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Unplanned Pregnancy and Marriage: Navigating this Challenging Surprise

Your Options for an Unplanned Pregnancy in Marriage

You may have previously believed that, for married couples, any unplanned pregnancy would be easy to cope with. You are married, after all. But now, experiencing the shock of an unplanned pregnancy in marriage for yourself, you may be realizing this isn’t the case. If so, it's time to call 1-800-ADOPTION.

Just because you are married doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to be pregnant right now, and there are plenty of reasons that being a parent to this baby may not be possible for you at this time. You could have concerns about how your spouse will handle the news and how this surprise could impact your relationship.

Bringing a new life into the world is beautiful, but it can also be difficult. When you are married, unplanned pregnancy can come out of left field, and it can bring a lot of complicated and confusing emotions along with it. However, there are things you can do and resources you can use to make the best of this situation.

The Facts About Unplanned Pregnancy in Marriage

First off: Know you’re not alone.

Every year, more than two million women in the U.S. experience an unplanned pregnancy. That’s nearly half of all pregnancies in America.

While unplanned pregnancy is more statistically common for women who are not married, it is also something that many married couples go through. Unplanned pregnancy and marriage go together more often than most people realize.

How to Respond to an Unplanned Pregnancy in Marriage

What did you feel when you found out about your unplanned pregnancy? Shock? Excitement? Fear? Confusion?  

Reactions to an unexpected pregnancy in marriage are all over the place. Give yourself and your spouse grace for the initial reaction. This is big news. You can’t always expect you and your spouse to have it all together when the news is broken.

Following your initial reaction, there are healthy some ways you can respond to an unplanned pregnancy in marriage:

  • Remember that you’re on the same team: Many people instinctively withdraw during difficult times, but an unplanned pregnancy in marriage is a chance to lean on each other. Be supportive and trusting of your spouse, even if your initial instinct is to pull away and be alone.

  • Start creating a plan: How are you going to handle this? Evaluate your situation together and create a plan for moving forward. Be honest about your opinions, and take everything into account from emotional health to financial stability. It will all come into play as you consider your unplanned pregnancy options.

  • Find a chance to get away together: Life is stressful. Life with an unplanned pregnancy can be very stressful. If you can, find a weekend where you two can get away from it all and focus on yourselves. Invest in your relationship. No matter which unplanned pregnancy option you choose, a strong relationship is going to be important.

How an Unplanned Pregnancy Could Affect Your Marriage

If you keep these responses in mind, you can navigate an unplanned pregnancy and marriage in a healthy way. You may be surprised to find an unplanned pregnancy positively affects your marriage. Even though it isn’t what you planned for, it is a chance to grow closer together, regardless of which unplanned pregnancy option is best for your situation.

Alternatively, it is possible for an unplanned pregnancy in marriage to have a negative effect. If this unexpected pregnancy causes stress, anxiety or frustration, you may quickly find yourself blaming your spouse for the situation. Rather than trusting each other, you could be at odds and looking for a way to get away from this newfound responsibility.

If this is the case for you, you always have options. There are resources you can access and choices you can make if an unplanned pregnancy in marriage is clearly damaging your relationship.

Resources for an Unplanned Pregnancy in Marriage

Whether you need emotional, financial or other types of support, there are unplanned pregnancy resources available to you. A few of the resources to start with are:

  • American Adoptions’ 24/7 Support Line: Speak with an adoption specialist about all of your unplanned pregnancy and marriage options.

  • SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help provide for your nutritional needs during this unplanned pregnancy.

  • WIC: Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a program that provides federal grants for supplemental foods, healthcare referrals and nutrition education.

  • Medicaid: You may be eligible for government assistance in covering some of the medical expenses associated with pregnancy.

Married & Unplanned Pregnancy: Options for Moving Forward

What are you going to do with your unplanned pregnancy in marriage? The decision is always up to you and your spouse.

The majority of couples experiencing an unplanned pregnancy end up parenting, and what started as an accident can end up being a beautiful surprise. Parenting is a joy, but that doesn’t mean it's the best option for everyone at this point in their lives.

Right now, you may know that parenting is not possible for your life and relationship. If that’s the case, you have two other unplanned pregnancy options.

After parenting, the next most common choice for women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy is abortion. Depending on where you live and how far along you are in pregnancy, this may or may not be an option for you. Abortion is a major decision, and all of the pros and cons are worth considering carefully before moving forward.

Finally, you could choose adoption for your baby. This may be surprising to you: A married couple choosing adoption? It’s actually much more common than you may think.

American Adoptions’ specialists work with married couples often. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you are ready to parent, and adoption is a way to meet your needs while still giving your baby the opportunity to grow up with a loving family.

Together, you and your spouse can create an adoption plan, find the right adoptive family and maintain contact with your baby through open adoption.

Only you can know which of these options will be best for you. To learn more about any of your options when you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in marriage, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION or request more free information today. An adoption specialist will be happy to speak with you and help you make the best choice for your life.

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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