I'm 15 - Should I Keep My Baby from an Unplanned Pregnancy?
Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options
If you’re 15, you’re probably finishing your first year of high school, dreaming about upcoming dances and worried about all the normal challenges of being a teenager — getting your first job, dealing with your first loves and working through changing friendships.
What you probably didn’t imagine, however, was becoming pregnant at 15.
If you’ve come to this article, you may be scared about what your future holds. Having a baby at 15 probably wasn’t part of the plan, and it may feel like your life is over with this unexpected surprise. But, know this: You are not the first pregnant 15-year-old, and you will not be the last. At this point, it’s all about figuring out what your options are and deciding which one is best for you.
There are probably a few thoughts running through your head right now: “Should I get an abortion? Should I give up my baby? Should I keep my baby? I’m 15 — how am I supposed to make this decision?”
First, take a deep breath. You’ve come to the right place. At American Adoptions, our specialists can provide you free, non-obligatory unplanned pregnancy counseling. You will never be pressured to choose adoption when you contact our agency; our specialists will simply talk with you in depth about all of your options and give you the information you need to make the best decision for you.
For guidance in your situation, please call 1-800-ADOPTION. Our counselors can support you through the steps ahead, including giving advice on how to tell your parents about your pregnancy. As scary as this conversation can be, know that having a supportive parental figure on your side will make all the difference moving forward — whatever you decide to do.
Things to Know Having a Baby at 15 Years Old
When you first discover that you are pregnant at 15, you may automatically consider parenting your child. Being a parent can seem like fun; raising a child who looks like you and loves you unconditionally can be the most rewarding thing in the world.
If you’re considering becoming a teen parent or just asking, “Should I keep my baby? I’m 15; what will this be like?” there are a few things you should think about first.
- Parenting may not be what you think. When young women think of parenthood, they often think of the Kodak moments: dressing up their little ones, showing their daughter or son off to their friends, and having a playmate to teach the world about. However, parenting is much more than that. Are you ready to get up in the middle of the night during the first few months of your baby’s life? Are you prepared to change dirty diapers and be there to clean up your baby when they get sick or make a mess on themselves? Are you okay with sitting up with them while they cry for hours on end? That will be your job as a parent.
- You will have to take full responsibility. If you become a parent, it is a full-time job. Do not expect your parents to do the hard work for you; you will need to figure out the logistics of childcare, potty-training and more on your own. Many women your age have a romanticized view of parenting, but it is a full-time job that you cannot back out of once you commit to it.
- You will need your parents’ support. That said, your parents’ support will be instrumental during the first few years of your child’s life. They have to be comfortable with supporting you and the baby financially, especially if you are not old enough to have a job right now. Before deciding to keep your baby, talk with them at length about what responsibilities they expect from you and what kind of support they are willing to give.
- You do not have to marry the baby’s father. If you decide to become a parent, the baby’s father should play a role in your child’s life. However, you do not have to marry him in order for this to happen. Teenage marriage has proven to be more harmful than beneficial, and you do not have to be forced into this lifelong commitment at your young age — especially if the father is significantly older than you. If the father of your baby is an adult, or your pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, please contact local authorities right away.
- You will have to make certain sacrifices. Becoming a teen parent is hard work. You may need to attend an alternative school that provides care for your baby during class, and you may not be able to attend college like you have planned. Your teenage years will not be full of what you expected; instead, they will be full of potty-training, childcare and putting your baby’s interests first. Be prepared to put aside what you may want in order to do what your child needs.
Things to Know About Having an Abortion at 15 Years Old
Another option you may be considering if you are pregnant at 15 is terminating your pregnancy. For some young women, abortion is the right decision; it prevents them from having to carry a pregnancy to term (with potential for added risks at their young age) and allows them to continue working toward their education and life goals with no long-term effects.
Before you decide that abortion is or is not right for you as a pregnant 15-year-old, there are a few things to consider:
- Abortion is expensive. An abortion procedure can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, especially if you are not using your parents’ insurance. This can be cost-prohibitive for those who are pregnant at 15, so talk with a local family planning clinic such as Planned Parenthood for information on fees.
- You may need parental permission for the procedure. Depending on your state’s laws, you may need parental permission or need to give your parents notice before you can proceed with an abortion. Again, a local family planning clinic can tell you more about the abortion requirements in your state.
- You may experience feelings of grief and loss. Deciding to end your pregnancy is not a decision to take lightly, and it’s normal to have complicated emotions and questions of “what if” should you choose to obtain an abortion. That’s why it’s so important that you learn all you can about this option before choosing it and are aware of all its pros and cons.
- You are the only one who can make this irrevocable decision. Sometimes, young women like you make an appointment at an abortion clinic only to change their mind on the way or once they have arrived. You will never be obligated to follow through with an abortion if you change your mind, no matter what your parents may tell you. You always have the option of choosing to parent your child or place them for adoption after birth.
Things to Know About Placing a Baby for Adoption at 15 Years Old
One of the least-talked-about unplanned pregnancy options for those who are pregnant at 15 is choosing to place their baby for adoption. Often, young women automatically think of abortion and parenting when they discover they are pregnant — but adoption is still a path that is foreign to many women.
If you are not sure you are ready for the challenges of being a teen mom, but you’re not sure that terminating your pregnancy is right for you, you may consider adoption. Here’s what you should know:
- Adoption is free to you. Unlike raising a child or getting an abortion, adoption is an unplanned pregnancy option that is completely free. Your pregnancy expenses will be covered by your adoption professional, and you may even be eligible for additional financial assistance, depending upon your personal circumstances.
- You will have to carry your pregnancy to term. In order to place a child for adoption, you must deliver him or her first. This means you will need to carry your pregnancy to term, which can be emotionally and physically complicated. If you wish to, an adoption specialist can arrange for alternative schooling during your pregnancy to make these challenges a little easier.
- You are in charge of the process every step of the way. Despite the fact that you will be having a baby at 15 years old, you are the only one in charge of the adoption process. You can make the choices that are best for you and your baby, even if others disagree. Your adoption specialist will be there to support you, not sway you one way or another.
- You can choose the family and post-placement relationship you want. Adoption is not “goodbye”; you can have a relationship with your child after you place them with an adoptive family. This can include letters and pictures or even in-person visits! You will start creating a relationship with your baby’s adoptive parents from the moment you pick them — another decision that will be entirely up to you.
- You do not need your parents’ permission to place a baby. Unlike obtaining an abortion, placing a child for adoption is a decision that is yours alone. While some states may require your parents have notice of your adoption plans if you are a minor, in most states, you do not need their permission to place your child for adoption. Remember, your adoption specialist will be here to provide any support you need along the way.
If you’re 15 and pregnant, help is just a phone call away. To learn more about your options for your unplanned teenage pregnancy, or to start making an adoption plan today, please call 1-800-ADOPTION.
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