How to Deal with an Unplanned Pregnancy If Abortion Isn’t for You
“It can be difficult to face an unexpected baby. If you aren’t sure how you’re going to handle the situation, you might feel overwhelmed. You may have begun to think about your options.”
The only safe, effective way to end a pregnancy is a professionally performed abortion. There’s no alternative to abortion if you don’t want to carry out the pregnancy.
But abortion isn’t right for everyone. What’s more, changing abortion laws and new restrictions may also make abortion more difficult, if not impossible, to access in your state.
Continue the pregnancy is one of the other options. There are pros and cons to those options. The best choice is the one that works for you, so keep that in mind when you are considering your choice.
Adoption means you go through with pregnancy and childbirth and then allow another family to raise the child.
You need to consider two other decisions if you decide to go with adoption.
- Do you want an open or closed adoption?
- Do you want to use an agency or do you prefer a direct placement?
We will get into what this means.
When you give birth and place the child for adoption, you have no contact with the child or their adoptive family.
The adoptive family may not tell the child about the adoption. The child may have access to adoption records once they turn 18 if they share this information. This depends on state law and the type of paperwork involved.
“An open adoption allows you to stay in touch with the child’s adoptive family.”
The family may communicate in different ways.
- Send yearly photos, letters, or other updates.
- Call with the latest news from time to time.
- Visit often.
- Encourage the child to reach out when they are older.
The details of the arrangement will be determined before the event. You will have the chance to communicate what you want before you agree to anything.
Direct placement adoption
Direct placement adoptions are good for people who want to choose their adoptive family.
You will need an adoption attorney to help you with the adoption. The legal fees are usually paid by the adoptive family.
Your attorney can help you and the adoptive family decide on an open or closed adoption.
Finding the right adoption agency is important if you choose to place your child with it.
Choose one that is right for you.
- Information about all the options for pregnant women is offered.
- It helps you access medical care.
- treats you with kindness.
- is licensed and operates in a way that is ethical.
- answers your questions honestly.
- “If you want, you can have some say in the child’s adoptive family.”
There are many adoption agencies. If you get a bad feeling from one agency, you should choose another. It is important that you feel supported during the adoption process.
- “You give someone who can’t have children the chance to raise a child.”
- “You give the child the chance to have a lifestyle that you can’t provide.”
- “If you aren’t ready to be a parent, you can focus on school, work, or other needs.”
- You give up your parenting rights permanently.
- You may disagree with how the adoptive parent raises the child.
- It may be difficult or painful to have a baby.
- Pregnancy and childbirth could have an impact on your body or health.
Guardianship is the process of placing a child with another person or family and allowing them to raise the child. You keep some of your parental rights if you choose a guardian instead of an adoptive family.
“If you can’t raise a child right now but want to stay involved in your child’s life, this is a good option.”
Guardianship may involve monthly child support payments, so it is important to consider your finances.
Who can be a guardian?
A close friend or relative is often chosen to be a legal guardian for a child. It is important to have open discussions with the potential guardian and to carefully think over the process.
How do you start the process?
You need to talk with an attorney if you decide to have someone look after your assets. Laws about legal guardian vary by area. An attorney can help you.
- You can still visit the child.
- You may have a say in some decisions.
- Guardianship can be temporary.
- You choose the guardian for the child.
- You might disagree with the guardian.
- “It might be difficult to have a limited role in the child’s life.”
- It can be difficult to take custody of a child when you have a guardian.
“You might wonder if you could actually become a parent if you didn’t plan on having kids for a long time.”
“People find parenting rewarding. It can be challenging if you don’t have a lot of support. The financial costs of parenting can quickly add up, and many states offer resources to parents and families in financial difficulties.”
Depending on your relationship with the other parent, you have a few options for parenting.
“Even if you don’t have a romantic relationship, you still share parenting responsibilities with the other parent.”
This might work well.
- You have a good relationship with someone.
- You both want children.
- The two of you can come to an agreement on a co-parenting arrangement.
“It might not be ideal if that’s the case.”
- “The other person doesn’t want you or the child to be involved with them.”
- Your relationship was in any way abusive (emotional or physical).
- “You don’t know if the other is committed to the child.”
- “You don’t want to be involved with the other person.”
Before you make a decision, it’s best to start with an open conversation about how you each feel about parenting.
“Problems could pop up later on if you don’t sell the idea now. You need to be on board with the idea to co-parent.”
“Some people may have a change of heart after the birth of a child. You have to consider the possibility that the other parent may no longer want to be involved in the child’s life.”
There’s no way around it: Single parenting can be tough. But many people who choose to become single parents embrace this decision and never regret it, despite the challenges they may face.
Being a single parent doesn’t mean you need to go it absolutely alone. Parents, siblings, other relatives, and even friends may want some involvement in the child’s life. This kind of support can make a big difference.
Talking with your family and friends can give you an idea of the support you can get as a single parent.
Things to consider
You need to think about practical issues before you make a decision on parenting.
- Do you have your own place?
- Are you financially stable?
- Can you take a few months off from work or school, or will you have to return after giving birth?
- Can a family member or close friend care for your child while you are away, or will you have to pay for it?
- “Can you take complete responsibility for someone else’s needs?”
You might be concerned that your friends and family will judge you, but they may be surprised.
If you’re worried about a negative reaction, consider connecting with a mental health professional for support. A therapist or counselor can help you anticipate any issues and brainstorm possible solutions. Remember, there’s no wrong answer here.
Talking with other single parents may give you a better idea of what to expect.
If you choose to parent alone, you may need to delay or change some of your plans for the future, but you can still live a rewarding and enjoyable life if you choose this path.
You should take a lot of time to consider the challenges involved and how they might affect you later in life.
- Raising a child can make you happy.
- It is possible that starting a family will increase your satisfaction with life.
- “A positive bond could be formed with the child’s other parent if they chose to co-parent.”
- Raising a child can be expensive.
- “You can’t predict how the other parent will act.”
- You might have to rethink your plans.
- Pregnancy and childbirth can sometimes have long-term effects on mental and emotional health.
- Changes to your lifestyle, hobbies, or living situation may be necessary.
It can be difficult to make a decision about an unborn child. You can help yourself through the process.
If you feel comfortable doing so, start by reaching out to a trusted friend or family member. In addition to emotional support, they can offer advice and guidance.
But in the end, the decision lies with you, and you alone. This highly personal decision involves your body, your health, and your future. Only you can consider all the factors involved and decide the best path for yourself.
Pregnancy or no pregnancy?
Remember, abortion is the only option for not continuing a pregnancy. If you still feel uncertain about going through with the pregnancy, you might find it helpful to learn more about what happens during pregnancy and childbirth.
An unbiased healthcare professional can provide accurate and helpful information. You can learn from people who have given birth.
A therapist who has experience with unplanned pregnancies can make a big difference.
They can help you understand your feelings around the baby and help you make a decision. They can help you navigate the specifics once you make a decision, from talking about co-parenting with the other parent to deciding on the best type of adoption for your needs.
You can find therapists in your area through directories like the American Psychological Association. Therapist directories typically have filters that allow you to search for therapists who focus on issues related to pregnancy and parenting.
Worried about the cost? Our guide to affordable therapy can help.
Take advantage of resources
There are a lot of free or low cost resources available for pregnant people.
Planned Parenthood offers a range of pregnancy-related services, including adoption agency referrals, counseling, and parenting classes. Find a center in your area here.
A healthcare professional can refer you to local resources. There are also college and university wellness centers.
- take a pregnancy test
- learn more about your options.
- Referred to a healthcare professional or clinic.
Having a hard time finding support in your area? All-Options is an online resource that provides free, phone-based counseling and support. They offer compassionate, unbiased, nondiscriminatory support, no matter what option you’re considering.
You may find free pregnancy tests at pregnancy centers as you review options. They might refer to themselves as a crisis center.
Some of the centers can provide helpful information, but many are dedicated to preventing abortion for religious or political reasons. If you are looking for abortion alternatives, you should be aware that these centers sometimes offer false or misleading information.
Call them and ask if a pregnancy center will give unbiased information.
- What services do you offer?
- What kind of medical professionals are on your staff?
- Do you offer condoms or other types of birth control?
- Do you test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
- Do you provide abortion services?
“If the clinic staff doesn’t answer any of the questions, it’s best to avoid that center. A trustworthy resource will give you answers about what they do and give you information about all of your options.”
You can learn how to spot a crisis pregnancy center.
“If you don’t know how to handle an unexpected baby, it can be hard to face.”
It never hurts to let trusted loved ones in. They can offer you support and help you explore your options.
At the end of the day, remember, it is your body and you have the choice of what to do.
Crystal Raypole is a writer for Healthline. Her interests include Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. She is committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues. She lives in Washington with her son and cat.