You’ve created a life, and your current crisis may blind you from realizing how amazing this is. The unbelievable stress and anxiety of an unexpected pregnancy can block everything else in your life. And it may seem nearly impossible to sort through all the options available to you. Because of this, having help from others is essential to making the best plans. You might have friends or family who are unbiased and supportive enough to help work through the pros and cons of your options. Or you may choose to keep your crisis hidden from people you know and head to professionals instead.

Medical Health Professionals

Go to your OB-GYN or primary care doctor and get your pregnancy verified. Speak to the health professionals there about the situation, and ask what resources are available to you. Cast your embarrassment aside, and remember that these are professionals who encounter a host of issues every day, including unexpected pregnancy. You don’t want to blindly contact anyone without a reference from someone you can trust, so ask what they recommend your next steps be.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Carefully research crisis pregnancy centersCPCs have a bad reputation because many are anti-abortion. Contacting them may be a more viable option for you if you’re certain you’re choosing between adoption and parenting.

Many CPCs advertise themselves as health clinics and are located very close to actual health clinics. They can counsel you on your options. They can also get you in touch with resources that can help you figure out how to parent or learn about placing your baby through adoption.

Family Planning Clinics

Family planning clinics have professionals who can talk to you about all your options and can counsel you on the repercussions and benefits of each. Again, many family planning clinics get a poor reputation because they are less than forthcoming about the negatives accompanying any choice you make. This is why it’s essential you have some idea of your hopes for you and your baby before you sit down for any counsel. No matter where you are, continue speaking only to people who genuinely have your best interests in mind.

Trusted Advisors

Find anyone you look up to—a school counselor, a mentor, a therapist, a senior member of your church, a teacher, et cetera—and ask if you can talk to them about your unexpected pregnancy and see if they have any ideas. They may know of a reputable family planning center or CPC that’s been able to help women in your area.

Adoption

If you know adoption is the right thing for you, you have a few choices. You can either call a local adoption agency or try to find a family for your baby on your own.

If you look for an agency, choose one that’s non-profit, and read all online reviews before even calling them. Before choosing an agency to work with, ask if they offer pre-placement options counseling and post-placement grief counseling. Only work with an agency that won’t pressure you, will provide you with resources to understand your options before placement, and will support you through your grief post-placement.

If you choose to find the family yourself, look on adoption profile hosting sites like Parent Profiles, or search Facebook or Google for terms like “adoption profile,” “hoping to adopt,” “adoptive family,” and “want to adopt.” Many of these hopeful adoptive families are already working with an agency.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you haven’t been persuaded or pressured by anyone you encounter along the way.

The decision you make for you and your child should be made because you’ve considered all the factors in your life—your resources and potential roadblocks—and have done the very best you can to make an educated decision. Listen to your gut throughout this process; don’t push your intuition aside. A mother’s love has many faces, and sacrifice is its core.