Experiencing an unexpected pregnancy will change your life, no matter how you decide to handle it. A decision has to be made, an important decision that will affect not only your life, but the life of your child and, possibly, the life of another family. Simply put, you have to make a choice between parenting your child, aborting the pregnancy, or placing your baby for adoption. All of these options offer benefits and they all have drawbacks. There is no easy answer. This decision deserves thoughtful consideration and education on your part.
Parenting – An Important Job:
Being a parent is one of the most important jobs that a person can have. This is because you, as a parent, are responsible for ensuring the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development of your child from infancy to adulthood. In order to promote the development of a happy and well-balanced child, and to prepare your child for life as a productive adult, it is important that your child has a responsible, loving parent, and is raised in a healthy and safe environment. These parental responsibilities not only require a substantial time and emotional commitment on your part, but a significant financial commitment as well.
Consider the following information regarding parenting responsibilities when making your decision on whether or not you are going to keep your baby and raise him or her for the next 18-plus years. You also need to ask yourself if you are prepared and willing to make your child the top priority in your life. This may mean that your education, career and personal goals could be affected or “put on hold” either temporarily or permanently. Finally, you need to address whether you have sufficient financial and emotional resources to take proper care of your child.
Your Child’s Physical Needs
- You need to provide a clean and safe place for your child to live.
- Your child will need adequate, healthy food in order to properly grow – physically, emotionally and intellectually.
- Your child will need sufficient clothes, and will need diapers as an infant.
- It is imperative that your child receive the necessary medical care in order to stay healthy and to develop properly.
- If you continue to go to school or to work outside of your home, you will need a responsible and trustworthy person or day care facility to care for your child while you are away.
- It is important for your child to stay active physically, either with general outside activities or extra-curricular sports that are sponsored by your local schools or city programs.
Your Child’s Emotional Needs
- In order for your child to be happy and well-balanced, it is very important that you are able to spend high-quality time with them and to ensure they know that you love them unconditionally.
- Your child needs to feel that he/she is part of a loving family.
- It is essential that your child feel that he/she is in a stable and safe environment.
- You need to be aware of any issues or activities that may affect your child emotionally in order for you to address them and provide comfort and direction to your child.
- Providing your child with a quality education is one of the most important responsibilities a parent has. This is because education will allow for him or her to have access to more opportunities in life that he/she would not have otherwise. Opportunities that will allow him or her to pursue their dreams and goals.
- In addition to the education your child receives in schools, you also are an essential part of your child’s education.
- Your child needs to be intellectually stimulated and challenged on a daily basis in order to continue developing so that he/she can ultimately become a curious, happy, and productive person.
- As a parent, you need to make sure that your child learns to interact well with others – this includes promoting friendships, developing proper social etiquette (e.g., manners, language), and teaching your child how to deal with personal conflict situations.
- Your child needs to be exposed to a moral and ethical value system that is based on integrity, honesty, kindness to others, and overall being a “good person.”
- You will need to instill a sense of dedicated work ethic in your child so he/she can become a productive adult who is able to work towards fulfilling his/her dreams.
Becoming and being a parent can be a very exciting and fulfilling experience. However, there are enormous responsibilities that you will take on as a parent in order to ensure that your child is raised in a safe and positive environment. The ultimate decision of whether to keep your baby or consider other options is yours, no one else’s. In making this decision, you need to put the needs and best interests of your child first – this will provide your child with the best chance of having a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Another option to an unexpected pregnancy would be to end that pregnancy and, therefore, the child’s life. Choosing to end an unwanted pregnancy is your choice. It is quick, relatively easy, and no one else needs to know that it, or the pregnancy, ever happened. These characteristics make it seem like a positive choice, but there are repercussions to consider.
Timing: If you are considering abortion for your baby, the time you have to make that choice is pretty short. Every day that goes by, he or she is growing and developing. During the first trimester a medical abortion (using medicine to cause a miscarriage) is more common. If the abortion takes place during the second trimester, a surgical procedure would be recommended.
Financial Cost: having an Abortion costs money – anywhere from $500 to $3,000, depending on when and where you have it done. The later in the pregnancy, the more it will cost. Additional costs may be incurred if there are complications and you require additional medical attention. It is a surgical/medical procedure, and like all surgical procedures, there is risk.
Physical recovery: The time it takes to recover from an abortion varies. It is possible that you will be able to resume normal activities after just one or two days, or it could take as long as two weeks or even more. Depending on your situation, you may have excessive bleeding, cramping, and/or pain. If infection occurs, this time will increase.
Emotional consequences: Choosing to end your pregnancy is a big decision – one that should not be taken lightly. The immediate reaction is often relief; the unplanned pregnancy is over and you can return to your life and routines. However, the emotional toll can, and often does, last for years. The emotional side effects of abortion are usually more serious than physical ones. Potential side effects can include: regret, anger, guilt, shame, a sense of loneliness or isolation, loss of self-confidence, insomnia or nightmares, relationship issues, suicidal thoughts and feelings, eating disorders, depression and anxiety. Sometimes the trauma associated with abortion results in a situation similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and is called PASS, (Post Abortion Stress Syndrome). This can last years and psychological help is highly recommended.
Placing your baby for adoption is another option for unplanned pregnancy, and just like Parenting and Abortion, this decision should not be made lightly. Giving your baby up for adoption is a big deal and it has both pros and cons. There are many things to consider. Placing your child with a loving family will give him or her advantages that you cannot offer at this time. However, allowing someone else to take and raise your child will be painful and you will mourn the loss, even with an open adoption.
If you are considering adoption for your baby, you might think that in doing so, you would be giving up all control and you would never see him or her again. You might think you’ll never know what they look like, or how they’re doing. That’s not true; open adoptions are the norm these days. You can choose the family that will raise your baby and you can even meet them if you like. You can also choose how much contact you have with them during your pregnancy and how much contact you’d like with your baby as they grow.
When you place your child for adoption, you are not just helping another family to grow. You are doing all you can to ensure that your child has a safe, secure, loving, supportive family and childhood. It is the ultimate sacrifice a mother can make. It shows that you love your child more than you love yourself, and you are putting their needs above your own. You are willing to let another family give him or her all the things that you are unable to offer at this time.
While there are many benefits to adoption for all parties in the adoption triad (Birth family, Adopting family, Adopted child), adoption is never an easy choice. Handing your child to another family to raise is not a natural response to motherhood, and trusting that the adopting family will be all that you want them to be is hard. It’s important to work with professionals who have your best interests, and your child’s best interests at heart. When you consider all of your options, it’s crucial that you do your research and talk to experts and/or honest, trusted friends. But ultimately the decision is yours. You must choose the path that is right for you and right for your child.
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