Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy can be extremely stressful. If you’re a Virginia woman facing an unexpected pregnancy, there may be many thoughts running through your mind. Am I ready to be a parent? Do I have the right support system for this? What do I do if I’m not ready to be a parent?
The first thing you should know is that you’re not alone. You aren’t the first Virginia woman to face an unplanned pregnancy, nor will you be the last. And while no one else can make this decision for you, that doesn’t mean there aren’t resources you can turn to for help. As an adoption agency, we at American Adoptions are obviously passionate about adoption. However, this article isn’t meant to sway you toward any particular unplanned pregnancy option. Adoption is not right for everyone, but we hope that by learning about your choices, you can make the best one for yourself and your baby.
The first question you should ask yourself when facing an unplanned pregnancy is, “Am I ready to be a parent?” If the answer to this question is yes, then congratulations! Parenthood is an exciting journey. However, not everyone can confidently say they’re ready to become a mother when they find out they’re expecting, whether it’s an unwanted pregnancy or just a surprise. If you are unsure of your readiness to parent, here are a few things you may want to consider:
Raising a child is expensive. The Wall Street Journal estimates that, for a middle-income family of a child born in 2013, it costs $245,340 to raise a child until the age of 18. Naturally, this isn’t including college or other expenses that young adults may need assistance with after they reach the age of 18.
It takes a village. Some women ultimately end up choosing unplanned pregnancy options apart from parenting because they don’t have a support system who will help to raise the child. Whether that means unsupportive parents or the child’s father, it can be difficult to be a single parent.
A child comes first. If you’re pursuing higher education or working on certain career goals, know that this will be harder with a child to care for. This does not mean it will be impossible; there are plenty of women who excel at both parenting and their jobs. However, other women may feel like they can’t pursue both at the time they become pregnant.
Not everyone wants to be a mom. If that’s how you feel, it’s completely okay — whether you never want children or you just don’t want any right now. There is no shame in this.
If, after considering these facets of parenting and unexpected pregnancies in Virginia, you’re still unsure of what your decision should be, that’s okay. There are still two other options for a pregnant Virginia woman.
Abortion is one of those topics that it can be difficult to talk to other people about. Your family members or the baby’s father may have strong feelings about it, and the Internet is full of sensationalized information that isn’t always true. With this unplanned pregnancy option in particular, it’s important that you derive all abortion information from trusted sources, like Planned Parenthood.
Some of the facts you should know if you’re considering this option are as follows:
In 2014, there were 34 abortion-providing facilities in Virginia; 18 of these were clinics.
In 92 percent of Virginia’s counties, there are no clinics that provide abortions. This means that many Virginia women will have to travel to obtain an abortion.
Virginia laws dictate that women receive state-directed counseling and then wait 24 hours before having an abortion.
Health plans under the Affordable Care Act only cover abortion is the woman’s life is endangered or if rape or incest was involved.
Minors must receive parental consent before having an abortion.
At least 24 hours before an abortion, a woman must have an ultrasound. The abortion provider must offer to let her see the image.
The last of your Virginia pregnancy options, then, is to pursue adoption. Women who consider adoption frequently ask, “How do I know if adoption is right for me?” In this scenario, we like to point out some of the benefits of adoption that don’t necessarily come with the other options for pregnancy in Virginia.
You get to remain in your child’s life. You get to watch him or her grow and flourish, and, if you choose, you can remain in contact with your child and the adoptive family.
Some women have negative feelings about abortion. If you aren’t ready to parent, adoption is an unwanted pregnancy option that avoids having an abortion.
You’ll know that your child is safe and loved in an environment that you might not have been able to provide.
Adopted kids have every opportunity to succeed that comes with being raised in a home that was financially and emotionally prepared for them.
Adopted kids are raised knowing that they actually have two sets of parents — the parents who raised them and the birth parents who loved them enough to suffer the loss of a child in their best interests.
Since they’re raised in homes that are financially prepared for another family member, adopted children are more likely to have access to opportunities like extracurricular activities and college.
This is a lot of information to process, and knowing what to do with your unintended pregnancy in Virginia may not be a simple decision. Please know that American Adoptions has social workers on staff 24/7 who are available to talk through your VA unplanned pregnancy options with you at no cost. For more information, call 1-800-ADOPTION.
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