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You may be eligible for paid leave during your pregnancy and following birth. We get asked about this often, and you may be wondering as well.

Pregnancy and Paid Family Leave

One of the common questions we ask our working clients is whether or not they have any concerns about their current job and their potential pregnancy. We ask this question because we know that potential parents are often wondering how a pregnancy will impact their lives financially and vocationally. We want our clients to know that there are resources that can help them navigate through this new season in their lives. One resource to consider is the State of California Employment Development Department's Paid Family Leave.

Did you know that as a pregnant or new mom, the State of California Employment Development Department states that you can receive up to four weeks of Disability Insurance (DI) benefits for a normal pregnancy before your expected due date?  In addition, you can also receive up to six weeks or eight weeks of DI benefits after your delivery to recover from childbirth.

To be eligible for California Paid Family Leave benefits, you must:

  • Have welcomed a new child into the family in the past 12 months either through a partner's pregnancy, adoption, or foster care.
     
  • Have paid into State Disability Insurance (noted as "CASDI" on paystubs) in the past 5 to 18 months.
     
  • Not have taken the maximum six weeks of PFL in the past 12 months.

Fun fact: You can break up your six weeks of leave. You don't have to take it all at once!

Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements for California Paid Family Leave benefits.
The next step after checking your eligibility is to file a claim. You can file a claim online (the fastest option) or by mail.

For more information about California Paid Family Leave, please visit the State of California Employment Development Department website here.

As always, we are here to help you learn about the resources that are provided to you during this unique time in your life. Please feel free to ask us any questions the next time you come in for your appointment or give us a call at 818-626-9400.

 

Read about the different types of abortion in this blog. Open Arms Pregnancy Center provides free pregnancy services in Northridge, CA. Contact us today.

Are you considering the option of abortion after finding out you are unexpectedly pregnant? Reality can seem a bit foggy when dealing with the emotions that come during this time. Know that you don't have to face this journey alone, and you have pregnancy options available to you. Pregnancy education and support are available at the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic today.

What Are the Types of Abortion?

Medication Abortion

Medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is a pregnancy termination method using two different types of abortion drugs, Mifepristone, and Misoprostol. This abortion method is only used for women up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The first drug, Mifepristone (also known as RU-486) is used to block the progesterone pregnancy hormone and prevent the pregnancy from growing. This is followed by Misoprostol, 24-48 hours later, which causes the uterus to empty by making it contract and expel the pregnancy. A follow-up with a medical professional is necessary after a medication abortion.

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is a more invasive process compared to medication abortion. Anesthesia is used during the procedure, and medical instruments are used to open the cervix and to remove all parts of the pregnancy within the uterus. 

What are the Risks of Abortion?

Here are some of the most common side effects and risks of both medication and surgical abortion. These side effects can range from mild to severe.

Possible Medication Abortion Risks:

  • Infection
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding

Possible Surgical Abortion Risks:

  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection
  • Heavy/prolonged bleeding
  • Perforation of the uterus

Learn About Your Options

When going through an unintended pregnancy, you deserve to know about all your pregnancy options. Our team at the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic is here for you. We can sit down with you to answer your questions and offer education about all your pregnancy options.

Confirm your pregnancy with our no-cost clinical pregnancy testing and an ultrasound to know what pregnancy options are available to you.

Schedule a no-cost and confidential appointment today. 

Wisdom. Strength. Adventure. Protection. And a whole lotta Fun! The Open Arms team shares things our dads taught us and the funny things our dads did that created fond memories and that still bring a smile to our face:

Celebrating the Fathers who raised us up

"My dad is the kind of man who is always there to help anyone who needs him.  He so often sets aside his own comfort and ease to jump in whenever and however he is needed." D.H.

"The day my dad brought home a hula hoop and the day he took me down to San Pedro to ride a boat." S.W.

"My dad would always sing songs and tell me stories at bedtime.  Every night, he would pat my back until I fell asleep." P.C.

 "Dad, you held me in your strong arms and told me that God has something good planned for me." G.N.

"I remember my dad joyfully dropping me off and picking me up from kindergarten every day. It meant so much to look up and see him there to get me." S.L.

"My dad has taught me patience, taught me how to drive, how to love by the way he loved my mom unconditionally. It's impossible to try to think about it all without being overwhelmed with tears." D.E.

"I remember standing on his feet while he danced at the bottom of our stairs and then how I would try to hold on tight while he went on to walk up the stairs with me." A.L.

"My dad emptied his pockets of change every night and when the grandchildren came to visit he'd say, "go get a handful." CP

"I remember watching soccer with my dad on Sunday afternoons. We would sit in the living room to watch soccer and he always made us chicken alfredo to eat for lunch." M.P.

 "My dad took me fishing and he invented different snacks for us to have."  D.R.

 "I remember having hair salon time with dad and having him sit in a chair while I would try to pull out all of his white hairs." A.L.

"Hands down I was 5 years old at the Father daughter dance, I felt so beautiful and so proud." M.O.

 "My dad would spend time talking to me to prepare me to be the man of the house." K.W.

"I have fond memories of my dad bringing my mom and I home some of our favorite Mexican food." S.B.

My dad would ask me "who loves you baby?"  I would say "you do" and he would say "don't ever forget it." S.J.

"One of my favorite memories is making shortbread with my dad. To make the dough come together, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance – Qualities he modeled and instilled in me." A.M.

"My father forced me to stand on my own two feet and made me a man." MP

"I remember my dad as a loving dad who wanted to provide for his family the best way he could. He often took in odd jobs in addition to his fulltime job so he can give us more than just the basic necessities." C.J.

"Dad, thank you for being a great father to me.  I know you did your best.  You were a great role model for me too. Thank you for caring and being in my life." KS

Thanks for stopping by, be sure to share your memories of your dad in the comments below.

(If you are unexpectedly facing fatherhood and would like some support, we can help.  Click here for information on our services for fathers.)
 


 

Taking a Fresh Look into 2018

I'm not leaving behind all that I have learned in the previous years that have made me who I am today. No doubt that I am a woman with goals, dreams, and aspirations. We all can lose perspective at times, so let me encourage you that these dreams positively DO have the possibility to thrive through the unexpected. The unexpected phone call, the pop quiz in your World History class, an unexpected break-up, job loss and yes even if the unexpected comes to us in the form of a new little life. There are resources available, so please know that we are just a phone call or a text away in case you find yourself asking "Am I pregnant?"

I cannot count the number of times I felt alone in making some of life's hardest decisions and grasping to find my way through. I could have benefitted from a person to talk to who cares, who understands the decisions that I am faced with, someone to walk me through solutions that I can trust. It is our desire to come alongside you as women and men who are facing an unexpected pregnancy to offer you our resources along with community referrals to support you in the best possible ways. We don't profit from your reproductive choices, we are solely donor supported by people who sincerely care. They make it possible for us to offer you free clinical pregnancy testing and confirmation. In addition, all of our services are free & confidential.

I love the beauty of a rainbow, the colors, the warmth.  For me it represents hope. Like the new year ahead of us, it reminds me of the possibilities and a valuable insight: I have the amazing liberty to embrace the unexpected by being courageous, thoughtful and engaging in light of the pressures that we all face.

To read what others are saying about us, visit our Yelp page. You can also request an appointment here. We look forward to the opportunity to get to know you.

Happy New Year!

Samantha Jackson
Office Administrator

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Can someone be forced to have an abortion? Find out in this blog. Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic provides free pregnancy services in Northridge, CA. Schedule your appointment today.

Can Someone Be Forced to Have an Abortion?

Facing an unplanned pregnancy without the support and help of your family and friends can be incredibly challenging. As you make choices surrounding your pregnancy, it's important to remember that only you have the power to make these crucial decisions.  

If you feel as though you are being pressured into having an abortion, keep reading.

Can someone be forced to have an abortion? 

Many women who are walking through unplanned pregnancies experience pressure from those around them to abort. However, it's vital to remember that nobody — whether it is your parents, doctor, or partner — can force you to have an abortion.  This is true even if you are a minor.

Making a decision under pressure can lead to regret later on.  It's important to find support and help if you are in this situation so you can make the best decision for you.

What options are available in the case of an unplanned pregnancy?

When it comes to an unplanned pregnancy, you have three options — parenting, adoption, and abortion.

What you want to do regarding your pregnancy is entirely up to you and, with the help of your local pregnancy clinic, you can learn more about each option and be empowered to make the choice that's right for you. 

Here at Open Arms, we help educate women with information on all of their options, provide free health services like clinical pregnancy testing and ultrasound scans, and provide resources and referrals to help them feel confident in whatever choice they make. 

What to do if you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy 

An unplanned pregnancy is never easy, especially if you feel like you don't have the support you need. Thankfully, there's help available through your local pregnancy clinic.

Not only will you be met with care and a community of support, but you'll also be able to confirm your pregnancy through no-cost pregnancy testing and an ultrasound scan and access important information on all of your pregnancy options. 

If you are being pressured to terminate your pregnancy, our caring and knowledgeable staff can help you understand your rights, think through how to stand against the pressure, have effective conversations with those who are pressuring you, and find other sources of support and help.

Visit Open Arms for no-cost pregnancy healthcare, education, and options counseling. Schedule your appointment today!

A true story of how I grew up in a wonderful home knowing the love of two parents and knowing the love of a mother I had never met.

A Letter to My Birth Mom

Dear Sharon,

I've never had the chance to truly tell you how your decision to make an adoption plan for me has impacted my life. I know a bit of your story which led to my adoption, and I'd like you to know a bit of mine. Shortly after my birth, I was placed in a loving family that had previously adopted a little girl. They wanted two girls, so I made our family complete. My adoptive mother wanted nothing more than to be a mom, but she was unable to conceive.  She was thrilled to have her little girls and dedicated her life to our care.  She made me clothes, cooked and taught me to bake. In addition, I was the apple of my adoptive father's eye. He taught me about camping and fishing. They both supported me in my interests. I always knew I was adopted and that I had a birth mother who was so beautifully self-less that she made the difficult choice to give me a family and home that she was unable to provide.  This is the gift that you gave me, and I know it must have been very difficult since you were unwed and pregnant. I want to thank you for valuing me enough to withstand all those difficult moments and feelings. Because of your act of love, I grew up in a wonderful home knowing the love of two parents and knowing the love of a mother who I had never met. I was proud of being adopted, that I had a unique story with more than one mother; both are equally important in the life given to me, how I perceive the world and the life that I have led.  Thank you, Sharon for being an incredible mother to me in a way that mattered most. I treasure who you are and I am blessed that my life began with you.


Love,

Monica
 

If you have experienced pregnancy or neonatal loss, you are not alone

Pregnancy Loss Support

If you have experienced a pregnancy loss or neonatal loss you may be feeling pain that is difficult for others to understand. At Open Arms, we want you to know that you are not alone. One of the resources we always share with our clients who have experienced pregnancy or neonatal loss is In Loving Arms. In Loving Arms is a six-week support class that comes alongside hurting mothers and fathers and helps them heal and find comfort. Over the course of the six weeks of classes you will explore tough questions together with others who are also going through loss and hear testimonies from mothers and fathers who have found healing after the loss of their baby.

Tony and Kat shared, "This support came at a much-needed time in our life. It provided a safe place for us to grieve and heal alongside other hurting moms and dad."

Find out more about In Loving Arms and register for their next 6-week session. You can also reach out to them through the contact form on their site.

This past year In Loving Arms planned a Wave of Light event to gather the community of those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. During this special event, parents who lost their babies came together and wrote down their babies' names and displayed them on a board together to honor their children. They also held candles together as they reflected and remembered their little ones.

In addition to In Loving Arms, another resource we point clients to is the website Miscarriagehurts.com. On this website, you will find helpful information including:

  • Exploring emotions as an important part of working through the loss of your child
  • Identifying losses and putting a name to them to help bring relief
  • Building support and reaching out to others to receive help
  • Telling your story to help you grieve
  • Identifying unhealthy behaviors and receiving resources to help with specific unhealthy behaviors that may develop

Again, at Open Arms we want you to know that you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to or would like to find help, please feel free to contact our office at 818-626-9400.

Choosing adoption is a big step for any woman. Whether you are a single mom struggling with finances or other life circumstances, adoption could be a great fit.

Making an Adoption Plan

Adoption takes strength, but it brings great opportunity for you and your child. If you are considering this option, here is more information about making an adoption plan.

What Is an Adoption Plan?

Creating an adoption plan gives you a clear path of action. It brings clarity to what you want for you and your child in the future. Taking the time to create a plan can ease the stress of the process and prepare you for the difficult questions that could come later on. It's important to note that what you initially decide for your adoption plan could change later on and that's ok. 

Types of Adoption

Making an adoption plan will be based on how much contact you want with your child and the adoptive family. Think over what type of adoption would best fit your family and the type of connection you want with your child.

Open Adoption

The most popular type of adoption is called an "open adoption." Open adoption allows you as the birth mom to be in regular contact with your child. You will review adoptive family profiles to see which one is the best fit and then select which family you want for your child. Though there are still some guidelines with open adoption, you ultimately get to decide what kind of relationship you build over time with your child. That's the beauty of this type of adoption.

Closed Adoption

Though less popular, closed adoption is completely ok if this is more comfortable for you. There are times in life where you are not in the right place to take care of a child and are struggling to take care of yourself. A closed adoption allows an adoption agency to handle all the adoption details and choose a family for you. With this type of adoption, you will have no contact with your child or the adoptive family, unless they try to connect with you after they turn 18.

Semi-Open Adoption

This type of adoption is exactly like it sounds. It falls somewhere between an open and closed adoption, allowing you flexibility to determine what level of contact, communication, and relationship is best for you and your child. You'll work these details out with the adoption agency.

Is Adoption Right for Me?

We know how hard making a decision for you and your child's future can be. If you don't feel ready or capable to parent, adoption could be the option for you. Before you decide, take your time to talk to someone you trust.

If you need help understanding all your pregnancy options and want to learn more about adoption, feel free to reach out to us. We would love to support you in your pregnancy journey. You are not alone.

Schedule an Appointment

Schedule a no-cost and confidential consultation with our compassionate team today.

Photo by Eric O. IBEKWEM on Unsplash

Graduate high school, go to college, find a job, get married, and have babies — this is the sequence of a successful life many people envision for their future. But what happens when things don't go as planned?

Can I graduate high school if I am pregnant?

It's important to remember that what might feel like an insurmountable hurdle may simply be a new part of your journey. This journey can be as beautiful and fulfilling as the one you've imagined for yourself.

Finding out you're pregnant can definitely feel like one of those hurdles, especially if you're still in high school. Thankfully, however, completing high school while pregnant or parenting is absolutely possible.

Here at Open Arms, we're passionate about empowering women facing unplanned pregnancies to accomplish their goals. Whether you're looking to graduate high school, attend college, or get your dream job, we're here to help you think through how to make that happen.

Check out these helpful tips below on how to graduate high school while navigating pregnancy and beyond. 

Understand your rights as a pregnant student

If you just found out you're pregnant, questions are likely swarming in your mind. From wondering what fellow students will say, to questioning if you should even go back to school at all, these thoughts and questions can feel overwhelming.

As you seek answers to these questions and make the choices that are best for you and your pregnancy, it's important to understand your legal rights as a pregnant student.

According to federal law (Title IX), public schools at all levels must provide provisions for pregnant women to be able to graduate while pregnant or parenting. Not only does this provision protect you from harassment or discrimination based on your pregnancy or parenting status, but it also details special accommodations to make it easier for you to accomplish your goals while pregnant.

These accommodations include allowing for you to participate in extracurricular activities and special programs, providing you with elevator access, frequent restroom breaks, and a larger desk, giving you an excused absence due to pregnancy or childbirth, and more. 

To learn more about how your school will work with you during this time, schedule a time to talk to your school counselor and make a plan to meet your goals.

Build a support team around you

When facing an unplanned pregnancy in high school, having a supportive community will serve as a life-line when you need extra help.

Consider tapping into these groups for help when you need it:

Family and Friends

Find specific people within your friend group or family who you know will be there to champion you and support you when you're tired, frustrated, or discouraged. It's important to surround yourself with positive influences and encouraging people who will lift you up and inspire you to achieve your goals.

Mentors and Other Supportive Adults

In addition to your supportive friends and family members, it can be nice to have adults outside your family to advocate for you in different ways. Whether it's a school counselor, a teacher, or someone else in your community, find a few supportive adults who you can trust and go to for advice and help in times of need.

Your Local Pregnancy Clinic

Your local pregnancy clinic is an amazing resource for additional help and support. Pregnancy clinics provide no-cost medical services, education, physical resources, and a listening ear to women like you.

Make a plan that works for you

Almost every goal in life requires a plan to achieve it. Graduating high school while pregnant or parenting is highly achievable, it just takes a bit of extra planning.

We recommend working with a few people from your supportive community to put together an actionable plan to achieve your goal and stay on track

Your plan might include items like:

  • Getting in touch with your local pregnancy clinic to learn more about your pregnancy and the support and resources available to you
  • Working with a school counselor to figure out if/when you'll need to make up missed work based on your due date
  • Joining a support group for teen moms to connect with other pregnant students
  • Signing up for courses on parenting and finances offered at your local pregnancy clinic

Pregnancy and college

Whether you're about to graduate high school or are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in the middle of your university years, graduating with a college degree is still very much a possibility.

For college students experiencing unplanned pregnancies, visit your local pregnancy clinic for no-cost pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and more. Your Case Manager at Open Arms will walk alongside you and empower you to achieve your goals during this new season of life.

Schedule an appointment today

Are you experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and looking for no-cost medical services and other resources, Open Arms is here to help. All of our services are confidential and designed to empower you to pursue your dreams and make informed, confident choices for your future.

Schedule your no-cost appointment today.  

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Our world has been on quite the emotional rollercoaster with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting hard. While anxiety and depression have spiked with the unknowns of the pandemic, pregnant women with COVID-19 have even more emotions to work through.

How to find emotional support while pregnant with COVID-19

According to NCBI, the prevalence of mental disorders among pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic are high, especially women in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. There are ways to receive emotional help.

Pregnancy already brings mood swings, morning sickness, and body changes. We want to give you some tips on finding emotional support while pregnant with COVID-19 and how to navigate it well. Get the help you need to stay strong emotionally throughout your pregnancy.

Manage Your Stress

Stress is normal, but how you manage it is what counts most. Less stress is better for both you and your baby. This is why it's so essential to eliminate any extra burdens or worries that could be affecting you emotionally and physically. Some great ways to manage stress and emotional well-being with COVID-19 are:

  • Stay active (short walks or even stretching)
    -Physical health affects your mental health, so it's important to stay active as much as your doctor advises while pregnant with COVID-19. This can majorly reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Maintain good sleep
    -Getting enough sleep is vital to keeping your immune system in good shape. Wind down 1-2 hours before going to bed and maintain a consistent sleep schedule for the best sleep. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your sleep rhythm.
  • Stay in contact with your doctor
    -Remaining connected with your doctor can bring peace of mind and ease any stress that COVID-19 and pregnancy bring. Alert your doctor of any worsening symptoms like difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain, blue lips of face, confusion, or trouble staying awake.

Connect With Family & Friends

Keeping a close connection with people you do life with and trust can do a lot to lift your spirits while pregnant with COVID-19. Let them help when you need it most, and update them on how you are feeling emotionally and physically. Social connection can also reduce anxiety and depression, help regulate emotions, and improve your immune system (cmha). Reaching out for help is never something to be ashamed of.

A Virtual Pregnancy Support Group

While it's more challenging to meet in person these days, virtual support groups are growing in popularity as people desire connection. This is a great way to find emotional support while pregnant with COVID-19. It can give you the extra support you're looking for. A support group with other pregnant women can:

  • Provide assurance that you are not alone
  • Let you receive empathy with how you are feeling
  • Give you inspiration from others' stories

If you need parenting support, our team at Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic offers free pregnancy classes to help you prepare for your newborn. We would love to talk more about your needs and help in any way we can.

Schedule a free appointment with us today.

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash