My Life. My Plan: Women
What do you want out of life?
A happy and healthy life is something we all have the power to create. The decisions you make every day can help you achieve a healthier tomorrow. Putting together a Life Plan is a great way to know yourself better and make the best choices for the life you want.
What is a Life Plan?
Having a Life Plan helps you make important choices in your life.
Your life is just that ... yours! You decide the path your life will take, and creating a plan can help. A life plan is a way for you to think through your health goals, plan for the future, and make healthy decisions. It can be used as an outline to provide guidance on how to maintain good health or a tool that can be reviewed with your health care provider to manage chronic health conditions. Life planning helps you identify and reach your personal health goals whether you ever intend to have a child or not.
Choose goals that you want to set for yourself. Then set your target dates to reach those goals. Take your time when writing out your plan. Keep it in a safe and handy place so you can easily refer to it whenever you need to. Place it in a journal, make it a part of your daily affirmations, and you could even show it to your health care provider at your next visit. It’s important to share your plan with people who can help you achieve your goals. Ready to get started?
- Your goals will inspire you to do the work every day
- Your goals will be measurable, be specific, and have a deadline
- Your goals will get you a step closer to getting what you want out of life!
Cierra talks about how to be proactive with your maternal health.
Reproductive Life Plan
A Reproductive Life Plan is a set of goals you can make about having or not having children. Now, later, or never? The answer to this key question may influence your other choices. It’s based on your own values and resources. It can change over time — and that is okay. Your health matters now. Helping women be healthy and change behavior before pregnancy is part of the solution of lessening unplanned pregnancies.
First, educate yourself on your Reproductive Cycle.
Learning about your body can help you understand the changes that it will go through during womanhood.
Next, ask yourself this key question: Do you want to have children someday?
- Do you want to be pregnant in the next year? Next 5 years?
How many years would you like there to be between children?Remember to wait 18 months between pregnancies.
Do you have a plan to prevent pregnancy until you’re ready?
- What birth control methods are you/will you be using? Remember to always practice safe sex.
- Have you considered not having sex?
Take time to think about what you want to do.
What are the ways you can get it done? For example, if you want to start a family, you need to take care of your health — physically, emotionally, relationally, and environmentally. You need to set goals, make a plan, and talk to your health care provider. You will also need enough money to financially support yourself and your baby, so you may need to go back to school or look for a higher-paying job. Take your time and ask for help. Think through different scenarios based on what you want and your goals, so you are prepared for when the time comes to start a family.
If you got pregnant before you were ready, what would you do?
Get Healthy Now
Health is more than just about your body; it is about your mind, the relationships you have with people, and your environment. To start your life plan, it’s essential to think about each area of your life, from physical to social, and every area in between. In the following section, we’ve broken up wellness into five categories: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental. Take it slow; it’s okay to think about one section at a time! Creating a life plan should be fun and a time to learn more about yourself.
In Delaware, only 55% of women indicated their pregnancy was planned.
Why is this dangerous? Because 3 days after you miss a period, your unborn baby can be affected by your health habits, so getting healthy before pregnancy is key. That means you may not even know you’re pregnant yet, but if you’re drinking alcohol, smoking, or using drugs, you can harm your baby. It’s better when a woman plans her pregnancy for her health and for the health of her baby.
Your Future: Have you ever thought about what your life will be like five years from now?
Be starting a family? Yes or no?
Be in a committed relationship?
Be continuing your education or finishing school?
Have your dream job? Would you have gotten a promotion or a raise in your workplace by now?
Feel fulfilled in the work you are doing?
Be financially stable to support yourself when it comes to paying for things such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical insurance?
Be living on your own in a safe environment?
Be traveling? Will you live in another state?
Be the person you have always wanted to be by staying true to what you believe in?
Create your plan.
Now that you have an idea of the type of goals you can make for the life you want to live, you need to put together a timeline. When do you want to accomplish your goals? It’s okay to change the date as it gets close; the point is to work toward your goal every day. This can help you plan for your future self and any future family.
Write everything out and organize it. You may even want to type up your plan and print it to hang on your wall or inside your closet. This way, you see your plan every day. You can also show it to your health care provider at your next visit. It’s important to discuss your Life Plan with people who can help you achieve your goals.
Here’s a list of some of the main things we’ve addressed — some will help you now, all will affect your future.
- Be informed about my reproductive cycle.
- Decide if and when I want a family.
- Schedule and attend my annual well-woman visit.
- Talk to my health care provider about birth control.
- Talk to my provider about any health conditions.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, 5 or more days a week.
- Start to eat better. (MyPlate.gov offers great ideas for healthy eating.)
- Take a multivitamin with folic acid every day.
- Make sure my vaccinations are up to date.
- Ask my parents and other family members about their own health and what problems I could inherit from them.
- Build healthy and safe relationships with myself, partners, friends, and family members.
- Get help if I feel anxious, feel depressed, or feel like hurting myself. (The Delaware Helpline is a free service that can help you. Call 1-800-464-HELP or dial 2-1-1 or ask your health care provider.)
- Get help now if someone is physically or mentally abusing me. (The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a 24-hour domestic violence hotline. If you live in Kent or Sussex County, call 302-422-8058. If you live in New Castle County, call 302-762-6110. If you live in Northern Kent County, call 302-678-3886.)
- Live in a healthy and safe environment.
- Finish high school or enroll in a school that can help me get started on a career that will make me happy.
- Put together a financial plan to help me understand how much money it will take for me to live the life I want.
- Be sure to make and keep regular appointments with my health care provider and dentist.
- Be sure make a promise to myself to stay healthy physically, emotionally, and socially.
Knowing your goals and values can guide your decision-making process. Stick to what you believe in, what you want out of life, and what type of person you wish to be for your own health and/or for the health of your future child — if you wish to have one. You have the power to be informed and make your own choices in your own life. Become your own advocate. Every decision you plan now can help guide you in what you want and need to live a healthier and happy life!
If you do not feel safe in your relationship or at home for any reason, you can get help! The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a 24-hour domestic violence hotline. If you live in Sussex or Kent county, call 302-422-8058. If you live in Northern Kent County, call 302-678-3886. If you live in New Castle County, call 302-762-6110. If you are thinking about hurting yourself or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, call 1-800-262-9800 or visit Delaware’s Contact Lifeline.
Need help with something that can’t wait? Whether it’s housing, health insurance, diapers, or another urgent need, Help Me Grow at Delaware 2-1-1 is a free one-stop call center to answer questions or get you the help you need. Contact Delaware 2-1-1 or text your ZIP code to 898211 now!
Breaking Down Barriers
Below are resources and outside services that can help.
Create healthy, safe communities with this woman-to-woman movement. The program arms young adults with the tools to educate others about African Americans’ disproportionately high infant mortality rates.
Everything you need to know to prevent, test, and treat chronic diseases.
Help for adults in Delaware who want to quit smoking.
Show Your Love
Show Your Love is a national campaign designed to promote well-being and support young adults as they strive to achieve their goals and make healthy lifestyle choices today.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Your online source for credible preconception health information.
Healthy Mom and Baby
Tips and resources about healthy moms and babies.
March of Dimes
Dedicated to the health of moms and babies.
USDA Choose My Plate
For helpful nutritional information
The Office of Women's Health
Resources for Women’s Health and Emotional Wellness.