How to Cope With a Surprise Pregnancy
These tips for coping with a surprise pregnancy are inspired by a 43 year old reader. She commented on my article about having a baby in your 40s – and her experience will help you see you’re not alone.
When going through a personal struggle, there’s no better help than to receive hope from someone who once stood where you are standing now. A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage During an Unplanned Pregnancy by Amy Ford is a good resource for women coping with surprise pregnancies.
Here’s what my reader said in my article about having a baby in your 40s, on Quips and Tips for Coping With Infertility: Surprise! I’m pregnant…
I’m 43 and I just found out this week I was pregnant. It was my belief that I could not have children and I was okay with that. I’ve been living the life of traveling, partying, and doing whatever I pleased while my child-rearing friends were stuck at home. I had entered a new relationship about 6 weeks ago. I was not careful because of my belief that I was infertile and especially not likely to start conceiving at age 43. I had broken up with the father just before finding out. I care for this man but he is not mentally healthy. I’ve always been pro-choice but I’m not sure I can terminate just as I’m not sure about motherhood. I’m terrified. I guess I’m hoping to hear stories of similar situations and to see out it worked out for others.
5 Tips for Coping With a Surprise Pregnancy
You may feel shocked, confused, and scared – like the wind has been knocked out of you. Here, I offer a few ideas on where and how to get help.
Talk to a counselor who has experience with unplanned pregnancies
One of the best ways to cope with a surprise pregnancy is to talk to an objective professional. You don’t necessarily need to book an appointment with a therapist – Planned Parenthood has health educators who are objective and trained in helping women cope with a surprise pregnancy. It’s important to talk about your choices with someone who does not have an agenda, especially if you aren’t sure what to do about the pregnancy. It’s also important to talk about your pregnancy with one or two loved ones – your partner, family members, or a close friend. But, their personal feelings about how to cope with a surprise pregnancy will be tinted by their love for you.
If you need support, read How to Get Relationship Help.
Create a strong support network
However you decide to cope with your surprise pregnancy, I strongly encourage you to connect with at least two people – in person – who are supportive and compassionate. If you decide to terminate the pregnancy, get counseling to help you grieve and say good-bye in healthy ways. If you decide on adoption, take care to choose the right agency and parents. If you decide that motherhood is right for you, read my next tip on coping with an unplanned pregnancy…
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If you’re single, talk to other single mothers
It’s important to connect with other women who coped with surprise pregnancies – or who are raising their children alone.
Motherhood is very different when you’re actually doing it (as opposed to thinking about being a mom), and single motherhood is very different than co-parenting with the father in the house. You need to know what you’re getting into.
If you’re coping with a surprise pregnancy and you don’t think parenthood is for you, read Unplanned Pregnancy Help – Options for Women.
Remember that every woman’s experience with a surprise pregnancy is different
I’m glad this reader asked for other women to share stories of similar experiences, but it’s important to remember that each life is unique. Some women may cope with an unplanned pregnancy by giving the baby up for adoption, while others choose different options. It’s a huge life decision, and what was right for one woman may not be right for you.
Connect with your partner
Talking with your partner about the surprise pregnancy may not be an option, but it’s important to give him a chance to respond. Give him time to sleep on it, think about it, and share his opinion about how to cope with an unplanned baby. If you’re in a committed relationship but feel like you’re on your own, read Emotional Disconnection in Marriage – How to Feel Less Alone.
My prayer for you as you cope with a surprise pregnancy is that you find the right people, books, websites, and resources to help you decide what to do. I pray for strength, wisdom, and courage to make the decision that is best for you. I pray for peace and guidance, and that you use all parts of your self – your spiritual, cognitive, social, and emotional sides – so you’re able to make a holistic decision. May you find peace, strength, and wisdom as you make decisions about the next chapter of your life. Amen.
I welcome your thoughts on coping with a surprise pregnancy below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Often, it can be helpful to write your thoughts and feelings – either to me or in your private journal.