An unplanned pregnancy can feel like a complete crisis. If you are in this position, you may be feeling scared and overwhelmed. You may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and that you are all alone. You are not alone.
In fact, nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. every year are unplanned. This is most common in young women, with one in every four women getting pregnant before their 20th birthday. You are certainly not alone, and you do not have to face this situation on your own. It’s important to know that you have options and there is support available to you.
Now that I am pregnant, what are my options?
If you are pregnant and wondering what your options are, read on. Here, we will explore the three, basic choices you have when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Remember that this is a deeply personal choice – and as an expectant mother, it is your choice. Only you can decide what is right for you and your baby.
When you first learned about your pregnancy, you may have been in shock and tried to imagine yourself raising the child yourself. Parenthood is a natural choice for many people. However, it is not the right path for everyone. If you do not wish to become a parent, or the timing is wrong right now, know that parenting is not your only option. This is a choice you must consider carefully.
Parenthood brings many benefits. There an indescribable amount of love and joy felt between parents and children. However, parenthood can also bring many challenges. Raising a child is not temporary. It is a long-term commitment. It is a 24/7 job that demands time, energy, and patience. For those who did not plan to get pregnant, parenting can also create financial strain.
The cost of raising a child is shocking to most first-time parents. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that it costs – on average – $233,610 to raise a child from birth to age 18. This does not include college tuition. Some of the hefty cost comes from childcare. Any time you are not with your young child, you will need to consider childcare. If you decide to raise your child, you will need to consider your plan. Will you bring your child to daycare? Hire an at-home nanny? Do you have a relative who can help? These are just a few of the hard choices that need to be made before deciding to parent a child.
If you are seriously considering parenthood as an option for yourself, you may want to first discuss the matter with your family and friends. Support in this life-changing choice is crucial. As the old African proverb goes: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Ask yourself, “Do I have a support network to help me?”
Women choose termination for a number of reasons. If you feel that you cannot continue with this pregnancy – whether it is for medical or emotional challenges – you may be considering this option. There is a deadline with this decision. Termination is something that typically takes place within the first 10-16 weeks of pregnancy. The exact timeframe you have will depend on your state laws and on the type of procedure you would like to have performed (click here for more on those options).
Termination is often thought of as the quickest option for those who do not wish to parent their child, but it is certainly not easy.
This decision can bring with it a multitude of complex emotions, both before and after the procedure. If you are considering abortion, you may want to speak with a counselor or other women who have gone through this experience. There are many support groups online. This is a great way to connect with those who have walked in your shoes without having to meet anyone face-to-face. It can be an uncomfortable topic and many women feel better about sharing their experience from the comfort of their own home, on a computer instead of in-person.
If you are not yet ready to parent, but you do not want to terminate your pregnancy, you may be considering adoption. This is a positive choice that brings several other options into your life.
Adoption is not an anomaly. Every year, 14,000 young women in the U.S. consider placing their babies for adoption. While it is a popular choice for those not yet ready to parent, it is also one that is often misunderstood.
Placing your child for adoption is not easy, but it is one of the most brave, loving, and selfless decisions you can make. While experiencing the pregnancy, childbirth, and grief may sound overwhelming, it is a decision that many women look back on with pride. As many birth mothers will tell you, they still feel confident that adoption was the best possible decision for themselves and for their child.
When you choose to place your child for adoption, you are also opening yourself up to a bright future with the opportunity to meet your child again someday, if you want. Making an adoption plan today means determining what type of adoption you would like to have: open, semi-open, or closed.
With open adoption – which 95 percent of U.S. adoption agencies today offer – expectant/birth mothers maintain ongoing communication with their child’s adoptive family. The form and frequency of contact varies among families. You may choose to email one another a few times a year, or keep in touch over the phone, text, Facetime, and in-person reunions. Just as all pregnancies are different – no two adoption plans are exactly the same.
With a semi-open adoption, you may choose to select and meet your child’s adoptive parents, but then choose to maintain minimal to no direct contact after birth. Your adoption agency can serve as the liaison between the two parties.
A closed adoption means that no contact or information is exchanged between birth and adoptive families. Your adoption professional can help you navigate which path is best for you. Adoptions With Love keeps photos and letters on file, should a birth mother opt for a closed adoption but change her mind later. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to adoption, only decisions based on your comfort level, needs, and wishes.
Adoption is a positive option for those who are not ready to become parents, but who wish to make a plan for their baby’s future. Adoption provides children with safe and stable homes, where they can grow up knowing how much they are loved by both their biological and adoptive families.
If you are pregnant and would like to learn more about adoption and your adoption options, reach out to Adoptions With Love. We can help guide you through this journey. Call us any time of day, any day of the week at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.