Finding unplanned pregnancy help can be overwhelming! These options for women who got pregnant accidentally are from a pregnancy counselor, who I interviewed for an article for a hospital in Vancouver.
In Oops! How to Rock the Mother of All Surprises: A Positive Guide to Your Unexpected Pregnancy, Tracy Moore shares her personal experiences with jumping headfirst into motherhood–without a clue what she was doing. Unexpectedly pregnant at thirty-three, Moore’s life completely changed when she had to give up her beloved cigarettes and cold deli meats and quickly learn how to cope with an unplanned pregnancy. Her honest advice will help you cope with all the changes and feelings that will occur on your way to motherhood — if parenthood is the option you are choosing..
“An unplanned pregnancy can be an opportunity for a woman to take control of her life,” says the pregnancy counselor I interviewed. “It can be the time to make positive changes in her relationships, career, and future. Where does she want to be in five years? What kind of life does she want, and how does this pregnancy fit in? Reflecting on these questions can lead to self-awareness and insight.”
About half of pregnancies aren’t planned. About 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, and about half of those are terminated. Women of all ages, cultures, religions, and professions can find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. Women aged 19-29 are the most likely to choose to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.
Failed birth control is the main cause of unplanned pregnancies. Condoms are the most popular method of contraception, and they fail most often. Women with drug or alcohol addictions may forget to take their birth control pill or use a condom. Women with mental health issues, such as depression, may neglect the pill because they’re dealing with more pressing emotional and practical concerns. Women in abusive relationships may not have control over their sex life or birth control methods.
“Often, women are at the beginning or end of a relationship when they get pregnant unexpectedly,” says this pregnancy counselor. “They’re not prepared for sex at those stages of a relationship.” That’s almost what happened to a reader who inspired me to write an article about coping with a surprise pregnancy, on Quips and Tips for Love and Relationships.
Eating disorders can lead to unplanned pregnancies. Women with bulimia may purge or vomit the birth control pill, while women with anorexia may take it but not absorb it properly. Some women refuse to take birth control pills because they don’t want to gain weight (though it’s a myth that birth control pills cause weight gain).
Several myths about birth control are still prevalent, such as the mistaken belief that the pill and IUDs cause health problems and decrease future fertility. This can prevent women from protecting themselves from pregnancy. These types of myths can also stop women from seeking unplanned pregnancy help. There is no perfect method of birth control. Sometimes contraceptives fail, no matter how emotionally healthy, capable, educated, or wealthy a woman is.
Unplanned pregnancies lead to feelings of shock, dread, fear, and sometimes even excitement. Most women experience an overwhelming mixture of emotions, which is why counseling is important. A neutral, trained pregnancy counselor can help unravel the emotions and ease the burden of decision-making.
Pregnancy counselors don’t encourage women to choose any particular option. Rather, they ask questions to help women discover what option will work best for them at this point in their lives. Unplanned pregnancy counselors listen without judging, and allow women to openly process their emotions and communicate their hopes and plans for the future.
Women often know deep down what the best choice is, but sometimes need help voicing their true needs and wishes.
Options and Help for Unplanned Pregnancies
Women have three choices: adoption, abortion, or keeping the baby.
“Many women don’t like any of these choices,” says the pregnancy counselor. “Often, it’s about choosing the ‘least bad’ option. We walk women through the reality of each option.”
What will a woman’s life be like if she keeps the pregnancy? What will it be like to terminate it? The counselors encourage women who accidentally got pregnant to look at their own needs, and separate their wishes from the opinions of a partner or family member. The counselors help women clarify and express their own reasons for their decision, which can help them cope with the resulting feelings of loss.
And no matter what choice a woman makes, she will likely experience a sense of loss. This is normal. Unplanned pregnancy counselors help women cope with that loss, as well as feelings of self-judgment, irresponsibility, stigma, guilt, and shame. Getting pregnant accidentally brings many ambivalent feelings that stem from societal beliefs, family pressures, and the woman’s own past.
“No woman wants to have an abortion,” says Dicus. “Terminating the pregnancy does not mean a woman is pro-abortion. It means she’s pro-choice, and pregnancy is not the best option for her at this point in her life.”
An abortion does not reduce female fertility or decrease the chances of a future pregnancy. Abortions are safe, legal, and performed under conscious or light sedation.
Every Woman Must Make Her Own Decision.
After getting unplanned pregnancy help, women often feel empowered. They’re relieved the decision and procedure is over, and they’re aware of choices they have now that they didn’t have before. They often feel more in control of their fertility and their lives.
No matter what a woman chooses to do with the accidental pregnancy, she needs to remember that there is no right or wrong option. Each woman must make the decision that best suits her unique situation and future life plans.
Are you trying to get pregnant? Fairhaven Health's Hormone Balance Bundle improves egg quality, encourages cycle regularity, and helps your body ovulate regularly.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!
What do you think about this unplanned pregnancy help or these options for women? Comments welcome below…