Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy at any age can be stressful, but unexpectedly becoming pregnant as a teenager can be even more so than for other women. The first thing you should know is that you aren’t alone. You aren’t the first teenager to experience an unplanned pregnancy, nor will you be the last. And while you’re the only one who can decide how to proceed with this pregnancy, there are plenty of resources out there dedicated to helping you make that decision — like us.
As an adoption agency, we at American Adoptions are obviously well-versed in the realm of adoption. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone, nor is this article at all intended to sway you toward making this choice for your child. Rather, this article serves to help you consider important factors as you decide what to do about your unplanned pregnancy.
The first thing you should do as a pregnant teen, however, is to make good, healthy choices for yourself and your child. If you smoke or use alcohol or drugs, you should stop those habits immediately or seek help to do so. It’s also important that you exercise and eat well in addition to surrounding yourself with positive friends and family members who will be there for you as your life unavoidably changes, no matter what you decide to do with your unplanned pregnancy.
As you begin to consider your unplanned pregnancy options, ask yourself the following questions.
According to the Wall Street Journal in 2013, raising a child until age 18 costs an average of $245,340. Of course, there are resources that exist to help women provide for their children, but many teenagers choose adoption because they don’t feel they can give their child everything he or she deserves. Adoption, on the other hand, is completely free to women of any age who choose to place their babies, and you may also be eligible for financial help during your pregnancy.
It is absolutely possible to raise a child as a single mother, but many teenagers who become pregnant aren’t in serious, long-term relationships with their baby’s father. It’s important to know that you’ll have a strong support system when raising a child. Will the father help? Will your parents help? How much help can you expect to get? It’s important that you surround yourself with people who will be around when you need a favor or even just someone to talk to. These people should make you feel good about yourself instead of bringing you down about your pregnancy, and it’s important that they don’t tempt you into making any bad decisions for yourself and your child.
Becoming a parent while still in high school will naturally affect your future. Do you have access to reliable childcare so you can continue with your education and receive your diploma? Will your school cooperate with the needs of your pregnancy and adjust your schedule? Will becoming a mother affect your plans for college? It can be helpful to know that, if you choose adoption, American Adoptions gives out birth mother scholarships, as well provides every pregnant woman with free, zero-obligation counseling.
Some teens just aren’t ready to become parents yet, and that’s completely okay. As a teenager, this is likely the biggest decision you’ll ever have to make — and it doesn’t just concern you. Whether you feel you aren’t ready to be responsible for a child or you don’t wish to ever become a parent, it’s okay if motherhood just isn’t something you want right now.
If you decide that you don’t wish to become a parent, one of your options is to have an abortion. Some women feel strongly that abortion is not for them. If that is the case for you, that’s completely okay. If you are considering having an abortion, however, it’s important to know your state’s laws about the procedure. There is, of course, a time limit on legal abortions in every state, but many also have laws about parental consent when a minor is involved. Depending on where you live, you may have to have your parents accompany you and give permission for an abortion if you are under 18.
Only you can answer these questions for yourself. If, however, you decide that you aren’t ready to parent but do not wish to have an abortion either, know that adoption is a third option for you and your baby. To learn more about adoption and what it could look like for you and your child, call American Adoptions at any time at 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a licensed social worker.
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