Lots of us have been there: standing in line to pay for a pregnancy test. It doesn’t matter if the test is for a friend or a “friend,” it’s as if you can feel the panic in the air.
If you’ve just gotten a positive pregnancy test, you might be freaking out. Nothing in the world makes sense, and it’s like your stomach has fallen to your feet. You wake up the next few mornings with anxiety, realizing it wasn’t all a dream and you’re actually pregnant. Keep reading to learn 7 things to know about your unplanned pregnancy:
1. It’s fine to be scared
The fact that you’re freaking out makes you human. It doesn’t matter if you’re 17, 27, or 37: an unplanned pregnancy is a shock. It’s also OK to be angry or sad. You might be sad for a version of your life that you’ll have to let go of. Know that no matter how you’re feeling, it’s okay. If you don’t allow yourself to feel these emotions now, they’ll eat you alive.
2. Nobody can tell you what to do
Lots of people might give you their opinions. But nobody can tell you how your decision will affect your life. No matter how many Google searches you do, it won’t predict your future. So try to cut through all the noise in your ears. Your heart knows which choice is best for you.
3. You’re not alone
Facing an unplanned pregnancy might make you feel alone, but that’s far from the truth. Nearly 50% of women in the U.S. will face an unplanned pregnancy by the time they’re 45 (source: the Guttmacher Institute). The reality is that there are tons of women who know how you feel because they’ve been there themselves.
4. Avoid using fear or anger to make a decision
While the emotions you’re feeling are real and OK, they might be getting in the way of your thinking. Once you’re calm, you’ll be best able to make a decision. Then, consider if the reason for your choice is love or fear.
5. Get a support system
This can be difficult to find, especially if you’re thinking about adoption. It will be an important part of moving forward. You might find a support system online if no one in your life has your back.
Lifetime has peer counselors that you can talk with. They’re women who’ve been where you are now and want to hear you out and give advice if you’re open to it. Just call us at 1-800-923-6784 if you’d like to talk or text with a birth mom.
6. You’re more than a statistic
Feeling ashamed, embarrassed, or even disappointed in yourself is normal. But we want you to know that you’re so much more than a just a statistic. An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t have to define you; it doesn’t make you stupid or irresponsible.
7. You can choose adoption anytime
You don’t have to make an adoption plan while you’re pregnant. Lifetime helps many women with adoption after their baby’s been born and even when their child is a few years old. We’re not here to pressure you or rush you into a decision.
Taking the first step is often the most difficult part of any decision you make, and adoption is no different. This short video shows you how to take the first step in the adoption process:
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 4, 2018, and has since been updated.
As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.