So you’re undocumented and have just found out that you are pregnant. Maybe you are scared and uncertain about what you should do for yourself and your unborn child. Here are 5 things my wife and I did, that will help you navigate this new chapter in your life:
- Don’t panic. My wife’s pregnancy was unplanned, so naturally we were both freaked out when we learned about it. At the time, we were both weeks away from being deported. The doctors’ offices and hospitals we called for help and advice were as useless as my appendix. One nurse even suggested that my wife hang tight for 9 months and then hobble into the nearest hospital after her water broke. Thank God we didn’t take her boneheaded advice!
- Apply for CHIP. The CHIP I mean is really not related to a computer, a potato, or a cartoon character. It’s actually a form of health insurance for children who come from low or no income families. Applying and qualifying for it (they don’t really care about your immigration status) will enable you go for checkups and deliver your child without having to pay a cent. Here is a site you can use to find the Health Insurance programs that your state has: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/state/index.html
- Pick an insurance company. After you apply for CHIP and they determine you are eligible, they will send you paperwork to enroll in CHIP. They’ll also include a list of insurance companies that carry CHIP as a health plan. The insurance company you pick will determine which doctor you can get. Pick the one that suits your needs.
- Pick a Doctor. Once you find a doctor who takes the insurance you fancy, call them to confirm that they take that insurance and if they do, set up an appointment.
- Enroll in WIC. WIC stands for Women Infants and Children. It is a supplemental program. It will not take care of your entire grocery bill but it will help provide nutritious food for you and your child. This government program has been a lifesaver, especially after our child was born. With WIC’s help my wife and I are able to get free Formula and baby food for our daughter, Pookie. Our local WIC office has a staff who have offered my wife really good classes (both online and onsite), advice, and tips on how to care for herself and our child. Google WIC + your city to find your local WIC office.
Simply put, your next move now is to find a doctor, and enroll in CHIP and WIC as you await the coming of your child.