An unplanned pregnancy is the last situation a woman expects to find herself in. But it happens more often than you think. About half of all women in the United States face an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives. But even if you know this fact, you may have a hard time getting over the shock when an unplanned pregnancy is more than just a statistic for you.
If you’re unexpectedly pregnant, it’s going to feel impossible to even think about the future when your present feels so overwhelming. But remember that you do have choices. Before you make one of the biggest decisions of your life, learn more about your options for an unplanned pregnancy.
What are My Options if I’m Pregnant?
When a woman finds out she’s expecting, she has three unwanted pregnancy options.
There are positives and negatives to each one. As such, this will be a very personal decision to make. Everyone’s situation is different, so you should spend a lot time thinking about which of the 3 legal options a pregnant woman has is right for you.
What Should I know About My Unplanned Pregnancy Options?
There are many women who know immediately which unplanned pregnancy option feels right. For others, it will involve a lot of deliberation. But no matter what you decide to do, remember that the decision is yours alone. This is your pregnancy, so you’re the only person who will know what’s best.
To better help you make your decision, here’s a brief overview of each option for what to do if you’re pregnant.
- Abortion: Abortion is your earliest option if you don’t want to be pregnant. This procedure is incredibly safe, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with any emotional costs. This procedure is normally done during the first trimester, sometimes in the second, and seldom in the third — depending on which state you live in. If you’re considering this option, it’s highly recommended that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options when pregnant and considering abortion.
- Adoption: Adoption is an amazing and selfless act. But is not easy by any means. Many women experience feelings of grief and loss after placing their child for adoption. But knowing that they’ve given their child an incredible future and hand-picked parents can help ease the pain. If you choose this option, you can have as much of a relationship with your child’s parents as you want.
- Parenting: Parenting is a great option, but there is a lot to consider before you choose this legal option for a pregnant woman. Having a child means your own dreams for the future will need to be delayed. Becoming a parent is one of the hardest jobs there is, and you need to be prepared for the emotional ups and downs that come with it. Not only that, but parenting is also your most expensive unplanned pregnancy option. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child to 17 is on average $230,000. Before you decide to become a parent, make sure to ask yourself if you’re emotionally, mentally and financially ready for the journey ahead.
How Do I Know Which Unplanned Pregnancy Option is Right for Me?
Choosing between your options for an unplanned pregnancy won’t be an overnight decision. You need a thorough understanding of what’s involved in each one, which is something that takes time and patience.
If you’re feeling unsure about your unplanned pregnancy options, it can be helpful to start by imagining what you want your future to look like. Ask yourself:
- Am I ready to be a parent right now?
- Do I have a strong support system that will stand by my decision?
- Do I have the financial means to give a child the life I want for them?
- Am I ready to put my dreams on hold if I decide to parent?
- What do my friends and family think about abortion and/or adoption?
- Am I emotionally and physically ready to be pregnant?
These are some big questions to answer. But they should help put you on the right path if you’re asking what your options are if you’re pregnant.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as you figure out what’s best for you. Right now, you may feel like you’re at a crossroad. Each choice has advantages and drawbacks, so it can be hard to know which one is right for you. If you need more time to decide which option is right for you, don’t worry. Many women aren’t sure of which unplanned pregnancy option is right for them immediately. And some won’t even know until late into their pregnancy or even after delivery.
When it comes to choosing the best option after an unwanted pregnancy, there are no wrong answers — only the answer that feels right for you. If you’re having trouble figuring out which option is right for you, there are plenty of resources to you.
Who Should I Reach Out Talk About My Unplanned Pregnancy Options?
Thinking about the legal options a pregnant woman has will be difficult. But you don’t have to do it on your own.
A great place to start is by talking to someone in your family that you trust or a close friend who will respect your decision. Although some friends and family may not be as supportive as you’d hope, that doesn’t mean there won’t be someone in your corner ready to support you.
An adoption counselor who can walk you through your unplanned pregnancy options is another great resource. You might be thinking, “Does talking to a counselor mean I have to choose adoption as my accidental pregnancy option? Not at all.
An adoption professional can give you free, unbiased information on all accidental pregnancy options, not just adoption. You will never be pressured into a decision that isn’t right for you. Many adoption agencies also have 24/7 hotlines, which means that you can call at any time, no matter where you are.
You should never feel like you’re being pressured into one of these options for an unexpected pregnancy. Be careful of crisis pregnancy centers masquerading as real medical centers and of people who may try to sway you from your unplanned pregnancy decision. No matter who you decide to reach out, make sure that you’re receiving reliable, trustworthy information.
What Happens Next?
We bet that you’re still feeling overwhelmed and scared about the coming months. But the most important thing to know is that you don’t have to decide right away. You can take some time to calm down and center yourself as you think about your unexpected pregnancy options.
When you are ready, an adoption professional can walk you through all the legal options for pregnant woman. No matter what choice you decide to make, you’re not alone, and a counselor will be ready to listen.