There are over 3 million unplanned pregnancies each year in the US, making it a genuine epidemic.
If you've recently found out that you're having an unintended pregnancy, it can be frightening and overwhelming. Legislation in our country is making it difficult to access safe abortions, which makes it feel like there are fewer pregnancy options than ever before.
To navigate this situation, you have to do your homework. In this post, we're going to help you out by telling you just what options you do have and how to approach the situation as a whole.
There's no denying that this is a monumental life occurrence. It's important to stay calm and work through the situation in a logical manner before letting emotions cloud your judgment. Keep reading and we'll give you the information you need to make this life-changing decision.
Common Unplanned Pregnancy Reaction
First of all, it's important to know that you're not the first person in this situation and you won't be the last. As mentioned above, there are millions of cases like these every year - you're not alone.
It's common to be confused, both emotionally and intellectually. For many, an unplanned pregnancy doesn't always mean you don't want to have a child. This in itself can be an overwhelming feeling.
You may feel anxiety at the prospect of making this decision or fear because you don't feel equipped to be a parent. This is always exacerbated if you don't have a stable relationship to raise the child in.
Your Partner's Role
It's usually a good idea to let your sexual partner know that you've become pregnant. Depending on your relationship status, you may or may not feel like involving them in the decision-making process. You're the only person that can determine the right course of action for your body.
Unplanned Pregnancy Options
You've basically got 3 options for an unplanned pregnancy. You can take the pregnancy to full term and choose to parent the child or give it up for adoption. The other option, depending on what state you're in, is to terminate the pregnancy early.
Parent the Child
Plenty of people with unplanned pregnancies decide to parent the child. If you're excited by the prospect of having a child but don't feel ready yet, there are plenty of places you can go to get guidance.
You can always go to counselors or healthcare professionals to get helpful advice. You can also talk to friends and family members if you've got a good support system around.
There are countless factors that will inform this decision. Relationship stability, your health, and your career may be important considerations.
It's also important to be forward-thinking, so consider who will be around to help you raise the child (family, partner, friends, etc.). You'll also want to think long and hard about expenses and whether it's in your means to raise a child by yourself.
Give the Child Up for Adoption
After thinking about the above, you may come to the conclusion that parenting isn't best for you or the child. Putting the child up for adoption is a good solution for multiple parties. You don't have to raise the child when you're not equipped to do so and a wanting family or couple does get to raise it.
The first step is to find an adoption agency that meets your needs. You'll work with them to choose the right adoptive family. In most scenarios, you'll be able to negotiate "post-placement contact" if that's something you want.
With the right adoption agency, the process can be simple and heartening. It can be really helpful to meet the family and know that the child is going somewhere they'll be loved unconditionally.
Get an Abortion
It should first be noted that abortion legislation has been a hot-button political issue, especially in the last few years. Unfortunately, states where women could freely access abortions before, have now put laws in place that make it difficult or impossible.
Look at this abortion access tool from Planned Parenthood to find out the situation in your state. For the states where it is legal, you can terminate an unintended pregnancy within the first 12 weeks.
If you decide to do this, it's helpful to consult with a doctor or therapist. Abortion can result in a range of emotions, so if you're feeling trepidation beforehand or anxiety/depression in the aftermath, it's important to know there are people you can talk to.
There Are Resources Available for Unplanned Pregnancies
If you need help with your unplanned pregnancy, there are plenty of resources available. From financial and healthcare assistance to emotional support and affordable housing, there are charities and organizations all over the country that can assist you.
Having your baby is expensive. If you need financial assistance to buy good food, diapers, or any other necessities, organizations like WIC, SNAP, and Feeding America can supplement your income so you can get everything you need.
If you need clothing, toys, or home items, The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries provide affordable solutions.
The HUD has a number of programs to help low-income families find affordable housing. Section 8 rentals are a great alternative to subsidized and public housing. You pay a small fraction of the monthly rent to participating landlords and the government covers the rest.
Medicaid can provide you with health coverage during your pregnancy up until your child is 2 months old. After that, you can enroll in the Children's Health Insurance Program if you no longer qualify for Medicaid. CHIP provides low-cost healthcare coverage, including drugs, doctor visits, and hospitalization.
How to Make This Decision...
Deciding how to handle an unplanned pregnancy is never easy. As you can see, however, there's a roadmap available to make the right decision for your situation. Start thinking about your options as soon as possible and don't be afraid to talk to family, friends, or a counselor about how to proceed.
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