Finding out you’re pregnant unexpectedly can be scary, and the flood of fears and emotions that come next can make it challenging to weigh out your options and make an informed decision about your future. As you begin to evaluate next steps, there are a few things to consider. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the most important considerations for women facing unwanted pregnancy.
What is Your Greatest Fear or Worry?
It’s important to know which aspect of an unexpected pregnancy is causing you the most anxiety, so you can work through those feelings and ensure the path you choose addresses your concerns. The greatest worry varies from one woman to the next. Some of the most common fears and worries include:
- Fear of judgment. In some households and religions, there is a level of shame attached to sex outside of a committed relationship or marriage, and women who grew up in these settings might worry about being judged by their friends and family.
- Fear of being pregnant. Some women either don’t want to be pregnant or believe there are medical reasons that could make a pregnancy more difficult.
- Fear of giving birth. For some women, the fear of giving birth is the most overwhelming part of an unplanned pregnancy. They may have witnessed a traumatic birth in the past, experienced a traumatic birth themselves, or formed perceptions about what childbirth is like that have caused them to worry about the event.
- Fear of having a child. For other women, having a child is more daunting than being pregnant or giving birth. These women may not be ready for that level of responsibility, may not have envisioned having children, or might not believe they have what it takes to be a good mother.
- Fear of consequences. For many women, an unplanned pregnancy can come with consequences. A child conceived during an affair may lead to divorce, for example, or a child conceived while living in poverty may leave the mother believing she is unable to buy groceries or pay the electric bill. Teen mothers might worry that they’ll get kicked out of their homes or have to drop out of high school.
Understandably, the worries and fears that have you feeling concerned about your pregnancy will determine what kind of support you need and which options might be a fit for your unique situation.
What are Your Core Values?
Digging deep and considering your core values will help you make a decision that you feel good about in the future. To expand, if you believe that life begins at conception and hold pro-life values, terminating the pregnancy can lead to feelings of regret and remorse that are difficult to overcome. On the other hand, if you feel strongly about a woman’s right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy or not, terminating a pregnancy may not be accompanied by the same long-term negative effects for you.
What Kind of Support is Available?
Our patients often say, “If only I had known there were so many options available, I may have made a different choice.” It’s common to feel like you’re alone in the world when you’re facing an unwanted pregnancy, but in almost every case, there are agencies, loved ones, and adoptive families who would love to step up and provide the support you need to move forward with the pregnancy.
In order to access support that’s available, you have to share that you’re expecting and that you need support. In many cases, that’s the most difficult step – especially for women who are still considering all options, including termination. You may be surprised to find that when you share your news, you have friends and family members who want to support you through a pregnancy and who want to help you raise a child in whatever way makes sense for you. If not, you’ll learn that there are non-profit agencies and donors who are passionate about helping women just like you.
Connecting with a clinic that specializes in providing unplanned pregnancy resources and options can help you learn more about support in your area.
What are Your Options?
When facing a great deal of stress, it’s common to resort to all-or-nothing thinking. This thought pattern can lead you to believe you have fewer options than you have in reality. For example, you might think your only option is becoming a teen mom and dropping out of high school when, in reality, you can choose to place the child with a family through adoption or raise the child and finish school as many teen moms do. It’s important to pause and reflect on all of the options that are available to you.
In most cases, women facing unplanned pregnancy have three options:
- continuing the pregnancy and keeping the child, raising him or her.
- continuing the pregnancy and placing the child with a family through adoption or alternative care.
- terminating the pregnancy through medical or surgical abortion.
These options don’t apply in every case. Women who are facing an ectopic pregnancy will not be able to continue the pregnancy, while women who are past the legal gestational limit for abortion may not be able to terminate the pregnancy. In those situations, a pregnancy options clinic can help you understand which options remain and the risks and benefits of each.
If you’re facing an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, Willowbrook Women’s Center can help. Our compassionate team members understand what you’re going through and know which options and resources are available. They can provide information to empower you to make the best decision. To learn more, visit us at Willowbrook Women’s Center. We offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, community resources, STD testing, and more, so you don’t have to go through this challenging time alone. We have helped thousands of women in your shoes, and we can help you.