Being pregnant (whether planned or unplanned, expected or unexpected, wanted or unwanted) and having a baby are both certainly big-time game changers.
If yours is an unplanned pregnancy, unexpected, and/or an unwanted pregnancy, you are far from alone. In fact, approximately 50% (yes, HALF) of all pregnancies in the U.S. are an unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy.
After helping women for over 40 years, I can tell you not to make the mistake of judging yourself… filling yourself with self-doubt, asking yourself who is to blame, what is wrong with you, how you got into this situation, or panic about what is going to happen. While these thoughts and feelings are common, they are not productive. Instead you need to ask yourself what you need, what is best for you and your baby, and where you can get the help and support you need and deserve.
Keep reading, or, if you want some quick help and want to find out more about the help we provide, click on the link “Ways We Can Help You” or “Abortion Alternatives and Abortion choices” or “Adoption Information and Help for Birth Mothers and Pregnant Women” and/or and the link “Adoption Help”.
I want you to emphasize how NOT alone you are with an unwanted, unexpected, or unplanned pregnancy and that help is available. Note that:
- Approximately half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended being unexpected, unplanned, or unwanted.
- By age 45, it is estimated that over half of all U.S. women will have experienced an unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy.
- In approximately a quarter of all pregnancies a woman did not want to be pregnant when the pregnancy occurred but did want to be pregnant at some other time.
- Contraceptive techniques are very effective in preventing an unexpected, unplanned pregnancy, or unwanted pregnancy; however, among women who are sexually active and at risk for pregnancy, those who do not practice or use contraception on a continual basis account for over 50% of all unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.
- As many as 75% of single men aware of the pregnancy have reported that the resulting pregnancy was an unexpected/unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy.
- While not all young adults are sexually active, for those who are, women in the age range 15-19 have the greatest unplanned pregnancy and unwanted pregnancy rate of any other age group.
Whether you fit into one of the above groups or not, does not really matter. What matters is that you see that you are far from alone and that there are resources and choices available to you. But you ARE unique and thus solution to how YOU can best deal with your unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy is also unique.
If you have just found out you are pregnant, it is normal and understandable that you may swing from one decision to another and that you may be filled with mixed and strong emotions.
If yours is an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy you may be uncertain on how to proceed. You may worry about what the biological father may think, say, or do; or you may worry about the reaction of your family and/or friends. You might be thinking about the health of the baby, especially if you have not been taking care of yourself or are drinking alcohol or taking some drug or medication. You might be wondering about your future educational and vocational goals. And then, you may have a variety of emotions that may be realistic or not including feeling anxious, afraid, embarrassed, depressed, hopeless, angry, or even numb.
But help is available for an unexpected pregnancy and you have places to turn for that help. Continue reading below and/or contact us to help you deal with all the emotions and problems involved.
Emotional responses to an unexpected pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy
While each situation and person is unique, there are a whole range of emotions that typically occur in response to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Indeed, you may experience several of these:
- confusion and guilt
- anxiety and fear
- anger (at yourself or the sexual partner)
- feeling isolated and alone
- worry, panic and a sense of crisis and lack of control
- disappointment, sadness and depression
- self-doubt (How did I let this happen? Why wasn’t I more careful? What are my friends and family going to say and do?)
Some questions to ask yourself regarding your unplanned pregnancy, unexpected pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy
If you are one of the many women who is having an unwanted pregnancy and/or unplanned pregnancy you may find yourself forced to ask yourself several questions including:
- Do I want to start or expand my family at this time?
- Am I ready and able to be totally responsible for all of the child’s needs?
- How will this unplanned pregnancy effect my schooling, work and future goals and plans?
- Am I able to provide adequately for myself and the baby in a safe environment?
- Am I feeling pressure from anyone to make a certain decision?
- How will this affect my current family and how will they react to this?
- Can my friends or family help me parent the child?
- How will this affect my current relationship with the birth father?
- Do I have to tell the birth father and how will he react?
- What type of support can I get from the birth father?
- And then what is often the biggest question: What do I do now and what are my options and choices regarding the unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy?
What you can do first regarding an unexpected pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy
Once you have confirmed your pregnancy, your life will never be the same no matter what you finally decide to do. However, there are several things you can do to help yourself and the child you are carrying while you decide on a long term plan:
- First, if you have not already done so, confirm the pregnancy through a home pregnancy test and then with a crisis pregnancy center, a midwife, doctor or other health care provider.
- If you have insurance, contact your health care policy to see how they can help.
- Check with your health care provider or nearby pharmacy and start prenatal vitamins.
- Start and continue prenatal care.
- Take care of yourself and the baby by eating right including a healthy balanced diet, lots of fresh veggies and fruit, and drink lots of fresh water. Avoid as much as possible drugs, alcohol, caffeine, smoking and other potentially dangerous substances.
- Stay active and get regular exercise, but make sure to check with your health care provider so you do not overdue it.
- If you are planning on parenting your child start to stock up on things you will need. You may want to start with some bedding for the baby including a clean and firm mattress, car seat, a diaper bag and diapers, some baby clothes and a stroller.
- Ask for help and support from your loved ones, friends, and others who you feel can be trusted to consider what is best for you. While you may get a variety of suggestions from others, remember that you are the one that has to live with the results. Do not let anyone pressure you to do something you do not think is best for you and your baby.
- Do not isolate yourself or think that you are all alone.
- Visit internet sites that will help you and give you a ton of good advice including the website PregnancyandChildren.com.
- You can contact us. All calls are confidential, there is never any costs to you for our help and we will never attempt to sway you in whatever you decide.
While you are doing the above to take care of yourself and the baby, you need to look at your options.
Options and choices regarding an unexpected pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy
After the pregnancy has been confirmed and some of the initial shock and emotions have quieted down, typically the two questions that stand out big time are “What should I do?” and “What am I going to do?”
You may be one of few women in this situation that knows right away what they should and want to do. However, most women with an unwanted pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy go through a variety of emotions and thoughts about what to do and how to proceed.
Each of the choices discussed below has their own set of consequences, some of which will only be clear later in the process.
To oversimplify, you carry the baby and give birth or you terminate the pregnancy. (You may want to visit the page “Abortion Alternatives, Alternative to Abortion and Abortion Choices”.). While it is easy to state these two obvious choices, carrying out either option is far from easy and can be very complicated. There are not many options if you choose an abortion but there are several options if you decide to give birth to the baby. These are discussed more fully below:
1) Terminate the pregnancy. If you choose to terminate the pregnancy and abort the fetus, there are several things to consider like the cost and availability of abortion services, how far along is the pregnancy, possible medical complications, psychological side effects, state and federal laws, post-abortion emotional issues for you and your loved ones, etc. Abortion affects each woman differently and the emotional and psychological reactions are typically more common than the physical side effects. Make sure you carefully research the possible effects before you make a final decision. You may find it helpful to visit the page on this website “Abortion Alternatives, Alternative to Abortion and Abortion Choices.”
2) You can give birth and raise the child yourself, allow the birth father to raise the child, or raise the child together with the father. If this is your decision, you will find the website PregnancyandChildren.com very helpful.
3) Have your family, relative and/or friend raise the child for you (this may require some assistance from a lawyer).
4) After birth, place the baby with the state foster care system. While this is not a commonly chosen option, it may be worth your time to find out more about your state’s foster care system and how it can help you and your baby.
5) Contact an Adoption Agency or attorney, develop an adoption plan and have the baby placed in a safe and loving home with just the right family. Adoption, as opposed to foster care, is a permanent, legal agreement where you agree to permanently place your child with another person or family.
Adoption is the choice that is closest to my heart and why I created a unique licensed not-for-profit adoption agency over 40 years ago and why I continue to help birth mothers and adopting families. My staff and I are here to help you and other women 7-days a week with no charge or obligation on your part. The only thing you will owe us for our help, is your phone call or email. For more information, I suggest you contact us or click on the link adoption agency adoption.
Over the years I have found that there are dozens of reasons why a birth parent with an unwanted pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy develops an adoption plan and places the baby for adoption. Below I will mention a few of the most common, but whatever the reason may be, you are in charge of what you decide to do. Birth mothers frequently says they:
- are not ready to be a parent at this point in their life.
- do not have the financial resources needed.
- are not in a committed relationship and do not want to be a single parent.
- have other children and just cannot handle another baby.
- want to finish school, focus on work, or achieve other goals.
- are in an abusive relationship or were sexually assaulted.
- just don’t want to be a parent right now.
- are not in a permanent or safe place to raise a child.
- believe adoption is the best chance for their child to be well-cared for.
Whether or not your reason for developing an adoption plan fits one of the above or not, remember that you, and every other birth mother, has her own unique and valid reasons for choosing adoption.
Recognize that while there are many loving families that are hoping and praying to adopt a child, you want to be sure that your child is placed in just the perfect home. And, since every one of the 50 U.S. states has their own unique adoption laws regarding you and the adopting family, it is important that you speak with an adoption agency or attorney. The decision to place a child for adoption is personal, and you’re the only one who can make it.
If you want me or my staff to help, we are available 7-days a week and there is never any obligation or cost on your part whether you are pregnant and considering placing a child for adoption or are looking for information to help you raise your child.
Whenever you call us, you will always receive the highest level of caring, personal and professional attention. We can help you no matter where you live and whether you are pregnant or have already delivered your baby. We will help you no matter how long it takes. Please feel free to call (toll free 1(800)943-0400) and/or email (contact us) me or my staff any time.
I hope the information above has been helpful to you and you get the help you need and deserve.