"I'm 20 and Pregnant and I Don't Want the Baby" - What Now?
6 Questions to Ask When Considering Adoption in Your 20s
If you, as a woman in your 20s, are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s normal to feel stressed. This is a life-changing experience, and it may be one that you weren’t quite ready for. If you are 20 years old, pregnant, scared and unsure of what to do, it’s okay that you are feeling these things. The first thing to know, though, is that you aren’t alone. Sometimes feelings of shame accompany an unplanned pregnancy, but we hope you’ll leave those at the door as you read this article. You aren’t the first woman to feel unsure about an unplanned pregnancy, and you won’t be the last.
The second thing to know is that there are many resources out there dedicated to helping you in various ways. If you’re unsure of how to proceed with your pregnancy, what you may need at this point is a better understanding of your options. That’s where we come in. Please know that while we are an adoption agency, this article isn’t mean to sway you toward any one unplanned pregnancy option, but simply to educate you about what those options are.
Those options, of course, are parenting, abortion or adoption. If you aren’t sure which avenue to take with your unplanned pregnancy, consider asking yourself these questions:
1. Am I ready to be a parent?
“I’m 20. Should I keep my baby?”
If the answer to this question is yes, you may not need to consider adoption as an option. No one should ever try to convince you not to parent if you feel that you are ready to do so, even if you are only in your 20s. This is your decision and your decision alone. However, if you aren’t sure that you’re ready to be a mother, then there are some additional questions you may want to consider.
2. Am I financially prepared to raise a child?
In 2013, raising a child until the age of 18 costs an average of $245,340. Given our modern economic trends, that’s a number that will continue to increase as time passes. You don’t have to be rich to be a parent — plenty of amazing parents aren’t wealthy. However, as a woman in your 20s, you may not have had a chance to build up your savings accounts to the point that raising a child is something you feel you can take on financially. Many individuals in their 20s are still relying on their parents for some form of financial support, or they have just recently become independent from their parents. Parenting may be financially infeasible for women in these situations. For many young women, this is determining factor when asking, “I’m 20 years old and pregnant; what should I do?”
Adoption, on the other hand, is completely free to prospective birth mothers like you, and you may even be eligible for financial assistance with pregnancy-related expenses.
3. What kind of support system will I have if I raise a baby?
They say it takes a village, and this isn’t entirely an exaggeration. What is your relationship with the baby’s father? Will he be around, and is he ready to take on the responsibilities that come with parenthood? Of course, it’s entirely possible to give your child an amazing life as a single mother, but in that instance, it’s important that you have people in your corner for help. Are your friends likely to be supportive of your decision to parent, and will they be responsible enough to help should you need a favor or simply someone to talk to? Are your parents or other family members supportive of you having a child at this point in your life? A strong support network can go a long way when raising a child.
4. Will raising a child affect my goals for the future?
Many women in their 20s are pursuing education or working at the beginning stages of a career, such as completing internships or fellowships. While not impossible, it’s undeniable that reaching these goals will be more difficult while raising a baby.
5. Do I want to become a mother at this point?
Not all women want to raise children, and that’s completely okay. Even if you want to raise children at some point, though, it’s also okay to feel that you don’t wish to do so quite yet. Your 20s are a very formative point in your life, and if you don’t wish to spend those years as a mother, that’s okay to realize. Remember, you don’t have to become a parent until you are ready.
6. Is abortion an option for me?
If you are 20, pregnant and don’t want the baby, you can consider abortion as an unplanned pregnancy option. Some women are strongly against this unplanned pregnancy option, but if this is something you would consider, it’s important to know your state’s laws about the procedure. Naturally, this is an unplanned pregnancy option that has a time limit, while you can always choose between adoption or parenting at any point during or after your pregnancy.
These questions can be answered by you and you alone. If, however, you don’t wish to choose abortion and aren’t sure you’re ready to parent, it’s important that you know the benefits of choosing adoption for your child:
- Choosing an open adoption means you get to watch your child grow up with their adoptive family and live the life they deserve.
- Adopted children are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities or pursue secondary education, since they are raised in a home that was financially prepared for them.
- Adopted kids are raised in a home with parents who were ready for them in every sense, in addition to knowing they have two sets of parents who loved them enough to put their interests above everything else.
For more information about what adoption could look like for you and your baby, please feel free to call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION at any time.
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