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Before becoming pregnant, I worked as a Medicaid Service Coordinator for almost three years for an agency that supported families who had a child with either severe medical diagnosis or disability. Even before then, I worked in the mental health, special education, and human services field for several years. I had learned the ins and outs of providing supports to families who needed them most. These supports ranged from helping families find ways to put dinner on the table to helping create a modified bathroom to suit a wheelchair-bound individual. Many, or most, of my clients had Medicaid and with this insurance, they were able to access supports and services to benefit their family’s specific needs – whatever they were.
Unfortunately, some supports (such as certain insurances) have negative connotations connected to them. Many people see specific insurances and immediately put the person with that insurance into a bubble. People will see those who are receiving supports and services as being poor or helpless or needy when, in reality, they are getting help that will allow them to live more successful, fruitful lives. It’s incredibly upsetting that people fear the thoughts of others when it comes to getting beneficial supports. It’s even more upsetting that judgments are thrown, and comments are made towards families who are doing everything in their power to create a life best for themselves and their littles ones.
I know this because, now, I am the one getting the supports I used to provide.
Stepping Into the “Support System” Shoes
When I got pregnant and realized I would have to move to a new city and leave my current job, I also realized I probably wouldn’t be jumping back into the full-time workforce right away. This truth crushed me. I liked being able to financially contribute and I felt like I was losing some of that independence. Though I knew my decision to stay home would “save” on daycare payments, I still couldn’t help but feel like I was taking a million steps backwards.
Along with leaving my current city and leaving my current job, I needed to find new insurance. Knowing I needed something, and my girls would need something as well, I applied for New York State Medicaid – and we were all accepted. Though I was glad I wouldn’t have to pay out for insurance, I also felt that awkward, uncomfortable twitch that came with being in a system some people looked down upon with judgmental eyes.
I knew this because I had worked inside the system, had heard the comments, and had felt the insecurities other families had experienced – now I was one of those families.
I hated feeling this way about being part of a support system I knew I needed. I also felt like I had to rationalize absolutely everything I said when it came to why I had Medicaid and WIC. “I am having twins and will probably not be able to go back to work which is why I had to apply.” “I used to work full-time in the human services field, so I have an idea of how this works.” “I used to get WIC for families, so it is interesting getting it myself now.”
Every time I made a comment, I felt a little bit guiltier. I did not need to explain my situation. I did not owe anything to anyone. I had no reason to feel embarrassed or insecure because I was getting the necessary supports that would benefit my family in the long run.
Those were the truths I needed to focus on, not the man in the grocery line rolling his eyes because my WIC was taking too long to process.
Acceptance and Appreciation
To be completely honest, I still have a hard time facing the fact that I am the one receiving the supports instead of giving them. However, now that my hormones have started to subside and life is beginning to ever-so-slowly fit into place, I have been able to do two things: accept and appreciate.
Accepting your current situation and appreciating it for what it is can be tough when the situation has been a transition, to say the least. Even though motherhood can be a beautiful, amazing time of growth, it still can be a huge lifestyle transition. I have learned this to be true and finding ways to accept it and appreciate the changes have shown to be incredibly helpful.
When I look at my girls, I easily find those ways.
- Acceptance: Becoming one with acceptance often means taking a step back and fully seeing your life through a snow globe. Fully allow yourself to see yourself, your little ones, and your chaos. Look close at everything positive going on in that snow globe: you have family, you have a home, you have a support system. If you can see at least one of those three things, it is time to accept one (or all) those three things. Do not see the support services you are receiving as “services” – see them as necessary, beneficial supports that will make the snow globe you are looking at that much more beautiful.
- Appreciation: Once you allow yourself to accept the new, crazy world you are living in, appreciate it. Appreciate the heck out of it! You are getting help that many other people do not receive either because their state does not offer those supports or they have not yet opened themselves up enough to accept them. Appreciate the benefits that come with your supports. Use your WIC to get healthy foods for your child or formula for your newborn. Use your insurance to make sure you and your children get the medical care you all deserve. And step back, look at your snow globe, and smile – because it’s worth it.
Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.
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