Becoming pregnant is a life-altering experience. Not only does your body start changing, but it can be a very emotional time. Suddenly, you are responsible for another person. When you didn’t plan the pregnancy, it can be extremely stressful. You may be filled with many worries and concerns. Most of all, you may wonder what to do.
Making a Decision
While every woman must choose for herself, all women have the same three basic options when they find out that they are pregnant. Those options are to raise the baby, terminate the pregnancy, or choose pregnant adoption. None of the choices are easy and each of them has pros and cons. It is recommended that you have a support group no matter which one you choose.
To help you decide what to do, I will give you some questions to consider for each option. I also recommend that you sit down with your support group and come up with a list of pros and cons to help you make the final decision for yourself.
Raise the Baby
Raising a child is a lifetime of commitment and work. Additionally, some children come with special needs that require even more care than others. While it is not always possible to know those needs before a child is born, you can prepare financially and materially to raise a child. Here are some questions to consider if you are thinking about raising your baby:
- Who can help you raise the child? It is impossible to take care of a child by yourself. You will need a support network.
- How will you financially support the child? Will the father help, your parents, or can you support yourself and your child?
- Do you have insurance and will the insurance cover the child as well? It is important to be able to take care of your health and your child’s health.
- What type of parent do you want to be? Are you able to be that kind of parent right now?
- What do you know about caring for children? How can you learn what you need to know?
Once you know the answers to these questions and any others that you and your support network can think of asking, then you can make a list of pros and cons about this choice to help you decide.
Terminate the Pregnancy
This option is the most controversial one. Some people are dead set against it and others encourage women in this direction. Depending on your upbringing and your family’s opinions you may already have decided if this option is a good choice for you or not. If you haven’t, here are some questions to consider as you make your decision:
- How do you feel about abortion?
- Will you be okay with this decision later?
- How does the father of your child feel about this choice?
- Do you have support for yourself before, during, and after the procedure?
- What are the side effects (physical and mental) of an abortion?
Some of these questions may be difficult, but they are important to consider before making this life-altering choice. All of these choices are life-altering, but abortion is the only one you can’t change your mind about later. If you decide to raise the child and realize later that it is not something you can do, then you can change your mind and choose adoption. If you decide that you want your baby adopted by a loving family but then change your mind after the baby is born, then you can raise your child. Abortion is a final decision that cannot be changed. You will have to decide for yourself if that is something you want to do.
Pregnant adoption means choosing a family to adopt your baby while you are still pregnant. This is not an easy choice, but it can be a great choice for yourself and your child. When a woman chooses adoption for her baby it is a very selfless choice that comes from a position of love. She realizes that she cannot provide her child with the life he or she deserves and so she chooses a family that can. Here are some questions to consider when you are thinking about adoption:
- What kind of family would you want to raise your child?
- Do you want an open, semi-open, or closed adoption? This refers to how much you want to be involved in your child’s life after the adoption is finalized.
- Will you use an agency like the Gladney Center for Adoption or an adoption attorney?
- What support will you need from the adoption agency or attorney during and after the pregnancy?
- Do you want to live in a home with other women who are in a similar position or do you want to remain at your home during your pregnancy?
These questions can help you think about your needs and the future of your child. They will start the process for a pros and cons list about this choice. Make sure to include on your pro list that pregnant adoption can be an answer to someone else’s greatest desire. Some couples have struggled for years to have children and they would love to be chosen to raise your child.
Now that you have thought about all three choices, you can get together with your support group and make that final decision. You can do this.
After Making the Decision
You made pros and cons lists for each of the choices discussed the options with your support group and made a decision. Now what? While I will focus on the decision of pregnant adoption from this point on, some of these topics will apply to all three of your choices. The topics I will discuss are taking care of yourself emotionally, taking care of your body and your baby, and making choices for your child’s future.
Take Care of Yourself Emotionally
One of the most important life skills is learning to take care of yourself emotionally. With all of life’s demands, it is easy to forget self-care, but you would be wise to not neglect this after you have made your decision. Self-care is a form of love and you should love yourself. If you don’t, then that is the first place you need to start with your self-care. Start by giving yourself compliments in the mirror or looking for the good qualities that you have. Too often people focus on the negative within themselves or tell themselves that they are not good enough. Those are lies that come from our self-conscious, insecure feelings or past trauma. The only way to combat the negative comments is to change the internal message you give yourself.
So instead of saying how ugly you are in your head, you can focus on your beautiful chocolate brown eyes. Instead of saying that you are fat, you can say that your body is amazing and working so hard to grow another person. You can also think of that precious baby you are growing. Instead of thinking about how you can’t believe you are pregnant, look for the good in yourself and your situation. The good might be that you are getting help and escaping a difficult family life with an adoption agency’s help. It may be that you realize how much your family loves you. Although it is difficult to change your internal thoughts, the good news is that it becomes easier with practice. Plus, that positive outlook will help you become happier even after your child is born.
The only person who can determine your happiness is you. You have to decide that you want to live a joyful life and then think about what that means for you. It is easy to think that everything in your life isn’t the way you want it to be and so you can’t be happy and won’t ever be happy again. While you may be going through a difficult time and you may not be happy now, you can and will be happy again. It is healthy for you to go through difficult feelings. If you are sad, allow yourself to process that sadness. It is okay to be sad sometimes. While you are experiencing that emotion, think about why you are feeling that way. Don’t stay sad forever, but allow yourself time to work through that emotion. Don’t ignore it or try to push it away.
After you have processed your sadness, find your way back to joy. You can do this by doing something healthy that makes you happy and feel good. Go on a nature walk, get a pedicure, pet a dog, make your favorite food, or hang out with a friend. Find the good things about life that bring you hope and remind you that not everything in life is difficult and sad. The snow and ice don’t last forever; eventually, the sun and heat come back. The same is true in life. Don’t keep yourself in the snow and ice forever—find your sun.
One way that you can find your sun again is through counseling. Many adoption agencies and adoption attorneys provide pregnant adoption therapy. This is a great opportunity to work through any life experiences that are holding you back from living a full and happy life. Take advantage of these opportunities and work toward a better future filled with positive affirmations; deal with your emotions and look for the good in life. Becoming pregnant can be a changing point in your life in a good way. It does not have to be the end of your life, but rather a new beginning.
Take Care of Your Body and Baby
When you are pregnant, everything changes. Many women feel like they lose control because their taste buds, emotions, and bodies change. Some women become very sick and experience all-day morning sickness. Other women do not experience morning sickness, but they do have strange cravings. Every woman and every pregnancy can be unique. However, what doesn’t change is the mother’s need to take care of her own body and, in turn, her baby’s body. Here is a link to an article about ways to stay healthy.
In my first pregnancy, I didn’t get sick very much but I had many reflux issues and popcorn smelled disgusting. During my second pregnancy, I experienced a great deal of stress and did not take care of my physical needs as much. This is probably why I fainted twice and was sick all the time. What I learned during the second pregnancy is that protein is very important when you are pregnant and that even when you don’t feel like eating you need to eat. After the second time I fainted, I started taking packages of nuts or peanut butter crackers with me everywhere for a quick protein snack to avoid fainting again.
Learning to feed your body the foods that it needs to thrive is another vital skill that will help your well-being long after pregnancy. I am still working on this skill, but what I have learned is that we all need a certain amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and calories every day. The amount that we need varies from person to person. Some people can’t process carbohydrates very well and others can’t handle much fat in their diet. Learning the right balance of these nutrients for your body is something that can help you live a healthier and happier lifestyle.
If all this information feels overwhelming to you, then just focus on one thing at a time. Maybe start by focusing on increasing your protein or water intake. I know from experience how vital this can be. Water is so important and so easily forgotten, but it can help in so many ways. Protein can come from delicious chocolate milk (I loved this my first pregnancy) or protein drinks, nuts, and peanut butter. It can also come from meat or beans. Find what you can stomach and go with that. Just remember that as you take care of yourself, you are also taking care of your baby. Both of you are worth the effort.
Make Choices for Your Baby’s Future
The final thing I will discuss is to make choices for your baby’s future. In a pregnant adoption, you can decide many things for your child. You can decide who you want to raise your child and, by making that choice, you will choose where he or she will live and the kind of lifestyle he or she will have. You will also choose, to a certain extent, how he or she is raised. Getting to know the family that you choose for your baby is important in helping you make this decision. Although this can be a very nerve-wracking experience, remember that you are both there to help each other out. Find a family that you feel comfortable with and that you love.
Another decision you will need to make before choosing the family is what kind of adoption you want to have. This choice determines how involved you will be in your baby’s life after the adoption. If you want to be in regular contact, then you will want an open adoption. Perhaps you want phone calls, letters, communication through social media, or even visits. If this is what you want, then you can make this decision before choosing a family and let the family know that you want this before the adoption is finalized. Part of the adoption paperwork can include this level of openness that you want to maintain after the adoption. Of course, if this becomes too much or you change your mind and want a less open relationship then that is okay as well.
It is important to know what you want and then work to achieve that. Experiencing pregnant adoption does not mean that you don’t have choices. It means that you choose what is best for you and your child. It means that you choose how involved you are in your child’s life and find a family that is willing to agree to that. It means that you are required to make many choices, but you will learn and grow through those choices.
Final Thoughts on Pregnant Adoption
Pregnant adoption can be the start of a new future for every member of the adoption triad (expectant mother, prospective adoptive parents, and adoptee). It is one of three choices that every pregnant woman can choose. The most important things that a woman can do when she chooses adoption are to take care of herself emotionally, take care of her body and her baby’s body, and make choices for her baby’s future. As a woman does these things, she can begin to feel more in control of her life and see that she can choose the future that she wants for herself and her child. If you are in this situation, I am rooting for you. You can do this.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.