Not all pregnancies are planned and exciting. If yours isn’t, you are not alone.
I was only 17 years old when I found myself dealing with a crisis pregnancy. Just a child dealing with a situation, I was in no way prepared to deal with my new future. Luckily for me, my now-husband was my rock during this time. When I felt like giving up, he lifted me up and helped me. I know not everyone has that support system in life. Truthfully, right now, you might be thinking, “What should I do in a crisis pregnancy?” but you do have a lot of options. Luckily, you have the best resource available to you that you are already utilizing, namely, the internet. Now it’s just time to figure out where to start first.
First, understand one thing: a crisis pregnancy looks different for everyone. Just because you are thinking “What should I do in a crisis pregnancy?” and not picking out baby names does not mean you are a bad person. There are many reasons why a baby is not the right addition to your life right now. An unexpected pregnancy can happen to anyone at any stage of life. The best thing you can be doing right now is checking out your options. Fortunately, with the wonderful use of the internet, information is right at your fingertips.
What Should I Do in a Crisis Pregnancy?
A good first option would be to check out your local crisis pregnancy center. Many crisis centers are run by religious organizations. These centers will focus on helping you see options to choose the best life and outcome for your child. From there, the centers can help you connect to a local medical professional to receive prenatal care. Crisis centers can also provide a counselor for you to speak to, connect you with organizations that help expectant mothers, and even help you see if adoption is the right choice for you. You can locate a crisis pregnancy center near you to schedule an appointment.
Care Net, Heartbeat International, or Birthright International are the most well-known crisis centers. These organizations have offices all across the nation and can help you get connected to the care you need.
What Are My Priorities?
You should seek medical help. No matter what your decision is, you need to make sure you are physically healthy. Being pregnant completely throws your body into a new physical and mental state. Your entire body changes as it prepares to make space for the child inside you. Because it is such a major physical change, making sure you are under the care of an OBGYN will help ensure you are healthy and can continue through the pregnancy. Prenatal care is vital to your child’s development as well as your own overall health. For some reason, many women try to postpone these appointments. I’m not sure if it’s the fear of the unknown. I know in my case, I held off on seeing a medical professional till I was almost five months along. Obviously, this was the worst thing I could have done. However, I was a teenager, I was scared, and I did not have access to medical care. Luckily for me, my son was born without any complications or issues. That outcome unfortunately does not go as smoothly for other expectant families. So, don’t take the same risk I did. See a medical professional that you trust.
Along with seeking medical attention, seek out your support team. As I said, my now-husband was an amazing support system. If you do not have a partner who is able to be that support team for you, then find that support in someone else. A good friend, a parent, or a family member are perfect options. Oftentimes, when you are caught in a crisis pregnancy, you feel isolated and pushed away from the ones you love. This feeling of isolation is common due to fear, frustration, and the worry that you are disappointing the ones you love. Push through that, and surround yourself by those who will uplift you and be able to encourage you during this time. Remembering that you are not alone during this time is so important.
Understand That You Have Options
You do have options. Adoption is a selfless and loving act that you can give to a family who is waiting for a forever child. We adopted our youngest daughter almost five years ago. I am forever grateful to her birth parents for the amazing gift that the couple gave us. I do not know what led the family to adoption, but I know it must have taken a lot of love and sacrifice on both the birth mother and birth father’s part to place her for adoption. An adoption is a valid option that will provide a loving home for your child, as well as allow you to continue on your life plans. Speaking to an adoption specialist is the perfect starting point. The specialist will help you understand your legal and parental rights, and basically see if adoption is the path you want to take. Many adoption organizations offer to counsel as well. This is a perfect chance for you to discuss the emotions you are feeling with a trained professional. So, instead of thinking “What should I do in a crisis pregnancy?” you can think “I was able to seek help during my crisis pregnancy.”
If adoption feels right to you, finding an agency to work for can sometimes feel overwhelming. You can check out agency directories or contact an agency local to you. From there, the agency will go over your rights and help you understand the legal process that takes place during adoptions. If you have someone in mind who you would like to adopt your child, the agency can make sure the family is registered and ready to go, prior to the birth of your child. If you would rather the child go to someone you do not know personally, you can begin checking out parent profiles to see what type of family you would wish for your child. There are waiting for families all across the US with many types of family structures. Many agencies will help you set up an adoption plan and this will help narrow down your search.
Keep in mind that there are different types of adoption. Open adoptions allow you to receive updates, photos and even meet up with the child and the adoptive family. Some expectant parents enjoy this open communication because it allows the birth parents to stay in the child’s life in a small way. This is the perfect option if you know the family who adopts your child. Others find open adoptions difficult and prefer closed adoptions. This means there is no contact from either party until the child reaches legal age, depending on what both parties agree with. There is also a semi-open adoption. This option looks different to everyone, but usually involves yearly updates, photos, and possible meetups once a year. You’ll be able to discuss your desires with your adoption specialist. The specialist, in turn, will do the best job to make sure you are comfortable and secure in which route you choose.
Keep in mind also, many agencies also assist with medical costs, health care, as well as connect you with other expectant parents in the same situation as you. The goal of the agency should first and foremost be to make sure you are comfortable with the process. The agency you work with will become a major part of your support team during this time and make sure you understand each step as you get closer and closer to delivery.
Focus on Self-Care
I know right now you are only focused on “What should I do in a crisis pregnancy?” and that is all that is consuming your mind. I don’t know what caused you to be in this situation. You might be a teen mom like I was, you might have faced a horrible trauma, or even just dealt with a birth control glitch and was never planning on being pregnant. Whatever your situation, you need to take time to care for yourself. Right now, you need to take time to practice self-care as much as possible. Your body is going through a lot and changing daily. With that, hormones seem to go overboard. Taking time to make sure you are emotionally secure during this time is so important to your overall health and security.
Connecting to a spiritual counselor in your area is a great place to start. The shame, disappointment, and feelings of darkness are going to keep you isolated. Working with a spiritual counselor will help you overcome these feelings. Many organizations, churches, or spiritual establishments offer counseling services for little to no cost. Even if you are not practicing a religion, this might be a good time to start. Also, with the new ways the internet is still connecting us, you can even speak to a professional therapist right from your home. Many focus on traumas or crises that can help you overcome and work through your feelings.
Exercise is the perfect way to boost your emotional health. During your first few months of pregnancy, you might be feeling drained, sick, and exhausted. Keeping yourself moving and active will help overcome those feelings and help you not only physically, but emotionally as well. Going for walks with a good friend, riding a bike, or even hitting the gym with some light weight lifting will do wonders for you. Just make sure to speak to your health care provider before starting a new exercise regimen.
Do You Still Have Questions and Concerns?
Understand that it’s completely ok that you are not feeling ok right now. This wasn’t planned. This situation is not the one you thought you would have to face. You might not be planning baby names, picking out cute clothes, and dreaming about your babies’ milestones. You might be angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, and just simply unhappy with this entire situation. Guess what? That is ok. Give yourself some grace during this time. Just because this mistake happened, doesn’t mean you are to blame.
For so long, I struggled with the feeling that our unplanned pregnancy was my fault. I thought maybe my now-husband married me out of obligation and not out of love. I felt like everywhere I went, people judged me and looked down on me. This caused me so much depression that took a long time for me to overcome. There will be people in your life who cannot deal with this situation properly. People will say things that shouldn’t be said and express unwanted opinions. Just remember that unplanned pregnancies do not change who you are on the inside. Give yourself some grace to move on from this crisis and continue on your new path. Relying on your support system during this time to help you spiritually, physically, and emotionally will help you overcome everything you face. This is simply one small stage in your life, and soon it too will pass. Again, connecting with other expectant parents during this time will be a major asset to you. Even reading this eBook will help you understand that you are not alone right now.
I now have three additional children. Each one of my pregnancies came with its own struggles and obstacles. My son is now eighteen and beginning the next stages of his life. I am grateful to be his mom. And even though his pregnancy was full of some bad memories, I cherish the lessons I learned during that stage of life. My life did not turn out how I may have originally planned for myself, however, I am grateful that I was able to turn my “What should I do in a crisis pregnancy?” into a positive. I hope you are able to do that as well, no matter what path you choose.
Jen and her husband Juan live in a small southern California town with their four amazing kids, two dogs, a cat, a rabbit, a bearded dragon and some fish. Their youngest was adopted almost 5 years ago and turned their lives upside down in the most amazing way. Their daughter has Down syndrome and Autism and through this journey, Jen has found her voice as an advocate, blogger and author. Jen is a proud stay-at-home mom, youth pastor’s wife, writer, crafter and kitten raiser. When she isn’t spending time with her family she is online interacting with families from all around the world.