Mentally Ill and Pregnant

No, I’m not pregnant. My niece is. The same one that I wrote about in Runaway and Runaway Part II.  She has an odd diagnosis, basically everything on the extreme end of the spectrum: bipolar, schizophrenic, schizoeffective.  She is probably not all of those things but she is bipolar and does have visual and audio hallucinations.  She’s been unmedicated for over 6 months.  She started birth control pills a few months ago and then quit them.  She is 24, in college, unmarried, and still with the loser she was with before when I wrote the aforementioned posts.

All of that aside, she is an unmedicated, mentally ill, pregnant young woman.  Does anyone have any advice they can share on this subject?  If I can give her any suggestions to help her through this difficult time, I would greatly appreciate it.  One friend has already been kind enough to share her thoughts and suggestions, but I wanted to open up the suggestion box a little more by asking all of my readers for advice.

Naturally, I am very worried about her.  I wish she had waited until after she finished college and was settled into a stable relationship before getting pregnant.  I fear she won’t ever finish college.  I fear he will leave her again and she will become a single mother.  She already lives on medicaid, disability, and food stamps and barely gets by.  I fear post-postpartum depression the most.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Useless Lawyer

Let me start by saying that I am still employed (as far as I know) and I will find out later this week if I have a job. I called the lawyer as a precautionary measure.

So I finally called the lawyer. It’s been months since I filled out the request and I only got 14 minutes of his time for my $25. (I was running out of questions.) I’m sure I originally had more questions, but since I waited until the last minute, I wasn’t really prepared. Basically, I’ve got nothing. He told me to call the unemployment office to find out if would qualify for unemployment benefits if they didn’t have a place for me after coming off short-term disability. Well, isn’t that why I called him? A lawyer who deals with employment law? Really all I learned was that if you are going to make an ADA complaint (American Disabilities Act) then it must be done within 10 months of the event.

There is nothing I can do except go back to work and say, “I’m ready. Will you have me?” And they say Yea or Nay. If I do go back and they harass me again because of my work restrictions, then I can file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) over disability harassment, but disability cases are hard to win.

I was kicking myself afterwards because I forgot to ask about COBRA. Really I need health insurance more than I need income. (Well, we all need both but since my medical bills went over $8k last year, I think I need health insurance pretty badly.) So I went to the government site for COBRA and I found the following:

Qualifying Events for Employees:

  • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct
  • Reduction in the number of hours of employment

That means that even if they ask me to resign, I can still COBRA.  That’s what I needed to know.

So basically, it’s up to them.  I’ve done what I can to prepare, which is important.  I still have backup plans, although they are dwindling.  But that’s a whole other story.

PS: I feel no empowerment by having completed this task of calling the lawyer like my therapist said I would.  Overall, a very fruitless expedition.  At least I find a some solace in the COBRA information.

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