If you are facing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, you may be feeling pressure from your family or friends as to what you should choose to do regarding the pregnancy. Even though it can be scary and overwhelming, know that you have options when facing an unwanted pregnancy. You do not have to face this alone, and you do not have to make a choice that you don’t want to. Knowing all your options in regards to an unplanned pregnancy will help you make the best choice possible for yourself and your child.
One option is terminating the pregnancy. Laws vary from state to state in terms of how and when you can choose to terminate a pregnancy. Health care providers, your physician, or a community health clinic for women can discuss termination with you and let you know what that option is like in terms of cost, recovery time, and where you will need to go to have the procedure performed.
The second option is parenting this child. If you are considering parenting, you have a number of things you should think about before deciding to do so. Do you have the financial means to provide this child with their basic needs? If you do not, what programs exist in your community that can help you with those needs? What type of emotional, physical, and financial support will you receive from this child’s father? Is he someone you want to involve in this child’s life? How will you be able to manage school or work while pregnant, and what are your maternity leave options? When you return to work or school after having the child, who will care for the child? What childcare options are available in your community? Are any of them an option you can afford? Above all, do you feel mentally and emotionally ready to become a parent? If you are already a parent, is there room in your life and budget for another child?
The third option which is not discussed as frequently is placing your child for adoption. Adoption is very different these days and many of the things you think you might know regarding adoption are either no longer true, or myths. If you place your child for adoption, the vast majority of adoptions these days are open. This means you will be able to select who the parents of your child will be, maintain communication with them, and ultimately still have a relationship with your child even if you are not parenting them. Adoptive parents undergo a rigorous home study and background check that ensures that they are fit to be parents, so you know that your child will be in an environment that is safe, nurturing and that is economically stable. In working with an adoption placement agency, you can specify the type of parents you would like your child to have. Is it important to you that they are raised in a specific religious faith? That they are in a two-parent household? That they receive a college education? Even things such as the family’s hobbies, traditions, personalities, and interests are things you can have input on in choosing the family that would parent your child.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is the right decision for you. Try to ignore the advice of your loved ones, even if they mean well, and think about what would be the best decision, both short and long term, for you and this child. Talk to someone you trust or contact an expert if you have questions. Your physician, pastor, or an adoption agency’s social worker can help answer any questions you might have, but ultimately understand that it is your decision to make, and trust that you have the ability to make the right choice so long as you know all your options and consider them carefully.