One way to know if your relationship is healthy is by asking yourself if these key qualities of a healthy relationship align with your relationship. These qualities not only apply to romantic relationships, but can be applied to friendships and families as well.
- Trust. Trust is many times the first quality that needs to be established before any more of the relationship can build. To know if your relationship has trust, we first need to look at what trust is. The Cambridge dictionary defines trust as believing that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable. Trusting someone is a big step. Knowing they are safe and want the best for you is essential to a healthy relationship. Trust is not something that can be established overnight. Trust should be built on honest, open conversations with each other. This doesn’t mean you need to give everything you have to this person. Trust is also built on boundaries and having respect for each other’s boundaries. This trust needs to go both ways. Of course, trust can be broken but this leads to another key quality.
- Forgiveness. A lot of times forgiveness seems like an act that is for someone else. But in reality, forgiveness can be a freeing and amazing act for yourself too. The amazing thing about forgiveness is it allows you to be free from whatever hurt someone caused you. True forgiveness is releasing someone in your heart. What they did no longer has the right to cause pain and bitterness. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not reconciliation. It is recognizing the other person did something wrong and steps need to be taken to reestablish the trust once built. Even if trust isn’t completely back to where it used to be, forgiveness is not holding bitterness against that person who hurt you and treating them with love and kindness.
- Kindness. Kindness seems simple but sometimes can be very hard to give, especially in times when others need it the most. One reason kindness is hard is because it is a selfless act. Acting in true kindness means you are giving and not looking to receive anything in return. Kindness involves a lot of grace; grace for others knowing that you also have you own faults and are going to fail them just as they have failed you. A lot of times grace is shown in kindness. Kindness can be shown in many ways from small acts, big gestures, or simply forgiving.
- Patience. Being patient with others is one way you can show them love. To be patient with someone, you need to have love and respect for that person. Being patient with someone can keep you from saying or doing something you may regret. Sometimes patience means biting your tongue and waiting, waiting for the other person to make the change you’ve been waiting on. When waiting on someone, it’s easy to pick out their bad qualities and criticize everything they do. Instead, it’s important to let go of any resentment you have in your heart and be thankful the qualities in them you appreciate the most.
- Support. Relationships that support each other push each other to be better. Whether this is spiritually, career focused, or physically. A relationship that is supportive doesn’t condemn when someone fails, but encourages and fights with that person to keep going. Supportive relationships build each other up, not tear each other down. Supporting someone can mean helping your partner see their goals and encouraging them even when it seems impossible. Sometimes supporting each other can bring about a tangible response such as running errands, cooking a meal, or providing childcare to help them reach their goal.
It is impossible for a relationship to be perfect, but a healthy relationship does not consist of many things. When you care about someone deeply, it is sometimes hard to see how they may be hurting you. There are some qualities of a relationship that are red flags and point to an abusive relationship. Some of these signs include:
- Telling you that you never do anything right.
- Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spend away from them.
- Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family, or peers.
- Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
- Preventing you from making your own decisions.
- Controlling finances.
- Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
- Intimidating you through threatening looks or acts.
- Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
- Intimidating you with weapons.
- Destroying your belongings.
If you are experiencing even one of these behaviors, it is important to get help. If you are in immediate danger, you can call the National domestic violence hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788.Learn More
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill
Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
In this day of social media, comparing ourselves to others is hard to escape. This is especially true when it comes to the most important job of all- being a mom!
One pass through Facebook, Instagram or the local park will have you feeling like you could never measure up to all the other “perfect” moms out there. Whether you are pregnant or have four kiddos whirling around you, comparisons to others, added to our own unrealistic expectations, can make us feel less than adequate and can rob us of the joy in this important job of developing these tiny humans into fully functioning adults!
Here are a few things to remember as a parent:
- Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and extend grace to yourself! Remind yourself of the end goal.
- One bad day (when you have lost it too many times to count) does not define you as a parent.
- Children are resilient especially when they know that you love them and want the best for them.
- “This too shall pass” are four little words that can get you through most stages or situations with your kids that are especially trying.
Focus on What you can Control
Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to become the best mother for your children:
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Care deeply about what is best for your kids not how others see you or think about you.
- Act and react with love and kindness on your child’s behalf, and when you blow it, be quick to ask for forgiveness. Kids will learn more from this than anything else you do!
- Ask for help, ask for wisdom, ask for prayer from others who have walked the road of motherhood! We are all in this together!
- Practice being grateful. Thankfulness for even the little things like fixing a snack, folding another load of laundry, or tucking a toddler in at the end of a long day can be a game changer when it comes to our attitudes and mental health.
Go Easy On Yourself
Being a mom is hard work, but trying to be a “perfect” mom is REALLY hard work! The love you have for your child will cover a multitude of the mistakes that you will surely make over the years while parenting. It is good to realize that children are not the only ones who are growing and developing!
As parents, we can also grow into people with more patience, grace, forgiveness, flexibility and love. The journey of parenting little ones can seem unending, but it will be over before you know it! Savor the great privilege! Remember, you are the perfect mother for your child!
Find Encouragement When You Need It
Could you benefit from encouragement, wisdom, and tools for your parenting journey? Check out the Every Family parenting program. During your time in the program, you’ll meet one-on-one with a parenting coach and dive in to relevant topics for your family.
In addition, after each session, you will earn points that can be used to shop in our clothing closet which is stocked with baby items including diapers, wipes, equipment items, clothing, and more! Contact the office closest to you for more information.
Although some of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, many of us are still staying home and spending a majority of time with our immediate family. We know that this season of mandated togetherness has brought on added responsibility for some parents as they stepped into the role of being their children’s in-person teachers. For other families, it has brought on an extra tension at home as they navigate sibling conflicts and stressed out kids.
Maybe for the first time, your family had to learn how to be together-all day, every day, sunrise to sunset. We get that it has been a challenge and will probably continue to be as we continue to move through this time of COVID. That being said, we would like to offer you some thoughtful encouragement as the time of distance learning turns to summer.
Reflect on the Past Few Months
- Look around you, at your home and family and give yourself a pat on the back. Even if it has been incredibly hard, your family has come a long way in being together! Sure, it probably hasn’t been perfect but that is okay! What is one way your family has grown together in the last few months that has surprised you?
- Even if it didn’t always seem like it, your kids did learn something during all this distance learning. They learned new tech skills, how to engage with classmates virtually and adjusted to the major change in their school life. Even if your kid didn’t master multiplication, he/she gained life skills during this time. In what ways did your child(ren) impress you with how they responded to virtual learning?
- Embrace this season of life for what it is! It is a messy, uncertain time for everyone. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself or your children with other families. Remember you are doing the best you can with what you have. What’s one way your family has gotten creative during this time (home-made masks, trying different foods, etc.)?
Prepare for the Summer Months
As you move in to the summertime, with the likelihood of summer activities being cancelled or limited, here are some ideas to embrace this summer together, in all its messiness and uncertainty:
- Create a nature journal to use on nature walks! Collect leaf print, tree names and bird and bug drawings.
- Think of a team name for your family.
- Build in snuggle time with your kids each day as you read aloud a book together.
- Start a dance challenge with your friends and family! The Marco Polo App is a free, fun way to connect with others.
- Start reading a book series together as a family.
- Make chalk art obstacle courses on your driveway or sidewalk.
- Build pillow and blanket forts in your living room on the rainy days.
And remember, the time your kids spend with you is priceless. These moments of togetherness, having you close, and learning from you are key to their development. There isn’t a curriculum to follow – just be present with your kids, and see what happens.Learn More
Finding out you are pregnant may come as a surprise. You have future dreams. This isn’t what you wanted, at least not now.
Maybe you’re thinking…
How am I going to finish college?
What will my parents say?
Will my boyfriend leave me?
Will my career be impacted?
Learn From Others.
We understand. At First Care, we have met with thousands of women who have thought their future dreams were shattered too. But, hold on. Take a breath. Pause. Give yourself time to process.
Find hope in their stories and know that on the other side of this, you will achieve and accomplish dreams, maybe even some new ones you don’t yet have!
You will meet with someone who has experience in finding resources to help you. We will talk with you about your dreams and how your decision for your pregnancy may impact those dreams.
Once you have a clear path forward, we can help connect you with the services or resources to make your unexpected pregnancy and future plans work!
See, you may think you’re dreams have been lost, but maybe they were never fully clear. The road is never as easy as it looks, but with First Care, we are there to walk alongside you, encourage you, and cheer you on to follow new dreams.
Schedule an appointment today
Call or text today to talk to someone who will listen and offer hope.Learn More
I was just a freshman in college when I found out I was pregnant. I was a high achiever with a plan for my life, which did not include getting pregnant and parenting.
When I found out, I was in total shock. I told my parents and they were as shocked as I was. They were a little bit disappointed, but very supportive.
Making a Decision
My first meeting with one of the staff at First Care sticks out to me. We spent a lot of time talking about how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what I was concerned about.
I’m wired by nature to want to know the information and make a plan and stick to the plan.
Instead, my time at First Care caused me to dig into what was going on in my head and heart: what I wanted, what I was scared about, what I imagined for my future and how my options fit into that.
First Care provided me with helpful information and long term goals to think about. As I thought through my options, I did consider adoption, but ultimately realized I wanted to raise my child. I knew I could do it because there was support available, even if my relationship with the baby’s father was complicated and difficult.
Finding Support in Parenting
After I made my decision, I enrolled in their parenting program called Every Family and attended once a week throughout my pregnancy.
Through this program, I was able to learn about healthy development and growth. I was also able to meet with Parenting Coaches who were genuinely interested in my life and how I was doing. This program helped me feel less anxious about becoming a mother and it also provided me with practical items, such as diapers and clothes for my baby.
My son was born in May of 2015 and being his mom has been absolutely awesome. It hasn’t been without hardship, but the joys have far outweighed the hard days.
Since then, I graduated from the parenting program after two years in the program. I finished college with two degrees and I married the love of my life, a man who has been a part of my son’s life since he was four months old.
First Care Pregnancy Center is a safe place to talk about how you are feeling and thinking and not have to worry about everyone’s opinion. There really is no judgment or pressure. I am so thankful for my experience there and for being able to be a mom.Learn More
COVID-19 has been taking the headlines and impacting the world at every moment. Changes are being made daily, if not hourly, about jobs, schools, social distancing, medical services – the list goes on. Many people are in need of extra resources for their family during this time.
First Care Pregnancy Center is committed to providing you with the best care we can offer you at this time. We remain open with limited services during this time. Please call us for more detailed information, or read about our current services here.
Below is a list of resources our staff have compiled to support you and your family during this time.
- SNAP (food stamp) information and application assistance is available over the phone, from the comfort and safety of your home. Call 844-764-5513 or 651-209-7963 or apply online for benefits.
- Restaurants throughout the Twin Cities are providing free meals to those in needs.
- Serenity Church is providing food delivery for those who are immunocompromised, pregnant and/or have a disability (or child with disability) and cannot leave home. Email your name, address, phone number, and number of people in your household to firstname.lastname@example.org and the church will deliver (meats, milk, produce, bakery items) usually within 24-36 hours. They are delivering to Ramsey, Hennepin, and Anoka counties.
MNsure is offering a special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This SEP will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure.
This SEP runs Monday, March 23 through Tuesday, April 21. You must select a plan by 11:59 p.m. April 21. Coverage will start Wednesday, April 1. (If you enroll after April 1 and by 11:59 p.m. on April 21, your coverage will have a retroactive start date of April 1.)
As of March 18th, 2020, all foreclosures and evictions are suspended through April 30th, 2020 per Emergency Executive Order 20-14 by Minnesota Governor Walz.
Connected Families offers information about how to manage sibling conflict.
Spiritual Support & Basic Needs
Contact your local First Care office to speak with a licensed social worker or client advocate to get connected with a local church that can provide you with spiritual support and basic needs care.
Minnesota COVID-19 Hotlines
Please contact the following numbers for questions about:
- Schools, child care, businesses: Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
- Health questions: Call 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
Resources by County
Housing: For those experiencing homelessness, please call the following:
Adults: Call 612-248-2350.
Families: Call 612-348-9410. On holidays, weekends, and evenings until 11 p.m., call 211 (mobile: 651-291-0211) and ask for the after-hours shelter team.
Domestic Abuse: Advocacy, orders for protection and safety planning services can be accessed by calling 612-348-5073.
Financial Assistance: Applications for cash assistance, child care assistance, emergency assistance, health insurance, and SNAP are still being accepted. Call to apply at 612-596-1300, apply online or fax in documents to 612-288-2981 (612-288-2982 for child care assistance documents).
Additional Resources: For more information on these resources and more, visit the Hennepin County website.
General Support: The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has formed The Help Team made up of deputy and civiliant employees who will support anyone in Ramsey County who needs assistance as a result of COVID-19. Support includes the pick-up and delivery of prescription medication, pre-paid food, and groceries; delivery of food, medication, and other essentials that have been donated; coordination of the collection of donated items based on current community needs; and, provide referrals, including social services, financial assistance, medical assistance, mental health, and others. Call, text, or email for assistance from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The phone number 651-448-3874 (call or text) and the email address is HelpTeam@co.ramsey.mn.us.
Food: St. Paul Public Schools provide meals from its food truck every weekday during spring break, March 30-April 3. Unlike the last two weeks, the truck will provide one meal per person, per day. The six locations are the same as this week (Battle Creek, Cherokee Heights, Como Senior, Harding Senior, Highland Park Senior and Johnson Senior), but the times are different. Find the full schedule here.
Housing: Dorothy Day Shelter/Mary Hall is the only shelter that is open for those experiencing homelessness. Beginning Friday, March 27, the shelter will provide 24/7 symptom monitoring, meals, security and transportation to and from the site for individuals experiencing homelessness. Residents will be accepted on a referral basis from Catholic Charities Higher Ground (612-204-8552), Union Gospel Mission (651-228-1800 for women and children; 651-789-7599 for men) and Ramsey County Safe Space (651-266-4483) shelter facilities based on screening protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Housing and Urban Development.
Mental Health: Ramsey County residents who are experiencing stress and mental health symptoms as a result of COVID-19 are encouraged to call the county’s Crisis Team for support and resources. The county’s two crisis lines continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Children’s Mental Health Crisis Line: 651-266-7878.
- Adult Mental Health Crisis Line: 651-266-7900.
Additional Resources: For more information on these resources and a more complete list, visit the Ramsey County website.
Food: Channel One Food Shelf (131 35th Street SE, Rochester, MN 55904) is open Monday-Thursday from 8:00am-6:00pm and Friday 8:00am-12:00pm for drive-up/curb-side registration and pick up ONLY. If families are already registered, they can check in with the Channel One “community card” or Channel One ID number. Households can also check in with the name of the head of the household and their birthdate. New households can register curbside with the name of the head of the household and their birthdate, without further verifications.
The Post Bulletin is compiling a complete list of restaurants/organizations offering free food.
Health Insurance: MNSure Health Insurance is providing a special emergency enrollment period between March 23 and April 21. If you do not have health insurance, register now.
Mental Health: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Family Service Rochester has launched new telehealth counseling services, which you can schedule by calling 507-287-2010. After filling out a couple of online forms, you’ll use your smartphone, laptop, or tablet to talk to a mental health professional.
Additional Resources: For more information on these resources and a complete list of Olmsted County resources, please visit The Post Bulletin.Learn More
Parenting can be overwhelming, whether your pregnancy was planned or not. But parenting can also be very rewarding. Although very few parents will tell you they were “ready” to become a parent when they became pregnant, many parents will say they are so glad they chose to parent.
If you’re trying to figure out if parenting is the right choice for you, consider these questions:
What Would I Really Enjoy About Being a Parent?
There are many aspects about parenting that bring joy: cuddling with your newborn, watching your toddler learn how to walk and then talk, or seeing your child grow as they go off to school, make friends, and place their mark on the world. What pieces of being a parent do you think you’d enjoy? Which aspects would you look forward to experiencing?
What Would be Difficult About Being a Parent Right Now?
Parenting isn’t always a walk in the park. Which aspects of being a parent do you perceive as being difficult for your right now? In what ways would that impact your parenting? How would you, or could you, get support in these areas?
What Support Do I Have?
Friends? Family? A partner? Other parents? Who do you have in your life that can cheer you on, be with you during the tough nights or even babysit. Are there organizations that can help support you financially or with material items? Here at First Care, we provide support and education for new parents until their child is age 5. Through individual coaching and group classes, you can find some of the support and practical items you will need to parent.
Have I Thought Through All My Options?
It’s important to take the time to consider all of your pregnancy options before deciding. This will help you make an informed decision, and one you can look back on in five years, knowing you considered all your options. Thinking in the long term, what would be a benefit for each of your options, Parenting, Abortion, Adoption? What would be difficult about each? How do you think you think you’ll feel in a year or two years about each option? Are there people in your life that are pressuring you to choose one option or another? Which one do you really want?
Parenting is Expensive. How Will I Provide for My Baby and Myself?
What support do you have around you that can help provide for you and your baby? At First Care, we are honored to walk alongside you and help you prepare to parent. We will meet with you as often as you like and provide parenting education and material support to make sure you are fully ready and prepared for parenthood. Regardless of whether your pregnancy was planned or not, you are qualified to parent.Learn More
Making the decision to parent is a major life decision, but one that should be celebrated and supported! At First Care we are ready to join you in both celebrating this decision and helping you prepare to be the best parent you can be. We offer a variety of services to provide you with support and help as you begin your journey as a new mom or dad. Our goal is to support you through this journey so you can parent with confidence.
As you enter the final stages of pregnancy, consider joining one of our birth classes to help you prepare for both labor and delivery, but also the first days and weeks of parenting. We will cover topics such as mother and baby care.
Resources & Referrals
Our Licensed Social Workers or Client Advocates are a great resource for you as you need additional resources to aid in your parenting. Our staff are well connected to a variety of community resources and can help connect you to the resources you need. We provide referrals for baby items and equipment, counseling, basic needs, and more.
One-on-One Parenting Coaching
Through our Every Family parenting program, we offer parenting education and support to thousands of families each year. During an Every Family appointment, you will meet one-on-one with a Parenting Coach who will get to know you and your family. You will have an opportunity to discuss your parenting challenges, select lessons relevant to these challenges, and leave each session with practical tips on how you can apply your new knowledge at home. Every Family participants are welcome to scheduling an individual coaching session up to twice per month.
After each Every Family coaching session, you will earn points that can be used to shop in one of our clothing closets. Each closet is stocked with practical items for your baby including diapers, wipes, baby clothes, maternity clothes, and equipment.
Schedule an Appointment
Contact the location nearest to you to get started!Learn More