What Are Your Options if You Are Pregnant?
“I got in my car after leaving the doctor’s office and spent over an hour and a half just driving around. It finally started to sink in. I am pregnant…. But I can’t be pregnant… the doctor told me that my chances for getting pregnant were slim because I have endometriosis, plus, I’m on the birth control … How could I be pregnant now?” – How a Birth Mom Healed, Lindsay Arielle
I was in shock when I found out about my unplanned pregnancy. I could barely comprehend the reality of the situation. The calm that I felt was spiritual. Yet, realistically wrapping my mind around what an unintended pregnancy implied was deafening. I just couldn’t face the reality that my whole world had just been turned upside down. I was a full-time student with career dreams. I was a recovering alcoholic who had been focused on sobriety for a mere six months. I was a 22-year-old without a stable relationship. I was a young girl who wanted to start a life that had value. I just didn’t know how to shift focus from the value being about me to the value being about this little being growing inside of me.
“Analyzing the past, wondering how this could have happened, and coming to realize that it didn’t matter how I got there, the point was, I was there. I was pregnant. So now what? A baby? No, no, no. I can’t have a baby. Can I? No. I can’t. I’m 6 months sober, I’m still working on my undergraduate degree, I work in a video game arcade, I have nowhere to raise it. But, I’m almost done with my degree. I could find a great job, I’m really intelligent. I know there are places I could find to live until I got back on my feet. But Rory…what about him? Could I do this without him?” – How a Birth Mom Healed, Lindsay Arielle
It’s the shift from selfish direction to a focus on selflessness that hit me the hardest. My life was wrapped around the vision that I had for myself, and now I had another life to shift my focus to. Accepting that being a mother would be my new reality was a harsh pill for me to swallow. From the moment that I found out I was pregnant, I loved that child with every fiber of my spirit. That doesn’t mean my mind was ready to accept my new life.
How Do You Begin?
“I could. It would be hard, but I absolutely could. I took care of my sisters when we were growing up, I do not have some fairytale dream of taking care of a child. I am very aware of the reality of the challenges involved. Am I willing to make all those sacrifices for this life? I can’t. No way. Oh yeah, abortion. I always told myself I would get an abortion if I became pregnant. I’m too young. I’m not ready. But, I thought I could never get pregnant. Abort it? Abort the life that is inside me? But it’s not a life, I know it can’t survive without me for at least 3 months. What if this is the only chance I have? Forget that, what if this is happening for a reason… this is a miracle.” – How a Birth Mom Healed, Lindsay Arielle
Deciding what to do with an unexpected pregnancy is probably one of the hardest choices a woman will ever have to face in her life. Here you have this little life that you are solely responsible for. You have never met it, have no idea what the future holds, may have very little support — and none of those things change the fact that you still have a choice in front of you. That choice has a nine-month clock on it. Believe me, you feel that clock ticking every day. Tick tock. Tick tock. What are you going to do?
There are three unplanned pregnancy options: motherhood, adoption, or abortion. Honestly, when backed into a corner regarding an unexpected pregnancy, none of those seem like great options. The pregnancy option that I wanted but didn’t have was to be given more time to think about which choice I was going to make. Nine months is not long enough to decide about an unplanned pregnancy. Resolve doesn’t come overnight, and you cannot will yourself to decide. Unfortunately, no decision means you are making a decision as well.
I’m Pregnant: What Are My Options?
There are three unplanned pregnancy options as briefly reviewed below: motherhood, adoption, or abortion.
- Motherhood – Most little girls play with dolls while growing up. They dream of the day when they will have their own bundle of joy to care for. Being a mother is full of amazing firsts, moments of pure joy, and a lifetime of pride and commitment. What little girls don’t typically dream about is the lack of sleep, midnight feedings, and financial responsibility. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment, resolve and maturity. Taking the good with the bad is par for the course. Motherhood requires daily sacrifice of goals, wants and needs, and many other things. Yet, many women find themselves ready for it at some point in their life. If you’re ready for motherhood, then embrace it. Give that child everything you can, and try to make sure that you take care of yourself and your needs as well. If you’re not ready for motherhood, that is acceptable too. Perhaps one day you will be.
- Adoption – When a woman is facing an unplanned pregnancy, adoption may be her option of choice. While this is not necessarily a dream scenario, the pros of adoption may greatly outweigh the cons of adoption. A woman in this situation knows that abortion and motherhood are not options for her. Therefore, she has the option to choose a family that will raise her child. Adoption is not an easy way out by any means, but it opens many doors for a future relationship between a birth mother and her child. Adoption gives the child an opportunity at a life that a birth mother knew she couldn’t provide. The child is raised with growth opportunities that he or she wouldn’t have otherwise had. The option of adoption also gives a birth mother the opportunity to work on herself, her goals, and moving her life to a healthier path. Adoptive parents benefit in their desires as well: by being given realization to their dreams of being parents.
- Abortion – Abortion is legally an option for a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. Of course, it is up to the individual woman to determine if it is a moral option for herself. Abortion, in my opinion, may be the hardest decision in terms of emotional cost. Motherhood requires emotional sacrifice for the good of the child. Adoption requires emotional healing as it pertains to long-term quality of life. Abortion is abrupt and leaves out all future relationship options. Part of the reason that abortion is so controversial is that onlookers determine morality based on how conception took place and whether they believe a life is created upon conception. Some people feel that a conception in rape should morally allow for abortion, while others believe that a life is a life. Abortion is one of your options for unwanted pregnancy, and ultimately it is a woman’s decision and personal business regarding what her choice is to be.
There are very few circumstances in our world that absolutely require a decision. These decisions usually come in the form of life or death. When it comes to life, we are responsible for our children. So how on earth do you make such a decision when you are backed up to a ticking clock and you have no idea what you are going to do? Do some exploration regarding your options for unplanned pregnancy. Accept that this is your situation, and start learning about these choices.
Accepting that you are pregnant when it is unplanned is not an easy accomplishment. It is doable though with courage, strength, and resolve. Once you can accept that it’s decision time, then you can start making educated choices about your pregnancy options. I believe in educating women regarding their options, and empowering them to decide on a course of action that they feel at peace with. I advise considering long-term solutions instead of short-term band aids.
Short-term decisions may give you a sense of relief for now, but how will the decision make you feel in the long run? While you can choose adoption after the child has been born, you cannot choose motherhood after adoption or abortion. This makes the decision even more complicated. Abortion means no options for the future. Adoption means limited options for the future. Motherhood means more time to process. The ultimate question, when it comes to the life of a child, requires an act of selflessness. What is best in the long-term for the child?
While an unplanned or even unwanted pregnancy can put a dent in our plans, it opens the door for us to achieve a whole new level of love for another being. Unplanned pregnancy requires us to set aside our own selfish desires to provide long-term options for a child whom we love infinitely but have never met. What could be more selfless than to consider the long-term wellbeing of a child we have never met?
Making a decision about the option of pregnancy require deep selflessness for the life that is growing within us. It may seem like a great temporary solution to have an abortion, but how will we cope with that in the long-term? It may seem like a great fairy tale to be a parent, but will we be able to provide for the child’s long-term needs? Adoption may seem like the only way out, but will it be best for the child? These are questions we are forced to ask ourselves as future mothers when it comes to our options for pregnancy.
What About Regret?
Regret is, in my opinion, the scariest portion of this decision. While we are required to be selfless for our child, we also do not want to regret the decision we make for the rest of our lives. I was afraid of regret, and held back making the adoption decision until my son was six months old. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. While the selfless side of me wanted to provide him everything he could ever want and need, the selfish part of me didn’t want to face regretting such a decision.
I can’t speak to the regret of abortion, as I am grateful to have never had that difficult experience. I can speak to the relief that I have no regret regarding my adoption decision. I am not regretful that I chose adoption for myself and my child because I love his parents. I think this is the key to finding peace with an adoption decision: being secure in who you have chosen to parent your child. I didn’t meet my son’s future parents until my son was six months old; I knew I wanted adoption, but when I met them, I had a knowing in my spirit that they were always meant to parent him. That is what gives me peace: my son is where he belongs and his parents are who he belongs with.
So, where will you find your peace? Will you think long-term or look for short-term relief? Are you afraid of regret? Or are you searching for peace?
Whatever you decide, remember that this is your decision and no one else’s. Be confident in your choice, and no matter what you choose, walk a path of healing after experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.