Real Talk: When You Experience An Unplanned Pregnancy

Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. Intentions may be in the right place. Goals are set and plans are made. And then life happens, and an unplanned pregnancy can occur.

Literally. The process of bringing life into this beautiful world isn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows. (Don’t get me wrong, it can be!) But occasionally there’s more to the story that makes things challenging. Because not every baby I deliver was planned and prepared for ahead of time. And not every new momma I see experiences life after the baby is born the same way. 

If you’ve seen the season 4 finale of “Insecure,” you know what I’m talking about. (Yes, prepare your heart for spoilers ahead!)

First of all, I adore this show. It’s one of my absolute favorites right now for so many reasons. I love the characters, their relationships, and would agree with those in my circle who see it as a peek into the Black millennial experience.

After watching the stories unfold for the past four seasons, my immediate reaction to the shocking end of the season was how overwhelmingly sad I felt for Issa. The girl has been through it in her relationships, and just when it seemed like things were turning around – her long-time boyfriend, turned ex-boyfriend, turned boyfriend again – otherwise known as Lawrence – got walloped with some game-changing news.

I’m experiencing an unplanned pregnancy

Enter Condola, who became friends with Issa, and dated Lawrence while he and Issa were not together. And her baby. She’s pregnant and she’s keeping it and told Lawrence that he could be as involved (or not) as he would like but her mind is made up.

Elsewhere on the show, Tiffany and Derek are a few weeks into parenthood after the birth of their child. They wanted to have children, but the timing wasn’t ideal and that has taken its own emotional toll. 

The fact that “Insecure” embraces these issues, candidly integrating them into the plot is what sets this show apart. Why? Because when about half of the pregnancies in the US each year are unplanned, these conversations need to be had.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that unintended pregnancy rates are even higher among women who:

  • Are 18 to 24 years old
  • Have low income (less than 100 percent of federal poverty level)
  • Have not completed high school
  • Are non-Hispanic black or African American
  • Are cohabiting but not married.

Is intention of pregnancy linked to postpartum depression?

What happens next for Condola, Lawrence, and Issa remains to be seen in season 5, but throughout season 4 Tiffany shed some light on what it’s like to navigate postpartum depression.

Research by the National Institute of Health indicates PPD  can be triggered by hormonal changes and occurs in about 15 percent of births. Anxiety, sadness, insomnia, and disturbing thoughts are all common in women with PPD, and can become very serious if not treated with care. 

The signs of Tiffany’s struggle were there, but not even her husband realized how deep the feelings ran until her disappearance in the season 4 finale. 

Research varies on whether or not there is an association between pregnancy intention and PPD, but it could be part of the much bigger story behind Tiffany’s unannounced vacay to the local Sheraton.

When things don’t go as planned

I appreciate how the cast came together to find her and please don’t misunderstand – I’m not happy that our bougie friend Tiffany is working through this hard thing. However, I am happily surprised by how well the topic integrates with the story of the show, exploring an incredibly important issue so many women worth through. 

I think that gets to the heart and soul of why I thought all of this was worth sharing with you. Because things don’t always go according to plan. Life happens and babies are born and sometimes the challenges associated with those things are lost in the shuffle. 

I am secure in saying that’s not the case on “Insecure,” to which I say bravo for having the tough conversations, now more than ever.

If you want to chat about the show, or perhaps more importantly, if you are having or have had an unplanned pregnancy or think you may have PPD, I’m here for you.