Discovering you are pregnant may not always come as a welcome surprise, especially if you were not planning or trying to become pregnant. Such news, instead, may be met with a sense of uncertainty, panic and fear, rather than happiness and excitement. This is certainly understandable should you be experiencing feelings of not yet being ready to parent at this time in your life, or should you be feeling unable to take on the role of parenting (or parenting another child), or if, perhaps, parenting may not be a role you had foreseen for yourself or had even hoped for.
Why every pregnancy may not necessarily be such a happy surprise:
The timing of one’s pregnancy can certainly impact how one might react to discovering they are pregnant. Should you find yourself pregnant as a minor, having a child while still a child yourself is never an easy path and very likely will require the full support and hands-on assistance of one’s parents, including physical, emotional and financial. Discovering you are pregnant while still in school can make pursuing one’s studies and completing educational goals more difficult. Should you discover you are pregnant as a young adult before having had the experience and opportunity to fully gain and achieve your own sense of independence and stability (financial and otherwise), could be a very stressful discovery. Should you find yourself pregnant again shortly after having just given birth, or should you perhaps have felt your family to be complete before learning of your current pregnancy, could result in very mixed emotions. Perhaps your relationship with the baby’s father may be tumultuous or strained, or perhaps even nonexistent. News that a new child is coming into the world may likely not improve an already troubled relationship, or create a relationship if one did not previously exist. Perhaps you may be battling addiction, medical or mental health issues and the stress of an unplanned for pregnancy may understandably feel overwhelming to you.
The list of potential reasons why a birth mother may not receive their pregnancy news in a positive and glowing light could go on and on, as there can be so many variables at play in each young woman’s life at the time they may discover they are pregnant. Variables that can have a significant impact on how one may receive their pregnancy. Under any of the above scenarios, learning of one’s pregnancy may not be an easy situation to find oneself in…trying to figure out how to now navigate caring for and raising a newborn infant who will, from its first breath forward, be fully and completely dependent on its caregiver for its very survival and well being, as well as its ability to grow and thrive. A huge and monumental responsibility undoubtedly to take on for any person, even under the best of circumstances.
Okay…I’m Pregnant…What am I going to do?
What to do now? First, take a deep breath and don’t rush any decision. This decision you are about to make will have life long implications for yourself and your child. Deciding what to do about one’s unplanned pregnancy may well be one of the biggest decisions, if not the biggest decision, you will ever face making in your life, so allow yourself the time and personal space you need (however much time and space that may be) to give your situation the deep thought, reflection and analysis it deserves as you consider what is best for you and your child given your particular set of circumstances.
Find a quiet and calm space to focus in on your thoughts, without any outside distractions or disturbances. Next, ask yourself those most difficult questions and, most importantly, be honest with yourself as to the answers you find that may follow. After all, only you are privy to your inner most thoughts and being honest with oneself as to the answers that may come are what may lead you to the most optimal and best choice and outcome for yourself and your child.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How are you feeling about your pregnancy? Is becoming a parent (or adding to your family) something you have always wanted? Do you feel having a child at this time in your life would be a wonderful addition and enhancement to your life?
- How might the decision to parent a child impact your life? Do you feel you are ready for and accepting of those changes? Where you are currently in your life? Are you still in school? Do you have a good job and solid career? Are you self supportive? Is your relationship stable and solid with the birth father and is this someone you had envisioned building a life together with?
- What is important to you in raising a child, and do you feel ready and capable of being able to raise your child in the manner in which you feel is most important to do so?
- Do you feel capable at this time in your life of taking care of yourself and a baby (or another child)? Do you feel you have the time, ability and resources necessary to be able to parent a child (or another child)? Capability includes financial, as well as physical and emotional. Regarding the cost of raising a child, the average cost of raising a child born in 2013 up until age 18 for a middle-income family in the U.S. is approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation), according to the latest annual “Cost of Raising A Child” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That equates to roughly $12,800 – $14,970 per child per year for a two-parent family with a median annual income between $61,530 and $106,540. Here is a link to The Huffington Post article entitled: This Is How Much It Costs To Raise A Child In The U.S. Additionally, here is a link to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cost of Raising a Child Calculator: USDA Calculator.
- Do you have a support system to be there for you during those tough days and nights, as well as at those most difficult times, should you choose to parent? How solid and dependable might that support system be? Will you be living alone during the pregnancy and/or after the baby is born? What degree of assistance (emotional, physical and, perhaps, even financial) might you be depending on receiving from any such support system? Keep in mind, is it is not unusual for family and friends to rally around during one’s pregnancy or especially when a baby is born, and promises of assistance may well be offered, particularly should a birth mother be feeling unsure or overwhelmed. However, it is very important to realize that at the end of the day it is you, yourself, who is ultimately responsible for the care, health, support and well being of the child should you choose to parent.
- How do you feel about the birth father? Is this someone you love and are (or can envision) sharing a loving, harmonious and happy life with? Is this someone you would consider marrying and, if so, is marriage even a possibility? Would you still feel the way you do about the birth father even if you were not pregnant?
- What is your relationship like with the birth father? Is it a solid, committed, loving and harmonious one? Or have there been frequent upsets and/or breakups? Perhaps the birth father is just a casual friend, acquaintance or ex-boyfriend. A stable relationship provides a safe, secure and nurturing environment in which a child can grow and thrive and where children can feel love, cared for and secure. The added responsibility of raising and supporting a child places a tremendous amount of stress on a couple…any couple. Unless your relationship was solidified, committed, loving and happy prior to your pregnancy, it is statistically unlikely your relationship will get any better during the pregnancy or even once the baby is born and arrives home. It can’t be said enough…babies don’t save relationships. Statistics show 90% of teens who marry will divorce within six years, with the percentages of those divorcing only going down slightly the older the couple is when they marry.
- How does the birth father treat you? However he treats you is a good indicator of how he will treat the child.
- How does the birth father make you feel about yourself? It should be pretty terrific if you are planning on spending the next 18+ years with him!
- Is the birth father supportive of the pregnancy or has he voiced interest in an alternative solution(s) which would not involve his parenting? If the birth father is suggesting alternatives, you may want to take his feelings about the pregnancy at face value rather than hoping they may change over time once the baby arrives. Otherwise, you may find yourself in for a very big, and lonely, disappointment.
- Is the birth father happy about taking on the role as the baby’s father? If not, again, you may want to take this at face value. It may likely never change and you may find yourself faced with parenting with a partner who isn’t fully invested, involved or interested in his role as a parent, which would not be good for any type of relationship or for anyone, much less the child themselves. If the birth father is not happy about taking on the role of a father it is also possible you may find yourself parenting as a single parent. How might you feel about raising the child as a single parent without a partner’s assistance and support? Would you be ready for that possibility? Would you be able to fully step into the role as a single parent (physically, financially and emotionally) should that scenario present itself?
- Do you believe the birth father would make a good father? How is his temperament? Is he good with children? Does he enjoy being around and interacting with children? Is he capable, both financially (is he working and earning a reasonable wage for raising children; does he remain at his jobs for some length of time or does he float around the job circuit; does he save his money and pay his bills when due), physically (will he be a physical presence in the home to help you through the pregnancy and in raising the child) and emotionally (does he have the emotional capacity – the intent, drive, desire and commitment) of taking on the parenting role to this child? Or will the majority of the weight of parenting fall essentially to you? If so, do you believe you are ready to carry that weight? And, even more importantly, do you believe you are in a position and capable of doing so?
- Have you and the birth father graduated high school? Attended college or a trade school? The reality is there is a lot of competition for jobs in today’s job market and with today’s economy. Having a high school degree at the bare minimum can be very helpful, and may even be essential, in considering one’s job prospects, and earning a decent wage is definitely essential in maintaining a household and raising children. (See the links above pertaining to the cost of raising a child.)
- Do you and the birth father share similar values? If you are thinking in terms of yourself and the birth father both parenting, sharing similar values is always very helpful when it comes to parenting together.
- Do you feel your parenting style would be in line and in sync with the birth father’s? Would he be a good partner to parent with?
- Children require security and stability. Do you believe the birth father is stable, dependable and responsible? Will he be there for you during your pregnancy and while you are raising the child throughout all the years ahead? Is he someone you can depend and rely one? You may definitely want to try to figure out ahead of time if it is likely you may end up raising this child as a single parent on your own rather than as a two parent family. Looking at and considering the birth father’s past history can generally help paint a picture of the future. If he hasn’t been there for you in the past, and if you haven’t been able to count on him during your relationship, it is unlikely his behavior and actions will suddenly change to where he is now there for you once a child is involved, just as it is unlikely he will be there for the child. People do not typically change their set patterns of behavior. What you see is typically what you get.
- If you have reason to believe the birth father may not be involved (or involved to the degree you might prefer or feel you need) either during the pregnancy or after the child is born, what other support system might you have, or might be able available to you, in helping you raise the child?
As you ponder these most difficult questions and go through your in-depth and personal soul searching process, just remember…there is no shame in facing the sometimes harsh realities of one’s true circumstances and situation. Not everyone may feel prepared to parent or feel capable of parenting for a vast variety of reasons, none of which are to be judged. And not every birth mother may necessarily be interested in parenting. Every birth mother’s situation is unique unto herself and her own particular set of circumstances. What is most important when finding oneself faced with an unplanned pregnancy is to be utterly honest and truthful with yourself as you contemplate what to do next. Only in this way can you arrive at a decision most appropriate and most fitting for yourself and your child.
Speaking with a birth mother pregnancy advisor:
As you ponder these most difficult questions, should you feel unsure as to the prospect of parenting, you may find it very helpful to speak with a birth mother pregnancy advisor to discuss your feelings, thoughts, anxieties, fears and considerations in a safe, supportive, nonjudgmental and private environment. Adoption Consultants, Inc. can certainly help in this regard! Some areas to be explored may include:
- What your future may look like should you parent.
- Do you have a support system…someone safe to talk with and bounce ideas and thoughts off of.
- What are the specific goals you would like to reach.
- Assessment of your financial situation.
- If you are employed how your pregnancy could possibly impact your ability to continue doing your present job.
- If you are still in school how you will continue your studies and education.
- What your current housing situation is.
- Do you have food and proper nutrition.
- Do you have transportation available to you.
- Do you have access to good medical care.
- Do you have medical insurance or are you in need of Medi-Cal or Medi-Caid.
- What resources you may be in need of and what resources are available to you.
- What options have you considered.
- What additional options might be available to you that you may find helpful.
How Adoption Consultants Inc. may be able to help!
Adoption Consultants Inc. was founded in 2002 to help women just like you! A birth mother pregnancy advisor is here to listen and offer guidance and support to you as you consider your various options. The office has assisted many birth mothers over the years in considering their available options when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. After consulting together, some birth mothers may decide parenting may not be the best option for themselves and their child, while others may decide they would like to parent. It’s all just a very personal and individualized decision, and one that will always be respected. Our birth mother pregnancy advisor can help you sort through your various options and alternatives, answer any questions you may have, provide resources, and in the event you should decide adoption is the avenue you believe would be best for you and your child, can help you in creating an adoption plan which can be tailored to be as unique and individual as you are, as well as walk you through the process with 24/7 support and guidance all along the way!
A birth mother pregnancy advisor is easy to reach and would be happy to speak with you at your convenience – 24/7, around the clock: Private Birth Mother Line: 800-605-4588. You can also e-mail at Info@AdoptionConsultantsInc.com or even send a Private Message through our Facebook Page, Adoption Consultants Inc. If you would like, a birth mother pregnancy advisor will be happy to arrange to meet with you where ever you may feel comfortable…at Adoption Consultants Inc.’s office, a coffee shop, or even at your home. And you don’t need to do this alone! You are always welcome to have anyone you would like present for any discussions and/or meetings, as Adoption Consultants Inc. fully supports and is a strong proponent of having any support system available to you involved to the extent you may feel comfortable, whether that be a parent, relative, boyfriend or even a friend.
Choosing what to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy is a decision not to be taken lightheartedly. Adoption Consultant Inc. certainly understands the struggle you may be facing with such a difficult decision and encourages you to take all the time you need to arrive at the choice you believe is best! Should you feel speaking with a birth mother pregnancy advisor may be helpful, one is always available to speak with you, 24/7 – 7 days a week, so feel free to reach out and let’s chat! A birth mother pregnancy advisor is here to offer you their full support and guidance during this most difficult time! Any decision you make will be respected! Private Birth Mother Line: (800) 605-4588; E-Mail: Info@AdoptionConsultantsInc.com; Facebook Private Message: Adoption Consultants Inc.