Monthly Archives: January 2016

Coping with an unexpected pregnancy

As any person living with HIV knows, it is always a balancing act to keep your health on an even keel. For some, the littlest gust of wind can disrupt the balance while for others, it might take some mighty waves to push the keel over. I had a mighty wave situation of my own a couple months ago when I found out I was pregnant. With or without being HIV positive, I had made up my mind a long time ago that I never wanted children. To hear that I was now expecting one shocked me to my very core (I think I blacked out for a second). I’ll be honest, my first thought after I received the news was how soon could I get an abortion (the nurse had just left the room). I was more than willing to throw in the towel and give up, not even try. Telling my boyfriend, the father of the baby, was not easy but I knew that he had to have some say-so in the decision-making process. He was very ecstatic and excited, according to him he’s always wanted to be a father. Having his support and encouragement meant a lot to me because I was not ready or prepared to do it on my own. It still has taken awhile for it to sink in that I’m actually going to have a baby, and that my nice, peaceful, orderly life will change forever. It took a lot of deep thinking and soul-searching, but I finally came to the conclusion that it was time to stop living for myself and time to live for somebody else for a change.

There is still a big part of me that is disappointed in myself for not protecting myself better, there is also that fear of actually carrying and having a child, and uncertainty as to what the future now holds. Thankfully, my health is probably the best it’s ever been, and my viral load has been undetectable for quite a number of years. All this will keep the baby safe from contracting the virus. Of course my pregnancy is still classified as high-risk because of my positive status, but everything seems to be going well so far. I can now say that I’m honestly excited for this next stage in my life, unexpected and unplanned as it was. I know this baby is going to have lots of love from the many wonderful women that are in my life. I know that I will always have unconditional support, encouragement, and love when needed. I am extremely thankful for everybody’s kind well-wishes and their concern about my health. I am really looking forward to sharing this journey with all of you!!

Pay It Forward

It’s a new year! “What you can do for others in 2016?”. Here are some of our ideas:

“Become more involved as an advocate in the HIV field- advocate for women and others living with HIV.”

“Educate and advocate. Educate the unknowing- especially in rural Central Florida.”

“Try to get more women to come to meetings and spread LTAI to other counties.”

“Helping others balance mind, body, and spirit.”

“I expect to get to know others and the women in the group. Communicate with my pen pals.”

“Help with changing HIV criminalization laws.”

One of the LTAI ladies explained her notable motto, Pay It Forward. It is an inspiring way of thinking about why we need to serve others. Here are some of her sentiments:

“I want to give back to others. When I first found out that I was diagnosed HIV positive, because of the lack of research available on the virus, some health professionals were afraid to touch me. But there were those very few who still treated me like a human being- which made living with this virus okay. If we can focus on achieving optimal mind, body, and spirit, we can be in a better place where we can help women and potentially be a domino effect for the good. Paying it forward.”

In the New Year, how will you pay it forward?

2016 is OUR year!

Resolutions, new beginnings, and a fresh start- it’s that time of year!

We started out this year asking ourselves: “What are some expectations you have set for yourself in the new year?” Here are some of our reflections:

“To take care of me first.”

“Practicing yoga, being more positive about life. Focusing on the mind, body, and spirit- helping my fellow women who are living with this illness.”

“Go back to school.”

“To love myself more, to love others more, to help more, to stay positive, to smile more, to journal efficiently, talk more, laugh more, share more, face advocacy with an open heart, and try to work on my disclosure in a way that represents others, as well as myself without feeling guilty.”

“Form healthy habits in my emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.”

One theme that seemed to resonate with all of us this New Year is that they were committed to putting ourselves first!

Before an airplane takes flight, the flight attendants go over emergency procedures. If the plane has an emergency, they always advise you to put your oxygen mask on first, before you can help others to put theirs on. You have to help yourself in order to help others.

In this New Year, what will you do for yourself first?