Changes. The only constant in this world that we can count on is change. Changing schools. Moving. Starting a new job. Marriage. Divorce. These are all things that will change your life! They are events that carve a niche in your memory for the rest of your life. An unexpected pregnancy will also be placed amongst that list as something that will change your life forever. Just having your first child means change—a change in your body, a change in your life plans, change everywhere.
There are so many emotions running through your mind: the fear of the unknown if you have never been pregnant before. There’s probably going to be some anxiety and depression. Making a decision with so many emotions running rampant is a dangerous thing. There is no shame in reaching out for help.
What do I do if I have an unexpected pregnancy, and I cannot provide for the baby?
“Congratulations!” and “You’re expecting!” and “When are you due?” are probably not the words you want to hear if your pregnancy was unexpected. If you are a teen or unmarried or became pregnant with someone you didn’t want to be pregnant with, your pregnancy can be awkward. You may try to hide it by wearing baggy clothes. You may avoid social gatherings. If you are a churchgoer, you may stop going to church for fear you will be judged. You may have thoughts of abortion. You’re not ready to be a mom or not ready for another child. What are some of the reasons women opt for an abortion?
1. You’re a teen, and you don’t want your parents to know. Most teens are not prepared to be parents. The thought of attending school and raising a child may seem overwhelming. If you are still living at home, your parents may not be prepared for another child in the home. Maybe you are afraid of what your parents will think. If your parents are not supportive, you may want to keep your pregnancy a secret, get an abortion, and no one will ever know. But know that covering one mistake for another does not erase the first mistake; it just compounds it.
2. You can’t afford a baby. If you have no means of support, are unemployed, or are homeless, you don’t want to raise a child in poverty. Your logic is that a child’s quality of life is very, very important. My question is this: is your child’s quality of life more important than his right to life? And who’s to say that just because a child is born into poverty means that he needs to stay there? Your child may grow up to be the next president or grow up to find the cure for cancer or grow up to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs! The future is full of endless possibilities. There is always hope.
3. A baby will interfere with your career or schooling. If your career is skyrocketing, you don’t want anything to stop that. Maybe you are due for a promotion. Maybe you just started college and have just become active in many extracurricular activities. Leaving college to raise a baby would be a disgrace. My answer to this is that there are many, many women who do both: complete their schooling while raising a child. It may be hard, and you may need lots of support, but it can be done.
4. Birth control. This may not be your first time becoming pregnant. It could be the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time. You just don’t want a baby. You decided to have unprotected sex, and unfortunately, you got pregnant. Your logic is that an abortion is a reversal of an unfortunate mistake. My answer is this: by the time you know you are pregnant, you are already a mother. Your baby has ten toes, 10 fingers, has brain waves, and a heartbeat. To stop birth from occurring would rob you of seeing what your beautiful child turns into!
5. You don’t love the father. Maybe there was only one time you loved the person who is now your child’s father. Maybe you were enamored with him, had an enormous crush on him, and in a moment of weakness, you gave in. Maybe you stay with him; maybe you don’t. You may be correct in not staying with him. Perhaps he is not a good person. Perhaps he is abusive. Perhaps he has other children with other women. Maybe your logic is that you don’t want to be reminded of your choice in men by the baby that is now growing inside you, and that is your reason for considering an abortion. But my question is this: is that the child’s fault?
6. Cases of rape or incest. If you have been raped or have endured incest, you are the victim of a crime! Consider this: pregnancy is not a crime, but rape is. So, if you do not report this unfortunate event and decide to proceed with an abortion, the crime may be covered up, and the perpetrator may be free to do it again. And next time, it could be a different victim. Do you have a younger relative that could also be a victim? In my opinion, the best way to avoid that is to report the perpetrator, have the baby, and place the child for adoption or raise the baby yourself. Otherwise, having an abortion creates two victims: you and your baby. Remember, the baby is innocent; the perpetrator is not.
7. You don’t want to be alone. Last and perhaps the number one reason why young women choose abortion is that they do not want to be alone. Maybe your boyfriend has already left or has threatened to leave if you have that baby. Perhaps he has even offered to pay for the abortion. Maybe you feel that being abandoned by your boyfriend and being left alone to raise the baby on your own is humiliating. Perhaps you’d rather take the chance of having him stay by having an abortion. However, there’s also the chance of him still leaving after the abortion. The truth is don’t underestimate the support others will give you in your time of crisis. There is always help and support to be found.
I want to say all of these above feelings are valid. But I would like you to get a new perspective. Consider the following:
– Get a new perspective
– Children are a blessing! In our fast-paced world, we want everything quickly, and we don’t want anything to hold us back. A baby could interfere with your career, relationship, or social agenda. But a child is actually a blessing, not a hindrance. You have the opportunity to pour your life into a young person.
She’s a child, not a blob of cells. The child in your womb is not a blob of cells. At seven weeks, she has brain waves and has a heartbeat. Further along in the pregnancy, she can suck her thumb. If you have twins, they can hug one another. Closer to the time of delivery, she will recognize your voice, feel your stress, and also your joys.
Don’t make a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Perhaps a night of passion went too far. Perhaps you thought you were doing a good thing, but you didn’t want it to end in pregnancy. Abortion terminates a living being. It is permanent. Pregnancy is temporary.
Your pregnancy was an accident, not your child. Your child is the natural result of your actions nine months earlier. Your child has a purpose and a future. Something good can come out of something bad.
– Consult with a pregnancy resource center. A pregnancy resource center (PRC), also known as a crisis pregnancy center, is a place where a pregnant woman can go to help her through this tough time. They provide ultrasounds, STI testing, and parenting classes. They may also provide post-abortive counseling, clothing, diapers, and formula. Some centers also provide housing for homeless expectant moms. They offer all these services without judgment and free of charge.
– Search for a maternity home in your area. A maternity home is a safe place for pregnant women to prepare to give birth and live a while after the baby is born. They give housing, prenatal classes, clothing, diapers, formula, etc. This is the perfect place for women who do not have support and have nowhere else to go. Consider this choice.
What do I do if I have an unexpected pregnancy as a teen, and I need to tell people?
– Speak with your significant other. Sit down and speak with your boyfriend. Be prepared for any reaction. Men react differently in different situations. If he wants you to get an abortion and you do not, you will have to do some soul-searching and decide what is best for you and your baby. Remember, your relationship with your boyfriend may not last forever. Measure that against the life of your child. Is it worth it?
– Speak with your parents. If you are a teen or still live at home with your parents, you will need to have “that” conversation. It may not be pleasant, and you may dread the day. But you need to bite the bullet and do it. First, take a pregnancy test to make sure. Second, invite your boyfriend to join you. Third, decide what you would like to do next. Do you want to stay in school? Will your boyfriend support you? Do you have somewhere else to live if the conversation with your parents does not go well? But rather than expecting the worst, expect the best. Your parents may not be judgmental; they may forgive and welcome the baby with open arms. Though they regret your decision to be intimate, they may be glad you kept the baby.
– Tell your boyfriend’s parents. Lastly, join your boyfriend when he tells his parents. They may have more compassion. You could also invite your parents with you and discuss a plan. The bottom line is you are not alone, and you have more support than you know surrounding you. Tap into that support.
What do I do if I have an unexpected pregnancy, and I want to place the child for adoption?
Adoption is a beautiful option! It may be the answer to not only your problems, but also a couple out there who are just hoping and praying for a baby just like yours! Adoption helps the biological mom in crisis, the adoptive mom who wants a baby, and the child in need. Remember, you are not “giving up a child” for adoption; you are making a life plan for that child and giving him or her a chance at a better life.
– Private infant adoption. If you know a couple who wants to adopt, private adoption may be a good choice. If you don’t know anyone, try searching adoption profiles for couples who share your values.
– Kinship adoption. This option is when one of your family members (extended or immediate) decides to adopt your child. This could be your parents, your cousins, or anyone in the child’s father’s family. This could definitely a good situation because the baby gets to stay in the family.
What do I do if I have an unexpected pregnancy, and I want to keep the baby?
Most young ladies who have any unexpected pregnancy decide to keep their babies. As a matter of fact, most women who see an ultrasound of their baby decide to keep their baby. No doubt, raising your baby will be difficult. There will be life changes all the way around, but it is possible. You may receive help from places you never thought possible: family, friends, the faith community, and the community at large. Think positively. You are not alone. There have been other women in your position who decided to keep their babies, and both they and their children are thriving. Do what is best for you and your baby!
Derek Williams is an adoption social worker and has been in the field of child welfare and behavioral health since 2006, where he has assisted families in their adoption journeys. He and his wife started their own adoption journey in 1993 and have 8 children, 6 of whom are adopted. His adopted children are all different ethnicities, including East Indian, Jamaican, and Native American. He loves traveling with his family and is an avid NY Mets fan! Foster care and adoption is a passion and calling for Derek and he is pleased to share his experiences with others who are like-minded.