Are you feeling upset, shocked, or even devastated? If you are experiencing these emotions, chances are you have just found out you are pregnant. It is okay. These are common emotions experienced by women facing unplanned pregnancies. More than half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. You are not alone. If you are reading this, you are coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, and you need some help. You have come to the right place. I am here to provide you with information for coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. 

Defining an Unplanned Pregnancy

So what exactly is an unplanned pregnancy? Well, let’s take a look at the two words: unplanned and pregnancy. The meaning of the word unplanned is not expected or intended. It could be called unexpected, accidental, unintended, or unintentional, just to name a few. Pregnancy is defined as the state of carrying an embryo or fetus in the female body. Pregnancy lasts for nine months. So if we were to define unplanned pregnancy, it could be described as an unintended state of carrying an embryo or fetus in the female body. So, how do you know if you are pregnant? There are multiple ways you can find out if you are pregnant. You can obtain an over-the-counter pregnancy test, visit a doctor to obtain a blood test, get an ultrasound, or get an X-ray. If you are coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, you will want to confirm that you are indeed pregnant. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or an OB-GYN to get a confirmed pregnancy. This is a crucial step in coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. 

What do you mean by “coming to terms?”

So what do I mean by “coming to terms?” Anytime you deal with a difficult or unpleasant situation, you are learning to accept it or deal with it. Unplanned pregnancy is a challenging situation to come to terms with, so how do you do that? Well, the first thing to do when you find out you are pregnant is to remain calm. Remaining calm can be hard to do, but you want to take some deep breaths and think about the situation. You must stay calm so you can think clearly about how you are going to proceed. It is very easy to jump to conclusions and begin imagining the worst-case scenario. Women deal with pregnancies all the time, and other women face the same situation you are. You are going to be okay, no matter what happens. Take a deep breath and follow the advice below. 

An Emotional Rollercoaster

Coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy involves a rollercoaster of emotions. You may be feeling nervous, shocked, or even confused. These feelings are completely normal because your life has just been turned upside down. The pregnancy was completely unintentional. Acknowledge that you are in shock. For the next few days, just let yourself feel these emotions. After a few days, these feelings should subside, and you can decide how you will proceed with the pregnancy. If you need to, write down your emotions in a private journal or find someone to talk to. Whether your unexpected pregnancy is mistimed or completely unwanted, you are going to experience a gamut of emotions. Your emotional journey will look different from another woman’s emotional journey, and that is okay. For Katelyn, it was a scary and overwhelming time. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed. If so, do what Katelyn did and accept it for what it is or reach out to someone for help. Sometimes just talking to someone who will listen can help. 

Reach Out for Support with Unplanned Pregnancy

Facing an unplanned pregnancy will be a long, emotional journey, but you are not alone, and you shouldn’t have to face this journey alone. Reach out to someone to support you. Coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy takes a strong support team. It is so essential that you find a system of support. Jen chose to hide her pregnancy for the first few months, and now she regrets not having found that support system early on. In her article “How Do I Cope With an Unplanned Pregnancy,” Jen says, “Maybe that pregnancy wouldn’t have been filled with such bad memories if I just came clean earlier on.” Your support team can be anyone that you trust. Your support team can include close friends, family, church family, and even other women who have faced an unplanned pregnancy. You might even consider reaching out to an adoption counselor to help counsel you through your options. Your support system needs to be there for you throughout the journey, from finding out you’re pregnant to placing your child for adoption or choosing to parent. Other options for support include support groups made up of women who are either currently facing the same situation or have faced the same problem. Talking to a support group could be very helpful. 

My Options

While you are coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, you need to consider your options: parent the child, place the child for adoption, or terminate the pregnancy. No matter which option you go with, it is a life-altering decision, so you should consider each option carefully. Do your research. Consider things like the cost involved with each option. There are pros and cons to all three options. Like I said in What to Do With Unexpected Pregnancy, make a list of each option’s pros and cons. As you are considering your options, ask yourself: Am I ready to parent, and would I consider abortion if it meant costing the fetus’s life? Take your time making your decision. Yes, I know you have a time limit with abortions, but think about this: are you being pressured to consider abortion, or would you consider adoption? If you answer yes to these questions, you should not consider an abortion, which leaves you with the option to parent or place the child for adoption. Eliminating the abortion option will you give you more time to decide between parenting and adoption. Even if you do consider abortion, do your best not to rush into this decision. Visit a pregnancy care center to receive counsel on your options. They can help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

Coping Strategies

Unexpectedly finding out you are pregnant can be devastating. For those coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, finding ways to cope with all the emotions and decisions is essential. Find someone with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings. This person may be someone who is a member of your support team. If necessary, seek out professional help from a counselor. A professional counselor will help you process the emotions you are experiencing and may also help you come to a decision. In her article 5 Things to Ponder When Facing an Unexpected Pregnancy, Deirdre shares that it can be helpful to have someone listen to you that is not directly involved in the situation. Find someone to be that objective person. They can provide you with advice based on facts, not personal opinions or feelings. 

As you are coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, you will experience a range of emotions from anger to depression to anxiety. You must regulate your feelings, and you can do this through journaling. Each day, take about 15 minutes to write about your fears, doubts, and worries. No one has to read it but you. If you would like, you can take this journal with you to your counseling sessions and share it with your counselor, but you certainly do not have to. No matter what you may be feeling or experiencing, writing your feelings down can help you process them later. 

Thoughts on an Unplanned Pregnancy Story 

Six months ago, Ellie and her husband were planning their future with their family of six or so, they thought. Ellie and her husband have been married for 15 years and have four children. Their youngest will begin kindergarten in August. Ellie and her husband were happy with their family of six. Ellie decided to take birth control after her fourth child as they were not planning on any more children, but she began having some unwanted side effects, so her doctor advised her to get an IUD. In October of 2019, the IUD was placed inside Ellie. Things had been going well for her, but almost a year later, Ellie began having some weird symptoms. She felt like something was not quite right. She told her husband, and they decided to wait a couple of weeks before seeking help. She began to feel nauseous and took a pregnancy test to rule out that thought, but the answer was not what she expected. She immediately felt shaky and kind of went into shock. She tried to call her husband, but he would not answer, so she texted a friend who knew about her recent symptoms. She also reached out to a coworker. Her coworker and her friend remained supportive and reassured her. Her coworker hugged her, and Ellie began to cry. 

At this point, she began thinking about their future and how she would fit another child into their small house. She stressed that their van could hold one more child, but their truck couldn’t, so they couldn’t go camping. She cried for the loss of what her future looked like. Ellie then began to decide what she was going to do with the pregnancy. She said, “I have neverbeen supportive of abortion. Never! I always thought, how could someone abort a fetus? Their fetus?” At that moment, she could see why a person would make that decision, yet she remembered that she was in a happy marriage with a good support system and just knew she could not go through with an abortion. She decided to go through with the pregnancy and planned to parent the child. 

After getting through the initial shock and tears, Ellie called her OB-GYN, who ordered a blood draw to check levels. Ellie wanted to confirm the pregnancy. She got the blood drawn on Thursday and was waiting for the call with the results by Friday. On Fridays, the office closes at noon, and she still had not heard from them. By 4 p.m, she was feeling very anxious and realized that she had the doctor’s cell number from five years ago. She texted the doctor, who was in the hospital doing a delivery. The doctor called and discussed the results with Ellie. The lab tests revealed what could be a true pregnancy. On Saturday, the doctor and Ellie met at the office, where they saw the embryo through an ultrasound. The doctor decided that she would need to remove the IUD since it was very close to the embryo. After removing the IUD, they did another quick ultrasound to confirm that there was still a heartbeat. The ultrasound confirmed a heartbeat. 

The next few weeks would prove to be challenging for the family. Unsure if the baby would continue to develop after the removal of the IUD, Ellie and her husband waited to tell others about the pregnancy. The couple remained in shock for a couple of months. Ellie continued to visit the doctor, and the baby was growing and developing well, so after about 12 weeks, the couple shared the news with their four children and their family. Their family was very surprised but also very excited to welcome another child into the family. As others outside the family got the news, people started congratulating Ellie. Still upset about being pregnant, she wasn’t sure she wanted to hear that from people, but one coworker said, “I’m sorry.” Her coworker knew being pregnant was not in Ellie’s plans, and Ellie was happy to hear her say that she was sorry. Her coworker understood her and permitted Ellie not to be excited about the pregnancy. Weeks have gone by, and the family has come to accept the plan for their lives. Their belief in God and his plan has helped Ellie to accept the pregnancy and, six months later, she is excited about welcoming another child into their family. 

When asked if she had any advice, she said, “It’s okay not to be excited about it. That will come as the pregnancy progresses, and you get support from those who love you and care about you.” As she continued with providing advice, she emphasized the importance of finding good support. You will need to find someone who will truly listen and not just give their opinion. 

Ellie is still working on fully accepting the pregnancy, but she maintains that she already feels love for this baby as she sees her body grow and change. Now it is time for her to fully accept the baby and give the baby everything he or she needs. 

I hope you have found this article helpful. I wish blessings for you and your pregnancy as you navigate the challenges you face.