I’m Pregnant. What Are My Options?
The test is positive. You saw the plus sign at the end of the stick and you verified it with your doctor. You weren’t planning for this, but you’re pregnant.
Scared. Angry. Worried. Overwhelmed. It’s completely normal to be feeling all these emotions right now. Facing an unexpected pregnancy is a big deal. It can be extremely stressful and terrifying. Though ultimately, you’re the one who will make the decisions about this pregnancy, you aren’t alone. And, even if your partner isn’t involved, you don’t have to handle this all by yourself.
Your first thought might be, What am I going to do? You might be feeling so overcome by emotions or fear that you don’t even know what your options are.
Even though this might feel like an urgent problem, the good news is that you don’t have to make any decision immediately. Often times when we react immediately to our circumstances and make choices based off emotions we don’t always end up making the best decision for ourselves. Give yourself the gift of time to breathe and sort out all the different emotions you’re feeling. Then, when you’re ready, you can think about your options and your next right step.
When facing a pregnancy, you really have three legal options:
You can choose to have and raise your baby – either alone or with the help of your partner or your family.
You can choose to place your baby for adoption. If you decide on adoption, you can choose how much you want to be involved in the process and whether you want to remain in contact with your child and the adoptive family.
You can choose to have an abortion. The laws for abortion vary from state to state, and some states require parental consent for anyone under the age of 18.
Maybe you already know which option you’d choose. Or maybe you need help sorting through the decision process. Perhaps asking yourself these questions will help you come to the decision that is best for you.
- How do I feel about being pregnant? Are you excited and happy with the idea of a baby, but sad about the timing? Are you completely devastated and feeling like your life is over? Are you worried about how other people will respond? Are you scared about whether or not you’re ready to be a parent? Taking time to examine and write down your feelings will help you know what you really want to do.
- What do I want to be doing in my life in the next year, three years, and five years? Make a list of the goals you have for yourself. How does a baby fit in with those goals? Maybe parenting a baby will change your timeline or the process a bit, but you can see yourself making it work. Maybe you know that parenting just isn’t at all what you want to be doing for the next few years.
- What do I have to gain from having and raising a baby now? What do I have to lose? Make lists and weigh them against each other.
- Can I financially afford to raise a baby? What resources do you have available? Do you have insurance? A job? A partner or family to help out? Are there resources in your community to assist you? Do you qualify for government assistance?
- What does my partner, the other parent of this baby, think? What does my family think? Though the decision is ultimately yours to make, it can be helpful to consider the opinions of other people affected by this.
- Am I being pressured toward one choice? If someone is pressuring you toward a decision, consider whether you’ll live with regret for the choice you’re being pressured toward.
- Do I have strong values or beliefs about abortion, adoption, or parenting? If you have strong beliefs either for or against something, that is definitely something you want to consider when making a choice. If you make a choice against your own values, you’ll probably have a difficult time making peace with that decision.
- What do I know about abortion and potential risks? It may seem like a clear-cut decision but there are a lot of things to consider. Would it be medical or surgical? Is it safe? Is it painful? Could it affect me later? Can anyone force me to have one?
- Do I have a network of people to support me in my decision? Are there people who will offer emotional support if you choose an abortion? Will the people in your life support a choice of arranging an adoption? Do you have a system of support to help if you choose to have and raise your baby?
It can also be helpful to write these sentences down and fill in the blanks:
The idea of becoming a parent right now makes me feel ________________.
The idea of placing my child for adoption makes me feel ________________.
The idea of having an abortion makes me feel _____________.
As you consider your options, you may find it helpful to talk with your partner, a trusted family member, or a friend. And if you don’t know who to talk to, you can definitely call us. Our staff is here for you. Many of us know what it’s like to face difficult decisions like this. There’s no judgment here. We’ll listen and offer information and resources so that you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you.