If you suddenly discover that you’re pregnant, you may feel unsure what to do. You might feel like your world has stopped. Perhaps you didn’t expect to get pregnant right now, and you’re unsure what to do next. It’s a scary time, but you do have pregnancy choices to consider:
- You give birth, and then you raise your baby.
- End the pregnancy with an abortion
- You give birth, and then you place your baby for adoption.
Give birth, raise the baby
You may choose to give birth and to raise the baby. This can be a tough choice, but one that may be right for you. Raising a baby by yourself takes courage, strength, and help from others. Here are some things to consider if you choose this option:
- You’ll need support. It is hard to raise a child on your own. As they say, “It takes a village.” You’ll need moral support and a shoulder to cry on when you feel overwhelmed. You may want to look to family or friends to help out. Keep in mind, though, that your child will be your responsibility at the end of the day. While others may offer to help, they are not required to follow through.
- Find a flexible job. If you’re going to be a single parent, you will need a flexible job that allows you to stay home when the baby is sick or needs to go to the doctor. Many jobs are more flexible than they used to be, but not all of them.
- Very little social life. Between work, eating, sleeping (not much), and caring for a baby, you won’t have much time or energy for a social life. It won’t be easy to run out for a cup of coffee with your friends or join your co-workers who are heading out to a bar after work. This is part of being a single parent.
- Child care is expensive. For many single parents, it’s a huge part of their budget. You may ask a relative to babysit, but this doesn’t always work out well, especially for the long term.
- Costly. Babies are expensive. Diapers, clothes, wipes, a crib, toys, and medical care are just some of the costs you’ll have with a baby.
It is a good idea to make a list of the pros and cons. Talk to a counselor, friend, or family member you feel will talk about the situation realistically with you. Consider what will really be best for you and your baby now and in the future.
Get an abortion
Abortion is a surgical procedure that terminates your pregnancy. Every state has its own abortion laws and regulations, so you’ll need to research the rules in your state. Most abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, so that’s also a consideration. Also, if you’re under 18, you may need your parents’ approval.
Abortion is a hard decision, and it doesn’t come without some medical and psychological risks. For years there’s been a debate about the effects of abortion on women. Many people thought that there were no psychological risks for women having an abortion. But today, both sides agree, not all women do well after an abortion. Studies show that an abortion experience can stir up mental health problems for some women.
Some women find they experience depression and other negative reactions as long as two years after their abortion. Other feelings associated with abortion include:
- Feelings of loss
Medical risks can also happen. Although abortion is considered a safe medical procedure, it can lead to some minor complications like bleeding, infection, pain, and post-anesthesia complications. Major complications do occur for some women, such as future infertility, infection, and very rarely, death.
Give birth, place your baby for adoption.
If you decide to give birth and place the baby for adoption, you’ve chosen a future for your child. Open adoption gives you many other choices for you and your child.
You choose the adoptive family and how much contact you want with the child. You can decide if you want to email, text, or visit the child. Many birth mothers say they have great relationships with their adult children raised by an adoptive family.
During your pregnancy, you’ll have time to plan your life after the baby is born. You may decide to go back to school or find a new job. It’s time for you to evaluate your life.
Adoption also allows a unique kind of closure for you as you see your child being adopted by a loving, happy family. Studies found that birth mothers in open adoptions had lower levels of grief. Having contact with the adoptive family helped them process their sadness and regret.
If you find yourself in an unexpected pregnancy, remember you don’t need to walk through this alone. Call or text 1-800-923-6784 to speak with a trained pregnancy counselor from Lifetime Adoption for free 24/7. They are here to talk with you about what you’re going through. All three pregnancy options are life-changing, but you can make the choice that is best for you and your baby.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) 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.