I'm 19 - Should I Keep My Baby?
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Parent
Few young women plan to become a parent at 19 years old. But, if you’re facing an unexpected teenage pregnancy, you may consider this path as you think through all of your options. In fact, it’s not uncommon for women in your situation to wonder, “I’m pregnant, and I’m 19. Should I keep my baby?”
Whether or not you choose to become a parent as a result of your unplanned pregnancy is a decision that is always up to you. No one else can make this choice, which is why it’s so important that you do diligent research and learn everything you can about all of your options before deciding on one that will change your life forever. With so much on the line, where do you start?
American Adoptions is here to help.
When you contact our agency, you can speak to an unplanned pregnancy counselor for free — and with absolutely no obligation to choose adoption unless you are confident it is right for you. Instead, our counselors will answer your questions about all of your unplanned pregnancy options and help you get the information you need to make a well-informed decision. To receive counseling today, we encourage you to call 1-800-ADOPTION.
Becoming a teen parent is a big deal, even if you are at the end of your teenage years. Before you decide this is the right path for you, ask yourself these important questions:
1. Can I provide a stable home environment for a child?
Many times, women who are 19 ask, “Should I keep my baby?” In order to answer this, you need to first evaluate your ability to be the kind of parent your child deserves.
When you are 19, you are probably at the beginning of your adult life. You may be attending college, or you may have just started your first steady career after high school. You may be financially dependent upon your parents, or you may still live with them to save money. You’ll need to take all of these things into account when deciding whether to become a parent at 19.
Ask yourself this: Does your current lifestyle accommodate the addition of a child? For example, if you enjoy spending time out at night with your friends, as many young people do, that would not be conducive for a safe environment for a growing child. Imagine the perfect childhood that you wish you could give your child. Do you see that as a reality in your own life?
If not, don’t worry — there are always waiting adoptive parents who can provide this kind of safety and stability to your child if you place him or her for adoption.
2. Can I financially afford to raise a child?
One of the biggest challenges that teenage parents cope with is the financial burden of raising a child. Many women at this age are still financially dependent upon their parents, especially if they are currently attending college or another educational program. Even if they are not, they are usually in the beginning stages of their career — often at an entry-level position that just allows them to provide for their own expenses.
Raising a baby will cost you more than $230,000 over 18 years — and that’s not including all of the medical expenses associated with prenatal care and delivery. The annual cost of having a child will decrease as they get older, but that also means that the most expensive years of being a parent are the first few. Are you able to make this financial commitment as a young woman? Who will take care of your baby while you work to afford their formula, clothes and medical expenses?
There’s a reason many women wait until they are older to have children — so they can save up for these expenses. If you cannot afford to raise a child right now, parenting may not be the right path for you. Instead, you might consider adoption — the only free unplanned pregnancy option available to you.
3. How will becoming a parent affect my educational and career goals?
As mentioned above, many young women at your age are working toward their college degrees or just starting their career paths. When you have a baby, you will need to readjust these goals to do what is best for your child. That may mean going to school part-time (if at all) or changing your career in order to have more family-friendly hours.
If you are not ready to give up or postpone those goals to have a baby, that’s not anything to be ashamed of. When you choose adoption instead, you can continue working toward those goals knowing that your child is cared for by someone who is 100 prepared to be a parent and is ready to give their all to your child’s well-being.
4. Will the baby’s father be involved?
If you’re like many young expectant mothers, you want your baby to have the best life possible. Often, this includes a two-parent home. Before you decide to become a parent, it’s important that you talk at length with the baby’s father to determine how he will be involved in your child’s life.
It’s entirely possible that your baby’s father will be 100 percent committed to raising your child with you, but it is equally as possible that he will not be. At your young ages, you both probably have things you want to achieve before becoming parents and, unfortunately, it’s much easier for a father to abandon his responsibilities than the woman who is carrying the baby. If the father is interested in co-parenting, discuss the expectations you will have for each other in this journey. Keep in mind that you do not have to get married, and that there is a likelihood that your relationship will not last forever. If that were to occur, would you be able to be a successful single mother?
If you want your child to have a two-parent family that you can’t provide, consider placing him or her for adoption with a couple who have been waiting to become parents. That way, your parents will have more than two parents — their adoptive parents and you, their birth mother!
5. Do I really want to be a parent?
Finally, if you’re thinking, “I’m 19 — should I keep my baby?” take the time to consider whether parenting is really what you want to do at this time in your life. Odds are, if you weren’t pregnant now, you wouldn’t even consider having a child at your age. Just because you are facing an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to become a parent. You always have other options.
You can choose to terminate your pregnancy to avoid carrying a child to term. Abortion can be expensive (usually from hundreds to thousands of dollars), and it must be completed early in your pregnancy. To learn more about abortion, we encourage you to contact a local family planning clinic like Planned Parenthood.
You can also choose to place your child for adoption if you are not ready to be a parent. This choice will give your child a life with parents who are ready to love them and support them, while also giving you the chance to continue working toward your personal goals and return to your everyday lifestyle after giving birth. You can choose the parents you wish to adopt your child, as well as your relationship with them during and after adoption. You can even have a personal relationship with your child as they grow up!
Deciding whether or not to be a parent at 19 is a choice only you can make, but being well-informed can help make this decision a little easier. For more information about all of your unplanned pregnancy options, including adoption, please contact our trained counselors for free today.
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