If you’ve found yourself unexpectedly pregnant and you’re not prepared to parent a baby, you may be wondering whether you should choose abortion or adoption. You’re not alone. Many women who have been in your situation have felt the same feelings you’re having right now. They’ve felt the pressure of having to make a life-changing decision. No matter what you choose, things will never go back to exactly how they were, but you do have the power to make the best of an undesirable situation. Only you can choose what’s right for you, but there are some pros and cons you may want to consider as you try to choose what path you want to take.

Abortion

Let’s say you choose abortion, and you walk into a clinic to end your baby’s life. You’ve read all the research, you’ve seen what developmental stage your baby is currently in, you’ve received counseling, and you’ve decided that this is something you can live with. Here are the pros and cons that would come along with your abortion decision.

Pros:

  • There may be days where you don’t dwell on your decision.
  • Only the people you choose to tell will know you got pregnant.
  • You won’t have to go through a pregnancy and all the pain and changes that come along with it.
  • You won’t need to have any ongoing connection to the father.
  • There won’t be an actual child here in this lifetime to answer to for your decision.

Cons:

  • You have created a life, and you have purposely ended it.
  • You are putting your needs before a child’s chance at life.
  • You will still actively grieve your decision and the loss of your child for an undetermined amount of time and in a way that is impossible to predict.
  • You don’t have long to make your decision.
  • You have no way of knowing how much pain your baby may feel or what the trauma may do to you post-abortion.
  • For the rest of your life, you will look at children who are the age your child would have been, and you’ll wonder, “What if?”

Adoption

In a parallel world, maybe you consider your options and decide adoption is the best of all the options. Maybe you’ve met with a counselor and talked about the possibilities. You’ve found a family independently or worked with an agency, and you’ve found your child’s future parents. You’ve spent time getting to know them, have grown close, and have decided together how much contact you’d like your child to have with you as he or she grows. You’re able to envision what your child’s life will be like. After his or her birth, you sign away your parental rights, and you make two people, who may not have ever been able to become parents without you, a mom and a dad. Of course there are pros and cons to this decision, but let’s do the cons first because adoption isn’t all positive.

Cons:

  • There may be days when you regret your decision or grieve the loss of parenting your child and having him or her near you every day.
  • People will know you got pregnant.
  • You will have to experience an entire pregnancy, and all the pain and changes that come along with it, without the end result of becoming a mom.
  • You may have some ongoing connection to the birth father if he also chooses to stay in your child’s life, but you may have none at all; it all depends on your situation.
  • There will be an actual child whom you will watch grow up, and someday (depending on how open your relationship is) you will probably field questions from that child about why you made your decision. There is no way of knowing, in the end, whether your child will be angry or grateful.

Pros:

  • You have created a life, and you’ve given that life a shot at experiencing life.
  • You are putting a child’s needs above your own.
  • You may grieve your loss, but you won’t be grieving death or the decision to end a life.
  • You have time to choose what’s best for you and your child.
  • You get to create or add to a family for people who may not have otherwise been able to become parents.
  • There will be an actual child whom you will watch grow up, and someday (depending on how open your relationship is), you will probably field questions from that child about why you made your decision. You’ll get to explain how hard it was, how much you loved him or her, what that level of sacrifice felt like, and how glad you are that you gave him or her a chance at living a full life.

There is no judgment here. I can write a pros-and-cons list, but I can’t make a decision for you. What I do know is that even if it seems like a curse right now, getting pregnant is a privilege. I should know; I was never able to get pregnant or carry a child. I became a mom through adoption because two women weighed their options, just like you’re doing right now, and decided they could make all the sacrifices in the world to give their children the same chance they got—to learn, to grow, to make mistakes, to experience heartache, to learn what unconditional love is … to live. So, yes, I’m biased. I can’t lie and say I’m not. No matter what you choose—parenting, abortion, or adoption—hardships and victories come along with it. Your life will carry on no matter what you choose, and only you are capable of knowing what sacrifices you’re willing to make. Weigh your options, make a pros-and-cons list of your own, and have faith in yourself. You are so much stronger than you think you are.

Click here for a real-world perspective on choosing between adoption and abortion.