14 and Pregnant: What Do You Do?
Deciding Between Your Teenage Unplanned Pregnancy Options 14 and Pregnant: What Do You Do?
Unplanned teenage pregnancy is more common than you may think — yet, when you are 14 and discover that you are pregnant, you may have never felt so alone before. In many ways, you’re still a child yourself; how are you going to give birth to and raise one yourself?
If you’re thinking, “Please help me — I don’t want to be pregnant at 14,” remember that there is help out there. All you have to do is find it. By coming to this article, you are one step closer to receiving the support you need. While American Adoptions is an adoption agency, our unplanned pregnancy counselors can provide objective information to help you make the decision that’s best for you — whether or not that ends up being adoption.
If you are pregnant at 14, the first thing you need to do is tell a trusted adult, such as your parents. While you will be the only one who can make the decision of what to do, an adult can play a huge role in helping you get the support you need and following through with your unplanned pregnancy plan. Your parents are your guardians and supporters; while they may be initially upset about your teenage unplanned pregnancy, they will still love you and will help you make the decision that you can live with, whatever it is. They are often the ones to best support through you through the tough times ahead — not the baby’s father or your friends.
If your pregnancy is a result of rape, incest or statutory rape, you should tell a trusted adult or contact the local authorities immediately.
If you are a pregnant 14-year-old, the decision of what to do with your unplanned pregnancy will always be up to you. However, there are a few things you should know before making this life-changing decision.
If You’re Considering Keeping Your Baby…
One of the first thoughts that anyone who is pregnant — regardless of their age — often considers is becoming a parent to their baby. Raising a child can even sound fun to a young woman like yourself: having someone to unconditionally love you, being able to dress him or her in cute baby clothes, and getting to show the baby off to your friends and family.
However, this is a very romanticized view of parenting — and is not the reality of the experience. Raising a baby is a 24-hour job; you need to be ready to sacrifice a lot if you are pregnant at 14 and decide to become a mother. How will you be able to keep attending school during your pregnancy and after the baby is born, when he or she will need you 24/7? How will you continue school while working to afford your new baby? Is it even legal to have a job in your state at your age?
Many teenage mothers look to their parents for support during this time. While your parents will likely be there to help you after your baby is born, it will not be their responsibility to take care of your child for you. It’s not fair to expect your parents to drop everything to take care of their grandchild and for your life to continue on as normal; your baby will deserve your full attention as a mother, which means you will need to make certain sacrifices.
Another note: If you decide to keep your baby, don’t feel like you have to marry the birth father. Teenage marriage is generally a bad idea, especially at your age; it will breed resentment between you and, eventually, your child. While the baby’s father might want to be a full participant in raising your child, the majority of teenage men are not mature enough for the responsibilities of parenthood — and will leave those entirely up to you, as the woman giving birth to the baby.
Before you decide to raise your child as a pregnant 14-year-old, speak at length with your parents about what kind of support they will offer and what they will expect from you in this kind of journey.
If You’re Considering an Abortion…
When you’re facing an unplanned teenage pregnancy, you may wonder what a pregnant 14-year-old’s rights are to terminate her pregnancy. In many states, if you are 14 and pregnant, you will need parental permission to obtain an abortion. This is because you are still a minor, and your parents have the responsibility to determine what kind of medical care you receive. In many states, these kinds of restrictions on teen abortions include all women under the age of 16 — if not older.
Even though you will require your parents’ permission to obtain an abortion, it should still be an option you consider as a pregnant 14-year-old. If you terminate your pregnancy, you will not have to carry it to term — which will allow you to continue your education and everyday lifestyle without much of an interruption. Abortion can also prevent the risks of delivering a child if your body is not fully matured enough to safely undergo childbirth.
However, getting an abortion can result in temporary feelings of grief and loss if you are not 100 percent confident in this choice. It’s important that you’re fully educated about this unplanned pregnancy option before deciding it is right for you. Consider going to a local family planning clinic (such as Planned Parenthood) to receive objective information.
If you’re thinking, “Please help me — I don’t want to be pregnant at 14,” abortion is the only unplanned pregnancy that will allow you to avoid pregnancy. On the other hand, if your parents are trying to force you into an abortion against your will, find the courage to stand up for yourself, and perhaps enlist another trusted adult to help you pursue the unplanned pregnancy option you do want.
If You’re Considering Giving Your Baby Up for Adoption…
Perhaps you know that parenting isn’t the right path for you, but you’re not entirely comfortable with the idea of abortion, either. In this case, you may consider placing your child for adoption.
Choosing adoption is in no way “giving up on” or “giving away” your baby. It’s a brave choice to carry your pregnancy to term, deliver your baby, and place your child with a family who prepared to give him or her the life he or she deserves. If you’re pregnant at 14, you can’t provide the same opportunities as a mother or father who has a steady job, education and a house of their own — and adoption allows you to give your child that precious gift.
When you choose adoption, you are in charge of your journey every step of the way — no matter how young you are. You get to choose the family you want to adopt your child, as well as the relationship you want to have with them during your pregnancy and after placement. You will receive free counseling and support throughout your adoption process, and your adoption specialist can help you navigate any complexities like alternative schooling and missing class due to medical appointments. In most states in the U.S., you do not need your parents’ permission to place your child for adoption. As the mother of your child, you are the only one who can decide what is best for them.
We know that being pregnant at 14 can be overwhelming, which is why we are here to help. If you are interested in placing your child for adoption, or simply want to learn more about all of your unplanned pregnancy options as a pregnant 14-year-old, please call 1-800-ADOPTION today. Our counselors can answer all of your questions and inform you of your rights in this process.
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