Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be an emotional and difficult ride. While it isn’t easy, it is not incredibly uncommon. Know that you are not alone and lots of women have experienced your current circumstances. In order to figure out where to go from here, we have offered 7 tips for how to handle an unexpected pregnancy below.
1. Don’t Panic and Don’t Fault Yourself
No matter how this happened, whether it was failed or forgotten birth control, or another way, do not fault yourself. According to the CDC, 45% of all pregnancies are unintended. That means you are definitely not alone, nor should you feel alone. The most important thing to do now is to take care of yourself and meet with an options counselor or social worker who can help you figure out your next steps.
2. Find Local Resources to Help you
Whether you just found out that you are pregnant or you have been sitting with the information for some time, it is important to get help so that you can make decisions. While exploring the internet, you likely will find places that are offering support all over. It’s important to find a local resource or organization so that they can be there to help you and be there for you throughout this process. Whether you are considering parenting, adoption, or termination, a local professional near you would be the best to help in this situation. This way, you can meet with someone face-to-face and get a true support system for however long you may need them.
3. Get Support from family or friends
Whether you have family close by that you can count on, or maybe close friends, talk to them if you feel comfortable. This can feel like a lonely and scary time, and if you have people who care about you to support you, it will make the process much easier. Maybe those people in your life will help you to come up with a plan. Or maybe they will just be there to hold your hand. However, you choose to get support from those around you– family members or friends- is up to you– but it’s best not to face this alone.
4. Talk to the Father of Your Baby
This may seem like an obvious idea but talk to the father of the baby about the pregnancy. If he isn’t aware of the pregnancy, tell him about it so that you can discuss where to go from here together. Perhaps the idea of motherhood or being a single mother doesn’t interest you, but maybe the father of the baby is very interested in parenting. If you aren’t really interested in involving the dad, it is still important to do so, as this is the father of the baby. Perhaps he will feel an obligation to parent, or maybe he will be interested in helping support you through this process.
If you decide to terminate without discussing with the father, you may have a sense of guilt in the long run, as perhaps he is a good person and a good fit to parent the baby, if parenting is not for you. No matter what option you are ultimately drawn to, it can be a much easier process when including the birth father in your decision-making.
5. Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
While you attempt to figure out your next steps now, you are likely feeling overwhelmed. It is important though to make sure that you don’t forget to take care of yourself. Whether you end up deciding to parent, terminate or make an adoption plan, until you are sure that you are absolutely terminating the pregnancy, it’s important to get the care that you and the growing fetus need. It would be a good idea to find a physician that you would like to go to, and to begin getting prenatal care, taking prenatal vitamins like folic acid, and making sure that everything looks good. Some other things to think about during your first trimester are to try and get good nutrition, and to make sure you are taking care of your physical and emotional health.
6. Get Seen by a Doctor
One of the best things you can do is visit an Obstetrician, a doctor that specializes in pregnancy. If you do not have a primary care doctor or health insurance to make a referral for you, contact local pregnancy clinics to see who is willing and able to assist you.
7. Consider All of Your Options
While you might be feeling pressure to parent, or maybe to get an abortion, it’s important to consider all of your options. There are a lot of preconceived notions about adoption, and if you are not sure that you want to parent this new baby, make sure that you really look into adoption and learn about the process and what it could mean in the long term. Getting non-biased options counseling is a good way to explore all your options and learn about all of them so that you can make an informed decision about what to do next. Depending on how many weeks of pregnancy along you are, you may be in a rush. You likely can still choose any of your options, but it is important to do your due diligence to ensure that you go with the decision that is best. If you call Open Arms Adoption, you can get pressure-free counseling anytime, 24/7.
8. Browse Waiting Adoptive Parent Profiles
One thing for you to do while you consider your options, if you think adoption might be an option for you in this situation, is to look at waiting adoptive families. There are many families (couples and singles) who are hoping to adopt a baby and are ready and excited to adopt right now. You can visit our waiting families page to view the types of families that exist. We have all kinds: straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, all different types of family makeups. We also have families of all races, nationalities, and religions. Adoptive families share information about their hobbies, things that they value, where they live and all sorts of information about themselves.
By looking through waiting adoptive families, you might get a glimpse of the type of family that you could see parenting your child, and perhaps that will make you realize that adoption is of interest to you. Or, on the reverse, you might decide that no family seems good enough to parent your baby, and that might make you realize that you do want to parent, deep down.
9. Make a Decision for You and Your Baby
Once you have gathered all the information you need, it will be time for you to make a decision for you and your baby. If you are choosing not to move forward with your pregnancy, be sure to have a support system in place whether that is a close friend, family member, or mental health professional. It can be a difficult time after abortion even for women who did not want to be pregnant in the first place.
If you choose an alternative option to abortion, you can start to make plans for your baby’s arrival. You can start to see if parenting is an option or if you should work with a trusted adoption agency to help you choose a family for your baby. In the end just remember that this is your baby and your choice. Don’t let anyone make the decision for you.
Although this may be an unwanted pregnancy, you still have several options, and you can get the help and support that you need in order to make the best decisions here on out. Call 1-888-OPENARMS today and we can help you. A counselor can meet with you at your convenience and discuss options. They can give you referrals for termination, prenatal care, help with parenting resources and go through all of your unplanned pregnancy options. You will be supported and cared for every step of the way.