do with you as a person. Sometimes getting rejected by that girl or guys is not about you but maybe that person is not ready for a relationship. This ties into the first point about knowing your worth because when you know your worth, rejection and failure does not have power over you. You are able to separate that rejection and failure from your identity and, who knows, maybe even learn something from it. True confidence is being able to take rejection and failure well and not allow it to control you.

Another important point to note is that you are not going to be good at everything you do. You may succeed at things and fail at others. Being confident in yourself means knowing your strengths and weaknesses and loving yourself regardless.

4)      Surround yourself with confident people

I can remember two very distinct times in my life where my self-confidence and self-esteem had plummeted. Both times was right after I had been rejected by someone. At this point in my life I had not learned that I did not need to give power to that rejection. I remember in these moments realizing that I had no self-confidence or self-esteem.  Both times I did something that really helped - I surrounded myself with confident and healthy people. I started hanging out with people that were confident women and who not only were confident in themselves but were able to instill confidence in me. I learned confidence by example, while also being reaffirmed about how important and valuable I was myself. It was not overnight but, after time, these people became very instrumental in my journey of gaining confidence in myself. Having confident, healthy people in your life is not just important for learning to be confident but also in life in general.   

I hope these tips help you to become a better confident you.

What things have helped you to become more confident?

4 Factors to Consider When Making Life Decisions
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Maybe it’s what job to take, what career to explore, who to date, who to marry, or what to do with an unplanned pregnancy… Depending on the stage of life you’re in, these life decisions can be big.

We understand.  We help women and their partners navigate choices about pregnancy options and relationships almost every day. 

Sometimes life decision can have an impact on your future and your relationships in both negative and positive ways.  For this reason, it’s important to take some time to think about what you wish to do so you can feel confident in your decision(s) as you move forward in your life.

Here are four factors that are helpful to consider when making life decisions:

1) Information

Our centre is pro-information.  We encourage our clients to do a bit of sleuthing to find out as much as they can to prepare themselves for what may come as a result of their decisions and choices.  No matter what life decision you are making, finding out as much as possible about the different directions you can go in and the different choices you can make will help you make a fully informed decision.  Knowing as much as you can will also help you emotionally prepare and feel more confident in the direction you choose to go.

2) Goals

Everyone wants to do well in life, to move forward and be successful at achieving what they hope to.  In one way or another, we all have goals.  Whether our goals or ambitions are to achieve lots of admirable things, achieve some admirable things, or to not have goals or ambitions, we all have an idea of what we want our life to look like and we make choices daily that either help us get there or don’t help us get where we want to be. 

Considering your goals when you make a life decision is quite natural in many situations.  Often our first concern is that life decisions may interfere with us reaching our goals. It’s important to consider whether it’s possible to find ways to achieve your goals while pursuing new life directions or other avenues.  Is there still a way to finish your education while taking on a dream job prior to finishing your degree?   Do the life decisions you’re making still allow you to achieve your financial, relational, personal goals?

3) Values

Values and goals can be closely related for many people.  Sometimes they overlap.  Some of our goals may also be to live out our values.  What we value is important to us.  Just like goals, many people make choices daily that help them live out what is significant to them.  Values are central to an individual and they don’t often change very quickly or frequently.  They are more often developed throughout life based on upbringing, family of origin, religion and/or experiences. 

Because what we value is often most important to us and who we are, it’s also essential to consider our values when making life decisions.  In any situation, is there a way for us to make our life decisions align with who we are and what we value?

4) Future

Naturally, when we think about making big life decisions we think about our future, at least in some respects.  Sometimes it’s easy to think about our futures with certain ‘big’ life decisions.  But if it’s not a big decision we can quickly make a decision without a thought.  Though often not detrimental, our decisions and actions (even the small and insignificant ones) can have an influence on our lives and the lives of those around us.  So, if you have a decision to make, visualizing your future and how the different choices you can make will influence it (and could influence your relationships or those around you) is also a valuable exercise to help you process your decisions and ultimately feel confident in the choices you make.

Although this article is generally focused on any life decisions, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy (whether you think it’s ‘a big life decision’ or ‘not a significant decision at all’) know that we are here to provide any support you feel you need as you evaluate your options.  Call, email, text or chat with us today!

 

I'm Pregnant... Now What?
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I’m pregnant, now what?

The first time you see those fateful two lines on a pregnancy test, it is really hard to describe how you feel. You may feel confused, stressed, excited, terrified, panicked, and the list goes on. Time almost stops as your future floods before you. You ask questions like: Is this accurate? Should I take another test? What if it’s a faulty test? You might take another test, or a few, just to be sure. These seemingly normal feelings can be amplified if the pregnancy is unplanned, and may cause another element of stress if you don’t feel prepared.

This is something I can completely relate to, as I have experienced an unplanned pregnancy. My partner and I had been together for a while, and were starting to warm up to the idea of having children, but when the test went positive, we could not believe it. My partner needed several days to process the news, whereas I, being a goal oriented planner, needed to map out what to do next.

Three things to do after taking a pregnancy test:

First, talk to a trusted person about this. You may have a lot of concerns and emotions and it helps to express those to someone you are close to. Talking about our issues can bring great relief to our situation, and allow us to think more clearly than we would on our own. This person may be your partner, best friend, mentor, parent, and the list goes on. Finding someone to talk to is important not only for your mental state, but to help you with decisions going forward.

Second, book a doctor’s appointment to confirm your pregnancy. The doctor is the first place you should visit after those two lines appear. The doctor can confirm the pregnancy and give you next steps on what to do. My suggestion is to bring someone with you to this appointment. Due to the shock of what is happening, you may not remember or hear most of what the doctor tells you. Bring a trusted person (partner, friend, mentor, etc) with you so you remember everything.

Thirdly, make a plan. Talking to others and going to the doctor is a start, but being aware and fully informed on all your options can allow you to feel empowered to move forward. When we are empowered with information, we can make real, informed choices. At Pregnancy Options, our goal is to provide truth about your body, truth about your options, and hope for your future. We can help you process those emotions, look at all of your options (abortion, adoption and parenting) and provide resources that fit your informed decision.

If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, we would love to talk to you. You can contact us through our website, by phone, text or email.

You are not alone. You have support and you have options.

Common Pregnancy Symptoms
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Periods can be unpredictable.  If you are one of the lucky women who have regular periods, then you may not even be aware of the immense favor you have been given.  Some women’s periods can be as unpredictable as the weather is in the Lower Mainland this March.  An unpredictable period may not be such a terrible thing all of the time, but if you have been sexually active in the month prior to when your period should arrive, a period’s absence can be a rather terrifying thing, especially if you aren’t feeling prepared to be a parent at this point in your life.

Oftentimes, women don’t realize they are pregnant until they are a few weeks into their pregnancy because symptoms may not be significant enough to notice in the beginning.  To complicate matters, pregnancy symptoms may not be identical for every woman. Pregnancy symptoms can also mimic the symptoms of other causes, like stress or menopause.  Most women are tipped off to a potential pregnancy because they miss their period but a late period could also be the result of hormonal imbalances, growth and changes in the body, diet, travel, anxiety/stress and certain types of birth control.

For this reason it’s sometimes not as easy to figure out if you could be pregnant or not based solely on one or two symptoms.  But here is a list of some of the more common pregnancy symptoms that women may experience:

  • Missed period

  • Headaches

  • Frequent urination

  • Fatigue/tiredness

  • Vomiting or nausea (“morning sickness”)

  • Sore or sensitive breasts

  • Weight gain or weight loss

  • Dizziness

  • Moodiness

If you’ve been sexually active and are concerned you could be pregnant, the best thing to do is to take a pregnancy test or talk to your doctor.  Urine pregnancy tests will pick up the pregnancy hormone in a woman’s body 4 weeks from her LMP (Last Menstrual Period) and blood tests can detect a pregnancy around 3 weeks LMP. 

Depending on your situation, you may feel lost or alone, unsure or confused.   We understand.  This is big.  You’re not alone and you have options!

When you come into our centre, one of our trained Client Advocates will take time to sit and talk with you.  She can help you take a free and confidential pregnancy test and talk honestly with you about your options: abortion, adoption and parenting.  She will give you the support and acceptance that you need to process your thoughts and feelings and sort through all of the information.  You have options and being fully informed about all of them can help you make a decision that is right for you.

We’re About You.

We’re About Choices.

We’re About Truth.

Call, email, text or visit us today.

**The South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre is not a medical centre and therefore does not advise or provide any medical referrals. This website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.