The moment you learn of an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy is a moment that will change your life forever. The news may come with an overwhelming flood of questions: What are my options if I’m pregnant? Should I keep my baby? What is more expensive, pregnancy or adoption?
But the most important question to ask yourself when learning of an unplanned pregnancy is this: Am I ready to be a parent?
Finding the answer to this question is not always easy. Fortunately, there are many resources and professionals who can help you explore your options and move forward with your unexpected pregnancy.
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What to Do After Learning of an Unplanned Pregnancy
If you have just discovered that you are pregnant, take a deep breath. While an unexpected pregnancy may not be ideal, remember that you have options and that you are not alone; nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
Upon learning that you are pregnant, you should:
- Visit a doctor or clinic. Make an appointment with a doctor or clinic to confirm the pregnancy and get advice for your next steps. Your doctor may prescribe you prenatal vitamins and give you some additional suggestions to keep yourself and your baby healthy.
- Make healthy changes. It’s recommended that you avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and other substances during pregnancy. Any medications or drugs you take can affect the unborn child. You should follow your doctor’s instructions for proper prenatal care and try to stay active and maintain a healthy diet.
- Build a support system. You are likely feeling a complex mix of emotions, ranging from fear and uncertainty to anger and sadness. Consider talking to a close friend or family member about your unplanned pregnancy, find a support group or reach out to a professional counselor for the emotional support you need.
- Learn about your options. When a woman becomes pregnant, she has three options: parenting, adoption and abortion. It is important for you to do careful research and consider the option that is best for you and your baby. Learn more about each of these options below.
What are your options if you’re pregnant?
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are also facing one of the most difficult decisions of your life: parenting vs. adoption vs. abortion. Here, learn more about each of your unplanned pregnancy options so you can make the best decision for yourself and your baby.
The YourDNA website offers a variety of resources to help you during and after your pregnancy.
Raising the Baby: Am I Ready to be a Parent?
Deciding to become a parent is a significant step in any person’s life. Parenting is a lifelong commitment, and you should consider the following questions before deciding to raise your baby:
- Can I afford a child? It costs about $245,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18. Ask yourself if you are financially stable enough to provide your child with housing, education, food, healthcare, and all of the opportunities you want for him or her.
- Can I provide the type of life I want for my child? Consider your current life situation and home environment when deciding whether you are ready to parent your child.
- Do I have the support I need to raise a baby? Parenting can be challenging, especially if you go it alone. Do you have a supportive partner, friends or family who will be willing to help you raise your child?
- Am I willing to put my plans on hold? Raising a child requires a significant commitment of time and energy. When parenting is your first priority, you may have to postpone your educational or career goals to focus on your child.
If you feel confident that you are ready for all of the joys and challenges of parenthood, this may be the right option for you. However, if you decide that you are not in a position to raise a child at this time in your life, you may be wondering what to do if you’re not ready to be a parent.
Ending the Pregnancy: Should I Get an Abortion?
If you are facing an unwanted pregnancy, you may be considering abortion as a “quick and painless” alternative to pregnancy and childbirth. However, abortion is a serious decision that should not be made lightly. Here are some questions to ask before scheduling an abortion:
- Is abortion still an option for me at this stage of the pregnancy? It is important that you have an ultrasound to determine what stage you are in the pregnancy. Abortions must be completed early in the pregnancy, often within the first trimester.
- Can I afford abortion? Abortion can cost $500 or more depending on the facility you use, the stage of your pregnancy, the type of abortion, and other factors.
- Have I found a reliable abortion clinic? It is important to find accurate abortion information and an ethical professional you can trust to perform your abortion. Abortion is a subject that people feel strongly about, so you want to make sure that you work with a professional that is not judgmental.
- Am I emotionally prepared for abortion? Understand the emotional risks of abortion. Some women struggle to come to terms with their abortion decision and suffer from feelings of grief, loss and regret long after they end their pregnancy.
Abortion is a personal decision, and you are the only person who can determine whether this option is right for you. However, if you are uncertain of your abortion decision, you may want to consider another option that can give life to your child and give a precious gift by letting someone else raise the child.
Choosing Adoption: How to Know if Adoption is Right for Me
Adoption is a loving, selfless decision that puts you in control of your life and your baby’s future. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are pregnant and thinking about adoption:
- Is adoption still an option for me? Adoption is always an option for you. Whether you have just discovered you are pregnant or are even 35 weeks pregnant and considering adoption, A Child’s Hope can work with you to make an adoption plan for your baby.
- Can I afford adoption? Adoption is free for expectant mothers. All of our adoption services are provided at no cost to you, and your legal and medical expenses will be covered. In addition, you can receive financial assistance to cover living and medical expenses like housing, groceries, clothing and gasoline during your pregnancy.
- Am I ready to make important adoption decisions? You are always in control of your adoption plan. This means you will select an adoptive family for your baby, determine the type of post-placement relationship you want to have with your child, and more.
- Am I emotionally prepared for adoption? Adoption is an emotional process, and feelings of grief and loss are normal for any prospective birth mother. Our adoption counselors will be with you every step of the way to help you process difficult emotions and ensure you are happy with your adoption decision. Our counselors are independent and will not pressure you. They understand how difficult this process is.
- Do I want to have a relationship with my child? If you make an adoption plan for your baby, it will be up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your child and the adoptive parents after placement. With open or semi-open adoption, you can watch your child grow up and remain an important part of his or her life. Your child will always be told how much you loved him or her, and you can also share that information personally with the child.
As an expectant mother, you are the only person who can decide whether you want to raise your baby, end your pregnancy or make an adoption plan. However, you do not have to consider your unplanned pregnancy options alone.
You can call, text or message A Child’s Hope any time, for free and with no obligation to proceed with an adoption plan. An adoption counselor will reach out to discuss your options of adoption vs. keeping the baby and help you make the choice that is right for you.
Find a Counselor: Click a star near where you live on the NC map to see what counselor would be assigned to you
Adoption Counselor/Homestudy Supervisor - Triangle
As an adoptive parent I truly have a passion for adoption. There is no greater joy than helping to create a family! I love this job and I love working with adoptive parents as well as the birth parents. When it all comes together it is an awesome experience! Kelly is a graduate of NC State University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kelly has been working with children, families, in the home and in communities for 18 years. Kelly has been working with birth mothers and adoptive parents for the last 5 years. Besides working, she has a great husband and three fabulous children, Landon, Parker and Ansley. Kelly and her husband adopted their daughter with the help of ACH and feels as though her personal experience helps her relate to other adoptive families.
Sloane completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services Counseling at Old Dominion University and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Sloane has been working with children, birth mothers and adopting families for more than 10 years. She loves advocating for children and helping women during pregnancy.
Lakisha completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare at Winston-Salem State University. She received her Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Lakisha has worked with children, individuals and families for more than 12 years. Her experience includes working with at-risk youth, homeless children and families, child mental health, as well as school social work and case management. She is also a long-time basketball fan, a former player and coach. She played at Winston-Salem State University and coached women’s basketball at Elon University and Syracuse University. Lakisha and her husband reside in Alamance County, with their young son.
Jess completed her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Messiah College. Her professional experience includes case management, education, women’s behavioral health including a focus on pregnant mothers, and working with kinship and domestic adoptive families who have experienced trauma. Jess is a native of central Pennsylvania though loves living in Asheville with her significant other. When she is not working, she is likely caring for her puppy and dog, painting, practicing yoga, camping or planning her next road trip to see family and friends or have an adventure in some new place!
Sylvia is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Sylvia has been working with children and families for more than 19 years. She enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three boys. She also loves animals, especially her dog Jazzy.
Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Chowan University in Psychology with a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nicole has provided services to adolescents, teens, college students, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Parole and Probation, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Transportation, and the Department of Defense. She is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and has been working in the mental health field for 15 years.
Suzanne was the primary pregnancy care manager stationed at Duke high-risk perinatal clinic for 20 years. She has a BS in Social Work at UNC Pembroke and is a licensed School Social Worker. She recently worked as a case manager in a substance abuse disorder residential program for women with young children. Suzanne is a “Durhamite” but has resided in Wake County since graduating. Her biggest accomplishment has been happily raising her 14 yo daughter and 3 poodle mixed pups.