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Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options [And How to Decide]

The Ultimate Guide to Deciding What's Best for You

If you’ve found yourself struggling to accept your new reality of an unplanned pregnancy because you aren’t ready to parent or just don’t want to, you have three unexpected pregnancy options to choose from:

  • Adoption

  • Abortion

  • Parenting

You probably have a lot of thoughts going through your head, the main one being: What am I going to do? If you're feeling uncertain or overwhelmed, you can get free, unbiased support now when you call 1-800-ADOPTION.

Keeping perspective at this time is critical. The most important thing to remember is that you always have a choice when it comes to deciding how you want to handle your unwanted pregnancy. It’s a very personal choice, and nobody can or should make it for you. You know what’s best for you and your baby.

To learn more about your options, continue reading below, or call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a specialist today.

What Are My Options if I’m Pregnant?

After learning of an unplanned pregnancy, there are three paths to choose from – parenting, abortion or adoption. However, every woman’s situation is different, so what may be a pregnancy option for one may not be for another. You are the only one who can decide which path is best for you.

  • Choosing between your unwanted pregnancy options is a life-changing decision

  • Whether you choose parenting, abortion or adoption, you will be affected by that choice for years to come

  • There are many things to consider about each of your pregnancy options; you will need to do extensive research and soul-searching before settling on the path that is best for you

As tempting as it may be, you should not choose between your options for unwanted pregnancy as soon as you find out you are in this situation. You’re facing a great deal of stress at this time. Making a decision under this emotional stress could result in regrets later on, when you are able to view your situation more objectively and rationally. It’s normal to want an unplanned pregnancy to go away as quickly as possible, but we encourage you to take the time to breathe before moving forward with one of your options for unplanned pregnancy.

If you are panicking about your unplanned pregnancy, there is help available. If you contact our counselors at 1-800-ADOPTION, a trained specialist can talk you through all your options — parenting, abortion and adoption. Our counselors will give you free information about your choices, discuss them with you and support you in whatever decision you choose to make.

Which Unplanned Pregnancy Option is Right for Me?

Choosing between your options if you are pregnant requires a few things:

  • A clear head

  • Objective information about each option

  • A thorough understanding of what you want for your future

Each of your unwanted pregnancy options will affect you for years to come — potentially in both good and bad ways — and you should be able to accept that fact before moving forward.

There are a few other things that may impact which of your pregnancy options you choose. For example, an early pregnancy option (like abortion) may not be possible if you learn of your pregnancy later on. For the same reason, you may not have the resources ready to parent if you don’t have time to prepare. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a trained unplanned pregnancy counselor, as they can help you understand the responsibilities of each option to help you make the best decision for you.

We encourage you to search through our website and other informational sites to learn more about your options for dealing with unplanned pregnancies. In the meantime, as you consider what to do with an unwanted pregnancy, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Cost Differences

Perhaps one of the biggest determining factors for women facing unplanned pregnancies is the cost of each unplanned pregnancy option. If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, you may not have the funds ready for the expenses of prenatal care and childbirth, not to mention abortion procedures or raising a child.

In general, here are the expenses you can expect with each of your unwanted pregnancy options:

  • Adoption: There is no cost to you if you choose adoption. In fact, pregnancy-related expenses are paid for by the adoptive family, which often include medical care and living expenses. Examples may include: rent, utilities, maternity clothing, food, prenatal vitamins and any other medical expenses not covered by your insurance or Medicaid. You will be able to speak with your adoption specialist about your specific needs.

  • Abortion: Depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy, the cost will range from $500 to $2,000 for an abortion. There may also be additional charges for an ultrasound, the "morning-after" pill, birth control and further medical treatment, should an infection occur.

  • Parenting: By far, parenting is the most expensive of your options if you are pregnant. The total cost to parent a child ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 per month. This estimate may include but is not limited to: diapers, baby bottles, formula, clothing, a car seat, daycare, first aid supplies, blankets, a crib or bassinet, and hygiene products. A parent must also budget for shelter, food, transportation, and utilities to raise their child. When all of these expenses are added up, it will cost approximately $12,000 to $24,000 per year to raise a child.

Effects on a Woman’s Life

As you decide between your unplanned pregnancy options, think about your own goals and aspirations for your life. Whichever path you choose, those short- or long-term goals might be affected. It is not at all selfish to consider what you want for your own life when you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. After all, it will be your life that is affected by your decision, which means you should not choose a path that will result in regret and unhappiness.

In general, here’s what you should consider about a certain decision’s effect upon your life:

  • Adoption: You will need to carry your pregnancy to term. For the next nine months, you will need to put your baby’s health and safety first. You will incur the risks of pregnancy but, after your child is born and you recover from your delivery process, you can continue to work toward your personal goals. At the same time, you will be able to maintain a relationship with your child and their adoptive parents for years to come, should you decide to have an open adoption.

  • Abortion: You will undergo an abortion procedure. Completed by an experienced professional, there are very small medical risks associated with this procedure, although you may experience some pain after your procedure. In order to obtain an abortion, you may need to take time away from other responsibilities, and you will need to be prepared for judgmental and disparaging comments from those seeing you go into an abortion clinic. An abortion usually does not leave any long-term physical effects; your fertility will be unaffected, and there is no proof that abortion causes increased risks of other serious conditions.

  • Parenting: Your own interests and goals will need to be delayed should you choose to raise your child. Your sole interest will need to be your child’s safety and well-being. This means doing all you can to provide them the opportunities they deserve and the life that you want for them. Parenting may get easier as a child becomes more independent, but you will always be (and feel) responsible for them, even after they become an adult themselves.

Emotional Considerations

You are likely already feeling a great range of emotions when you are coping with an unplanned pregnancy — but, depending on which path you choose, you will need to be prepared for additional emotional complexities, as well. Every woman’s situation is different, so you may or may not feel the most common emotions associated with each of your options for unplanned pregnancy. It is still a good idea to be aware of them, just in case.

Here’s what some women feel when choosing a certain unplanned pregnancy path:

  • Adoption: Adoption is a beautiful, selfless decision to make — but it also comes with intense emotions of grief and loss. You may experience happiness in knowing your child will be with parents who will love them unconditionally, but you may also experience feelings of grief and loss in not being a parent yourself. Even prospective birth mothers with no desire to be a parent feel a sense of loss when they leave the hospital without a child. Taking advantage of opportunities like an open adoption relationship and free adoption counseling can alleviate these emotions.

  • Abortion: Choosing abortion may provide you with an immediate sense of relief, but it is also a decision that will impact you for months or years after the procedure. Although it is always a woman’s right to choose an abortion if she desires, some women cope with feelings of guilt and loss after the procedure is completed. If you are prepared for the necessary steps to heal, you can move forward from an abortion with a positive mindset. In fact, almost 90 percent of women do not regret their abortion decision.

  • Parenting: Parenting is a journey filled with emotional ups and downs. It requires a great deal from mothers and fathers, including sacrifice, unconditional love and patience. If you become a parent, you will likely feel a great deal of love for your child, but you may also feel regret for any of your own goals and aspirations you put aside for your child. It’s a good idea to talk with other parents about their experience to determine if this payoff is worth it to you.

Remember, the only one who can decide between your unplanned pregnancy options is you. If you’re thinking, “I’m pregnant; what are my options?” know that there is help available.

Call our 24/7 unplanned pregnancy hotline at 1-800-ADOPTION to get guidance on the unplanned pregnancy paths available to you. To get more information about your pregnancy adoption options, contact our specialists and get free adoption information today.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

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