"I Don't Want My Baby" - Am I Truly Ready to Parent?

Deciding Between Parenting or Adoption

Perhaps you’ve muttered the following words to yourself, or even said them to a friend or a family member: “I don't want to be pregnant, I don’t want my baby, and I don’t know what to do next.”

If this describes your situation, first understand that you are not alone. Secondly, understand that these feelings of being pregnant but not wanting the baby are common with unplanned pregnancies, and it’s important to determine whether they are feelings that should be acted upon or just stressors of adjusting to this new phase of your life.

Antenatal or postpartum depression can result in temporary feelings you may not actually believe or want to act upon. Do you really not want your baby, or are you just nervous about what’s to come? This is an answer only you can provide, but of course there are plenty of professionals available to help you make that decision.

If you think that you may be suffering from depression, know that it is a treatable condition. It is important to seek the proper treatment to allow you to enjoy your new baby and being a parent to him or her. 

Now, if you believe that your feelings are more permanent, you may be asking yourself a difficult question: “Should I keep my baby, or give him up for adoption?”

How to Decide to Keep a Baby or Not

Even if you feel certain that you do not want your baby or are not currently ready to be a parent, it is rarely easy to choose between adoption vs. keeping the baby.

Here are four questions you can ask yourself to help you determine whether to choose adoption or keep the baby:

1. Can I financially provide for my child?

Financial instability is often one of the main reasons women facing an unplanned pregnancy are unsure if they are ready to parent.

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture states the average cost for a single mother to raise a child to age 17 is $157,410. Fortunately, there are many financial resources for you to use, as Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid can help relieve some of the financial strain for food and healthcare. Also remember, your financial situation may be temporary and can change quickly — so financial concerns should not be the sole determining factor in your choice of adoption instead of keeping the baby.  

However, if you believe that raising this baby will be a financial struggle for you, your child, or perhaps even for your other children, adoption will ensure your child has the financial stability and endless opportunities every mother wants for her child.

In addition, if you choose to make an adoption plan, all of your legal, medical, adoption planning and counseling services will be provided at no cost to you. You may also be eligible to receive help with certain pregnancy-related living expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, and more.

2. Will my child have a father figure in his life?

The benefits of being raised in a two-parent home are obvious. Not only is having a father important to a child’s emotional development, but it also provides a secondary income and a partner in raising a child.

Being a single mother can be challenging, especially with little help from family members or friends. However, with enough love and effort, it can be done, and is currently being done by countless single mothers across the country.

Also, even if your child’s biological father is out of the picture, it doesn’t mean your child will never have a father figure in his or her life. You can surround your child with positive male role models, and could someday find yourself with a new partner who would love nothing more than to become a father to your child. But again, this topic should be considered when determining whether parenting or adoption is right for you.

3. Will I have time to properly care for a child?

These feelings of not wanting your baby may also occur because you have a lot of other things currently happening in your life, like finishing high school or college, or beginning or continuing your career. But adding a baby into your busy life would undoubtedly take precedent over those goals.

At the end of the day, you will need to determine whether you can balance life as a new mother with these other responsibilities and interests. Ask yourself:

  • Will I have time and energy to be the attachment figure my baby needs during the most influential time in his or her life?

  • Will my child be my top priority?

  •  Should I keep my baby, even if it means putting my own plans on hold?

These important questions must be considered before taking the next step.

4. Am I ready to be a parent?

This is the most important question of all.

As previously stated, if you have aspirations to attend college, pursue a career or simply just want to maintain your current lifestyle, you may find that you aren’t ready to raise a child, and that’s okay — if you decide that adoption is what’s best for you and your baby, there is another family out there who is ready to adopt and give a child the greatest life imaginable.

However, if you are ready and committed to motherhood, you can overcome any of these challenges, whether it is financial instability, no father figure in your child's life or any other obstacle in your way.

If you feel that you are ready and committed to being a mother, that may be the only answer you need. Then you will know for sure that in fact you DO want your baby, and these feelings are just temporary.

Remember, this is your baby and your decision. No one can tell you what is best for you and your child, and whatever you decide there are resources and support available to you.

If you are pregnant but don't want your baby, we can help. Call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn about the parenting resources available to you or to learn more about adoption. While we cannot tell you how to decide whether to keep a baby, we can provide the unbiased information, guidance and support you need to make a fully informed decision.

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