Pregnancy Crisis: How to Start Making a Decision
Of all the decisions we make in our lives, considering becoming a parent is one of the most personal, and important one of all. Unfortunately, however, not everyone is afforded the opportunity to plan when and how the need to make this decision might arise. Indeed, the reality is that despite advances in contraceptive methods, unplanned pregnancies continue to account for half of all pregnancies in the United States alone.
For some, becoming pregnant might be an expected blessing, but for others, the results of a positive pregnancy test can be more of a shock than anything else. In this case, it's important to know and understand your choices, so you can make the best decision possible.
Weighing Your Options:
Parenting, Adoption, Abortion
When it comes to how to handle an unplanned pregnancy, it seems everyone has strong opinions. Whether it be your partner, your parents, or your friends, you may be surprised to learn the people you thought would be most supportive are actually not the most understanding about your situation.
If you are a teen, your parents may be disappointed, and encourage you to terminate the pregnancy. The father might feel similarly, particularly if you are not in a committed relationship. Conversely, friends and family may encourage you to become a mother, despite the fact that you don't feel ready. However well-intentioned the advice may be, it is critical that you understand that only you will have to live with the consequences of your actions. Therefore, your ultimate decision should be one you are comfortable with. Those who are truly supportive of you will eventually understand.
To that end, you may want to consider seeking counseling to help sort through your feelings. It is also a good idea to keep a journal, so that you can gain better perspective on your emotions. It is important not to rush into a decision.
In addition, you should consider the following questions while evaluating your options:
- What will your, and your child's life look like after each decision? Do you feel comfortable with these outcomes?
- What are your goals for the next five years? How would each of these choices affect these goals?
- What kind of person do you want to be? Which of these decisions can best help you to achieve this?
Choice 1: Becoming a Parent
If asked, most parents would describe their experiences with raising their children as both the most rewarding and challenging of their lives. Indeed, watching and guiding your child as she grows is a truly incomparable experience. However, without the right support, all of the otherwise joyous moments of parenting can easily become burdensome.
Consider these questions when thinking of becoming a parent:
- What is my relationship like with the father?
- Is he someone I would consider marrying?
- Is he someone who shares my values and beliefs?
- Could we coparent in a way that would be beneficial to our child?
- What kind of support (financial, emotional, physical) could he provide?
- What is my relationship like with my family?
- Could I live with my family?
- Would my family support me (financially, childcare)?
- Would they be willing to share responsibilities?
- Would single parenting (i.e. living on my own) be an option?
- How could I work to achieve my goals while continuing to be a mother to my child?
Choice 2: Adoption
For some, adoption may seem like a satisfying compromise between terminating a pregnancy and becoming a parent. However, there is a lot to consider when it comes to putting your child up for adoption, both in the short and long-term. Some questions to be considered include:
- Would I choose an open or closed adoption? Which one would be more conducive to providing the best environment for my child?
- What type of family do I want my child to grow up in?
- Is carrying the pregnancy to term realistic in terms of its emotional and physical effects?
It is also important to be aware that though the option to choose to become a parent is for the most part still available during the pregnancy, most adoption centers will require your decision to be made when the child is six months old.
Choice 3: Abortion
Choosing to have an abortion is a very personal and often emotional decision. It is important that whatever your ultimate choice may be, you make it knowingly and for the right reasons. In order to do this, you will want to consider the following questions:
- Am I aware of all the potential risks, as well as what the actual procedure entails?
- What are my state's laws?
- Is there anyone pressuring me to have an abortion?
- What were my opinions on abortion prior to becoming pregnant?
- Have I been screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
- Have I talked with a counselor and/or someone who has been through an abortion about the potential emotional effects of the procedure?
In the end, it is important that you make your decision in the most informed manner possible. By considering all your options carefully, you can ensure that your ultimate choice will be one that you can live with. After all, in the end, it will only be you who will.