Alone. So alone. That can be how many women feel during an unplanned pregnancy. They may feel that no one knows what they are going through. They may feel rejected if their boyfriend has left or threatens to leave. They may feel useless or unwanted if their parents don’t understand or reject them. Does that describe you? What you probably want is simply for someone to listen. You probably want someone to understand. You may want someone to help. Believe it or not, there are people ready, willing, and able to help. But who? Who will help you during your unplanned pregnancy? The answer could be lots of people. But before we get into that, consider this:
The fear factor can be a huge hurdle when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Being afraid of the unknown is usually a natural emotion. Sometimes fear can cause us to do radical things. However it can cause us to do one of three things: fight, flight, or freeze. By fight, I mean that some people tend to get defensive or aggressive when faced with a life-changing situation. This can be a natural response, because in some situations you may have to fight in order for survival. If you are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, this may come in the form of refusing to acknowledge the pregnancy or to insist that everyone is wrong. However, you should keep in mind that you now have another person to protect: your baby, so you may want to listen to what other people have to say
The second fear response that people may have is flight. This is usually when people just run away from their problems. The problem with this situation is that with pregnancy you typically can’t run away. You may try to hide your pregnancy, but it usually becomes more and more obvious with each day that passes.
The last fear response that some people have is to freeze. They neither fight, nor flee, instead they tend to freeze in hopes that the threat will retreat or to buy time to assess the situation. Some pregnant women may not disclose to the important people in their lives that they are pregnant until months later. Perhaps because they are in denial or struggling with the decision whether or not to keep the baby. Whatever the case, if you are in this state of mind, you could use the time to determine who can help you with your unplanned pregnancy. Here are some people who can help:
Why not tell mom first? Because she may get angry? She may be disappointed? Perhaps. But she may also surprise you. She may be excited to have grandchildren. She may have some amount of compassion concerning your situation. She may have been in your situation years ago. She may know what you are going through. It’s possible that the worst thing that could happen is that she gives you lots of advice and comes down with a case of “baby fever.”
Perhaps you don’t have a good relationship with your dad. Perhaps your dad is nonexistent. Perhaps you’re afraid of disappointing your dad or afraid of being kicked out of your house or being cut off from your family. These can all be valid fears. One thing that you might consider is to go to your mom first. Your mom may have a calming influence on your Dad and perhaps if you and Mom went together to tell Dad, things might go better. But please consider these two stories:
- First, I was the product of an unplanned pregnancy. My mom found herself pregnant and unmarried at the age of 19. Though my grandfather was disappointed, he took my mother and myself into his home for two years until my mom got married. It may have been a scary thing to tell him she was pregnant, but my mom was protected by her father. And so was I.
- Secondly, last year my 22-year-old unmarried daughter informed me she was pregnant. As a father myself, my first thought was, “I’m gonna be a Grandfather.” My second thought was that I was happy that, though this was an unplanned pregnancy, my daughter chose life. Lastly, my wife and I thought, “How can we help our daughter?” I had a choice to make: become angry or to reach out and welcome a new life into the world. I chose the latter. My wife and I chose to assist my daughter through her pregnancy and afterward. As a result, we participated in her baby shower, my wife was able to be present during the birth, and we have enjoyed our grandchild in the following months. Children can be such a blessing and I have been able to share in those blessings by helping my daughter through her unplanned pregnancy.
Have you considered asking grandparents, uncles, aunts, or cousins for help? I am well aware that Mom or Dad may be severely disappointed or may have cut you off. That can be very disappointing, and I feel your pain. If your immediate family is not dependable, perhaps you can seek help during your unplanned pregnancy from your extended family. It may be a long shot, but if you need help, what can it hurt but to ask? Whether you plan to keep and raise your own child or whether you plan to place your child into a loving home, extended family may have the answer. Let’s look at both options:
- Keep your baby and raise them with help. If you choose to keep your child, grandparents may be able to help you raise your child. They may be able to give you advice. They may be available to help babysit. They may even be able to be your mentors and guides if mom and dad are not available.
- A trend growing across our nation is something called kinship adoption. This is when a relative comes forward to provide a forever family for your child. Kinship adoption can be a great option for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. The child doesn’t have to go to a stranger. The child can stay in his own culture. The child will be raised by someone who is familiar with family history, traditions, and values. Consider asking extended family for help, they might just surprise you.
Pregnancy Resource Center counselor
A Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC), also known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers, are all over the nation and have multiple locations in each state. They serve women through all stages of pregnancy and afterward as well. Most PRCs provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, sexually transmitted infection tests, parenting education, and supplies such as diapers, clothing, car seats, and/or baby wipes. All of the these things are provided for women and their children free of charge. They are usually supported privately and do not take government funding. But perhaps most importante is that they can provide prenatal counseling. A PRC counselor can help a mom through all stages of her unplanned pregnancy. A PRC counselor typically cares for both mom and baby. And they should do so confidentially and without judgment. You need to know that during a crisis, there can be someone there you can count on to prepare you for labor and delivery. A good Pregnancy Resource Center should empower women to make good choices for themselves and their new child. They can help both mom and dad to grow as a person, grow in their relationship together, and perhaps to grow as parents.
An adoption counselor can help you during your unplanned pregnancy. Adoption can be a beautiful option. Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights from the biological parents to adoptive parents. Keep in mind, you are not “giving up” your child to adoption. Rather, you could think of it as making a life plan for your child. You are not only choosing life over death, but you could also be making a positive affect on their future by choosing the adoption option. But you will probably need someone to help you down this road. Someone with experience, education, and compassion who can help you to look at all of your options so that you can make an educated decision. This can be empowering to women, and this is what an adoption counselor is there to help you to do. Some other things you should consider when it comes to choosing an adoption couselor:
- Adoption agency. Your first choice may be to choose an adoption agency. An adoption agency like The Gladney Center for Adoption can help you start the adoption process for your baby, help you find a family for your child, and/or help you make a child profile if you have already given birth. Gladney’s services include counseling, Rest and Respite, medical care, financial support, legal services, parenting education, and more. An adoption counselor at an adoption agency can be the guide you may need to help you navigate through the maze of the adoption process. They can break down the process, step by step, and perhaps make the process much more manageable. Search for an adoption agency today.
- Adoption family search. During your unplanned pregnancy, an adoption counselor can help you with the family search. Making a life plan for your child is usually no easy task. An adoption counselor can help you with this. You may have many things to decide on when choosing a family including their age, the size of the family, the area they are in, and/or their faith. These can all be important items to consider because your child will probably be a part of that family for the rest of their lives.
It can be very important to choose a good attorney, especially if you are choosing adoption for your child. This can be important because an attorney may be able to protect you and your baby against illegal human trafficking. Believe it or not, there are some really good lawyers who can help you during your unplanned pregnancy, especially if you are leaning towards placing your child in a loving, adoptive home. An experienced, ethical attorney can sometimes make all the difference in a smooth legal process.
- Relinquishment of parental rights. One of the legal issues you will probably need help with is relinquishing your parental rights. Every parent naturally has legal and custodial rights to their children however, when a woman has an unplanned pregnancy and seeks to voluntarily place their child for adoption, she needs to relinquish her parental rights. An attorney can help you with this. They will file all paperwork with the courts and represent you and advocate for you on your behalf. Any transfer or parental rights from one person to another without an attorney or outside of the court system may not be legal. You should probably seek legal assistance.
- Post-adoption Communication Agreement. Another legal matter an attorney can help you with is during an open Adoption. This can be one of the positive things about the adoption process for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. The document that outlines open adoptions is called a post-adoption communication agreement. It usually dictate where, when, how often, and in what manner contact occurs between the adopted child and the biological parents. For example, the agreement may state that biological parents can have phone visits once per month on Sundays at 7:00 pm in addition to quarterly in-person visits in a public space. This way, all parties involved can have clearly defined expectations and boundaries. An experienced attorney can help women facing unplanned pregnancies to hammer out a mutually beneficial communication agreement.
Finally, if you are still asking, “who can help me during my unplanned pregnancy”, please consider clergy. Someone from a house of worship may be ready, willing, and able to help you in your situation. There are a myriad of ministries and agencies that exist purely for this purpose. They may help you and your child during and after your unplanned pregnancy with love, patience, and understanding. They should do so free of judgment and in confidentiality. The great thing is you do not need to be religious or a member of a church in order to receive these services and in most, if not all cases, their services are free. You could seek help from a faith-based organization. What do you have to lose?
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are not alone. There can be lots of people willing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask, a good support team can go a long way to helping you and your child. You won’t regret it.