Facing an unplanned pregnancy is scary, and there are no easy answers. What is right for one person might not be right for another. Here are some things to think about when you need to choose between parenting and placing your baby for adoption.

Consider the Reasons

Would you be placing your baby for adoption because you felt pressured by friends or family? Would you be placing for purely financial reasons? Many women place for both of these reasons. But they are not the right reasons to choose adoption. If you believe you are the one who could provide the best life for your child, then parent. This is your baby, and it isn’t anyone else’s place to pressure you. If the only reasons you would consider adoption for your baby are financial, there are local, state, and sometimes church resources that provide financial aid to single mothers.

Placing your child for adoption is a totally valid option but should be done only for the right reasons. If you are considering placement because you truly feel that it would be your child’s best shot at life, it’s probably the right thing to do.

Be Objective

Placing your baby for adoption requires you to take a brutally honest look at your life. Are you mentally, physically, and emotionally stable enough to provide a steady home for your child—not just now but in the decades to come? If you parent, what relationship will your child have with the birth father? Will that relationship (or lack thereof) harm the child, physically or emotionally? What is your support system like? Make a list of pros and cons for both parenting and placing.

Remember, this is not about you; it’s about your baby. Whether you parent or place, you are still a mother, and it is your responsibility to provide the best life possible for your child. Placing will not make you a bad mom; it just means that, right now, your circumstances are not ideal for raising a baby. It’s hard to be objective in a time as emotional as this, but for the sake of your child, you have to be.

Go with Your Gut

This is easier said than done. There might be pressure from people you care deeply about you to parent or to place. There might be a million reasons you feel like you’re wrong, no matter whatever you choose. The truth is that there is no perfect answer. There is no easy way out, no totally ideal situation. There is only what is best for your baby. You are the only one who can know what is truly right for your child.

Remember That Your Baby Will Be Okay

If you care enough to read this article, your baby will be okay. Reading this article shows that you care about your child and that you want what’s best for him or her. If that means parenting, it will be okay. You will love your child, and that love will carry you both through hard times to come. Your child will not be ruined forever if you are a loving mother. If wanting the best means placing, it will be okay. You and your child’s adoptive parents will love your him or her, and that will carry you both through the grief and hardships that come with adoption. Your child will not be ruined forever if you are a loving birth mother.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are good things and bad things about both parenting and placing, and it’s up to you to decide which is better. When the time comes, you will know in your heart which option is best for you and your child.

You can visit Adoption.com to find resources in your time of need during your unexpected pregnancy.

You can visit adoption.com/forums to read other expectant mother’s stories through adoption boards.

Considering adoption? Choose a family to adopt your child. Visit Parent Profiles on Adoption.com or call 1-800-ADOPT-98. 

Annaleece Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.