Most women imagine that becoming pregnant will be a magical experience that occurs at just the right time; however, for many, this will not be the case. Unplanned pregnancies are far from uncommon. Women who are forced to deal with unexpectedly finding themselves with child may have to face an array of emotional and logistical issues, and be required to make some serious life choices that they had hoped to never encounter.
If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, you may feel like you are the only one who has ever been in that predicament, but you are far from alone. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, in 2001 nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies in the United States were unplanned. Unplanned pregnancy is so prevalent, in fact, that the CDC focuses on reducing the rate of unplanned pregnancies.
Sources of Support
While some women choose to deal with their unplanned pregnancy alone, you certainly don’t have to. Professional counseling, talking with friends or even writing a letter to yourself in which you sort through your emotions can all prove effective first steps in dealing with the situation, reports NineMSN. If you seek confidentiality but still want a supportive ear, the American Pregnancy Association may be a good source of support. By calling this nonprofit organization at 1-800-672-2296, mothers-to-be can talk confidentially to a specialist about their options.
Women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant ultimately have three options: To carry on with the pregnancy and keep the baby, to have an abortion or to give the child up for adoption. All of these choices have their complications, making selecting one option a complex task.
If abortion is the path that you elect to take, you will require help along the way. Before you commit to your decision, speak with a trained professional who can offer information and support. Contact Planned Parenthood at 1-800-230-PLAN to obtain information on termination options, including nonsurgical termination through the “abortion pill” as well as surgical abortion. While nothing can make the decision to have an abortion an unemotional one, speaking with a trained counselor can make it easier to think with your head.
The Adoption Option
If abortion isn’t for you, but raising the child isn’t, either, adoption is your best bet. Today, women who give up their babies for adoption have a host of options, including open adoptions in which they have varying degrees of contact with the child, either in person or through pictures. Arm yourself with the information you need to make this potentially difficult choice. Consider contacting American Adoptions, a nonprofit adoption agency that handles approximately 300 domestic adoptions annually, at 1-800-ADOPTION. This agency will send you an information packet that may help make the decision-making process a bit easier.
On to Motherhood
Women who continue their pregnancies and keep their babies may feel overwhelmed, but help is available from multiple sources. Explore online and community groups for expectant and new mothers, including childbirth preparation and breastfeeding support. Women in need of financial assistance can find help from state aid, including Medicaid and aid to dependent families; as well as the federal Women, Infants and Children, or WIC program, which provides food for low-income pregnant women and children under the age of 5. Local churches, philanthropic organizations and women’s refuge groups also offer resources for women with unplanned pregnancies.