As some of you may have noticed, we've often spent a considerable amount of our very limited resources, time and energy counseling some users through pregnancy scares when there hasn't actually been any viable risk of pregnancy. For example, with users afraid of pregnancy because of oral sex, because of using a public or shared toilet, because of an actual risk that happened, but happened many months ago and was since followed with negative pregnancy tests or a healthcare provider ruling out pregnancy.
We feel for people who are suffering from anxiety, who have any kind of pervasive fear, including the fear of pregnancy, but we also need to make sure that we're using our time and energy wisely as an organization, and to prevent staff burnout, but also to best serve our users.
It's not in anyone's best interest--and that includes the users--to spend many days or weeks trying to convince someone that a risk-that-wasn't wasn't a risk, or counseling through many pregnancy scares that aren't realistic.
We have also found that some users in these situations tend to overstep boundaries or lines we draw repeatedly, which is a real problem for everyone, one we need to remedy for all of our sakes.
So, here's the scoop.
1) Anyone concerned about a pregnancy risk needs to first start here or here, and please give weight to what you read there. If one or both of those pieces makes clear that what you thought was a risk really wasn't, understand that you need to accept that as the information we give, and know that if you ask one or more of us on the boards, the information we are going to give you isn't going to differ from that information.
If you would like help parsing out what you learned in these articles, just ask. However, please bring something to the table. You might, for example, summarize what you've learned and check with us to see if you've missed anything--kind of like making study notes before a test or exam in school. Or perhaps have a question about one specific thing that you've read. Just know, again, that those articles give the same information we will.
2) Anyone who reads those and determines they really haven't had a risk, but still feels scared about pregnancy, or who we've already talked through a risk and determined, via our experience and expertise, was not actually at risk, can consider the following next steps:
a) Talk with us to figure out what's really going on and why you're scared of pregnancy when it's not possible or at all likely. We're certainly happy to try and help you get to why you're really feeling like you are and help you find ways of dealing with whatever that is. That said, we need to reiterate that when we set boundaries here, we expect our users to respect them, just like we work hard to respect the boundaries our users set with us. There are some things we are capable of helping with, others we aren't, and others where we may determine we're just not the best or most qualified people to help with a given issue.
b) Take a next step and see a healthcare provider about the scare, to get another test for pregnancy (or an initial one) and to get a second opinion on if the risk we are certain or very certain wasn't a real risk. If you think you're having scares because of underlying anxiety, depression, other mental health issues, or interpersonal issues like an unhealthy sexual relationship or abuse in your family, this can also be a solid first step to get qualified help with those issues.
3) Please remember our three-strikes rule around pregnancy scares explained in the board registration, too. To review, any time a user comes to us for help through a scare and we advise them on steps to either better prevent pregnancy or manage scares and a user isn't willing to try and take those steps, we will no longer discuss any pregnancy scares with that user. That assures all our community members get served and given equal time, but is also important to assure we're not just enabling a user in choices that obviously aren't serving them well.
Lastly, another line around this we really need to draw is about pregnancy testing.
If a user wants us to talk them through a scare but is not willing to test for pregnancy, ever, we need to just step away. We simply cannot ever determine if someone is pregnant or not via reported possible symptoms or possible risks: only a pregnancy test used at home or one done by a healthcare provider can do that reliably. We're always happy to help a user find a way to get tested, but we will be holding a line of not counseling through an ongoing scare if a user is unwilling to do what they need to do for themselves to manage that.
Thanks so much.
[ 05-15-2012, 02:36 PM: Message edited by: Robin Lee ]
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 65663 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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