What This Statement Might Really Mean
“I don’t want my baby.” Talk about a statement that will make you feel guilty about yourself. To put this statement in a Google search is one thing, but to say it out loud is another. Guess what? You’re not alone. “I don’t want my child” is a statement that someone makes when they are not ready to be a parent. Yet, I believe that such a statement and its meaning is misunderstood.
What Does It Mean?
Saying “I don’t want to be pregnant” or “I don’t want my baby” is not about wanting to do something rash to make ourselves feel better; it is a cry for help and a desperate plea for a solution. When a young woman feels that she cannot parent a child, that may invoke many feelings of guilt, and such a statement may be the only thing she knows to say. How do you even begin to express what it feels like to have a responsibility in front of you that you know you are not ready to take on?
If such a statement has been expressed by your lips to another, or from your fingers on a keyboard, my prayer for you is alleviation of all guilt. I know that guilt is typically associated with such a statement, because I faced it myself when I realized that I could not handle parenting full-time in the position that I was in. My goal in this article is relieve you of your guilt by re-framing what that statement implies.
Break the Statement Down
“I don’t want my baby.” Let’s break it down. First of all, want implies a desire. It implies something is or is not willfully being chosen. Is this truly a matter of want? When every fiber of your being is screaming at you that a baby is not something you can handle nor something you desire, the proper and appropriate word is not “want,” it is “able.” Let’s reframe this statement and see if this makes more sense: “I’m not able to have a baby.” “I’m not able to keep a baby.” “I’m not able to parent a baby.”
This brings me to the next point. What is the verb you are looking for? Keep? Parent? Care for? If you consider what you mean by this statement, I think it will greatly help you weigh out your options. Take this statement that is highly misunderstood, and reword it to be appropriate for your own circumstances. For example, in my own life, the statement “I don’t want my baby” was much more accurate when I re-framed it to “I’m not ready to be a parent.” Defining what I honestly felt helped me to choose the right decision for myself and that baby, which ended up being adoption.
What Do I Mean?
If you are pregnant and don’t want to be, and you find that any of the following statements resonate within your heart, then what you may really be trying to say is that you are ready to choose adoption, or at least seriously consider it:
- “I can’t have a baby.”
- “I can’t be a parent.”
- “I’m not ready for a baby.”
- “I’m not ready to be a parent.”
- “I don’t want a baby.”
- “I don’t want to be a parent.”
- “I don’t want to keep my baby.”
- “I want to place my baby.”
- “I am considering adoption.”
- “I choose adoption.”
- “I want my life back.”
- “I want a better life for my baby.”
- “I feel trapped.”
- “I don’t want to feel trapped.”
The above statements are just another way to re-frame that statement, “I am pregnant but don’t want my baby.” My suggestion is to take an honest look within your heart to find out what it is that you want. While there is no way “out” of an unplanned pregnancy, you are not trapped. You have options.
I think it’s important to mention that negative thoughts during pregnancy may be a sign of depression. A thought here or there is one thing, but an impending sensation of doom is an indication that something else may be going on chemically. I highly suggest surrounding yourself with support, and seeing a doctor if you suspect that depression may be swallowing you. Before choosing adoption for your baby, it is important to determine whether you don’t want to be pregnant because you’re truly not ready to parent, or whether you could be suffering from perinatal or postpartum depression.
Perinatal depression is defined as “depression that occurs during pregnancy or within a year after delivery.” It is believed to be one of the most common complications of pregnancy, and a woman’s risk of developing perinatal depression may increase if she has:
- a history of depression or substance abuse
- mental illness in her family history
- a lack of support from friends and family
- marital or financial issues
Perinatal depression can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms — fatigue, problems sleeping, strong emotional reactions, weight gain or loss and hormonal changes — can be attributed to typical pregnancy symptoms.
However, while these changes are common during pregnancy, some symptoms can become severe enough to require treatment.
If You Suspect Perinatal Depression
Please speak with your doctor immediately to discuss what you are experiencing, and what support resources and psychological help is available to you. Remember, depression is not a choice and you are not weak for experiencing such feelings. Asking for help takes courage and strength. If you are experiencing symptoms of suicidal ideation or thoughts of suicide, please call the following help line:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800)273-8255
Whatever you do…
Be true to you. No matter what decision you make, or what the statement may really mean to you, my suggestion is to find conviction within yourself and stick by it. After all, the decision that remains to be made regarding an unplanned pregnancy is never one taken lightly. If you find yourself saying any of the phrases above, please consider that adoption is ALWAYS an option. No matter what nay-sayers claim, this is your decision alone. Do your research, and be convicted to what is in your heart.