Pregnant and Feeling Useless

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I lost my job last September and haven’t had one since. I was enjoying the time off for a while, but then found out I was pregnant a few months later. I didn’t resume looking for work because my pregnancy has been considered high-risk due to previous miscarriages. I did not want to jeopardize this pregnancy by working. My boyfriend and I lost our house b/c it was in serious disrepair and we are now staying with my boyfriend’s uncle in a 1 bedroom house. I don’t have my car b/c it won’t pass inspection and we don’t have the money to get it fixed. My boyfriend works all day almost every day and hates it. I sit at home and do nothing. He hates that too, and so do I. It causes arguments between us and I feel so tense all the time, like I should be doing something, but I have no clue what to do with myself. I feel expected to do things, but without being able to work, I feel incredibly unproductive and useless. Can you provide helpful suggestions for overcoming this situation? I’m worried that it will ruin my relationship eventually.

A: At 23, you have more troubles than anyone should at any age. I’m so very sorry. I hope you and your boyfriend and the uncle all agree that the most important thing you can do right now is take care of yourself so you will have a healthy baby. It may seem like the pregnancy is lasting forever but it will end. That I can promise. In the meantime, there are things you can do to contribute to the family and to get ready for the next stage in your lives.

Your boyfriend works all day so doesn’t have the time, especially in business hours, to look for the practical help that may be available for you. You wrote to us so either you have a computer or you use one at the library. Go online and look into such help as fuel assistance, food stamps, and rent subsidies. Find out if you are eligible to use the local food pantry. Look into what kind of medical care is available for you and the coming baby. In short, find out what your community offers people like yourselves who are in a bad way through no fault of their own. The economy has put lots of people in the same boat. You may find that there is more help out there than you think.

In addition, you could go online and take some online classes in order to improve your skills so you are more employable once the baby is born. You don’t need to spend thousands on college courses. Anything that adds to your knowledge about your field of work will help you build a more impressive resume. Just type “free online courses” in the search box of your browser and you’ll find hundreds of interesting classes.

If your computer skills aren’t the best, put in some time to practice such things as using the basic Microsoft Office programs and Photoshop. Having more skills may help you get a better job when you are ready to do so. In addition, look into whether your community has free classes you can take.

You may be “benched” while you wait for your baby but even people on the bench can help improve the team’s situation or better themselves. Schedule part of every day to be productive and you will both make a contribution and feel better about yourself.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Pregnant and Feeling Useless. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/03/22/pregnant-and-feeling-useless/