Pregnancy is generally a happy, joyful time. But is it also stressful. Becoming pregnant due to rape or incest is even more stressful. Yes, your pregnancy is most likely an unplanned pregnancy, but it’s more than that. Your ability to choose–your freedom–was taken from you. At this point, you must regain control over your life. Everyone does this differently. The most important thing is do what is best for you.

Contact Local Authorities: First, you need to file a report with the local police department. They can guide you through the rest of the legal journey. You may experience hesitation because your attacker is a member of your family or he may have threatened you. The truth of the matter is that no one has the right to harm another person. It doesn’t matter who he is, it shouldn’t be tolerated or ignored. Your local authorities will know what you need to do. They can help you. They will help you.

Emergency Contraceptive Pill: If you’re afraid that you may become pregnant after a rape, consider talking to your doctor about the emergency contraceptive pill. Commonly called the morning-after pill, it can be taken up to five days after sexual penetration. An ECP stops the fertilization process before it begins, that’s why there’s a time constraint of effectiveness.

Speak with a Counselor/Therapist: After such an ordeal, it is strongly recommended that you speak with a counselor or a therapist. Speaking to a mental health professional is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. They can help you work through your emotions and setbacks. They can help you work through the pain. They can help you to find joy and happiness once again. Be honest with them. Divulge all your emotions, all your fears. That is the only way to truly heal and to continue life’s natural progression.

Know Your Options: The next step is to research your options. Remember, you do have options. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You can abort the child, place the child with an adoptive family, or raise the child, to name a few. Research these options before you make a final decision. The best decision is an informed decision. After all, you need to do what’s best for you. What’s best for one person won’t be best for the next person. Make sure that you are comfortable with your decision.

Move Forward: Moving forward after a traumatic event won’t be easy. It takes hard work and dedication. If you’re ready to move forward, there are many things you can do. You can always continue meeting with a counselor or join a local support group. Volunteer in your community and help others who are in your same situation. Know that what happened to you wasn’t your fault; it doesn’t define you.

Pregnancy after a rape or incestuous relationship is a difficult and heart-wrenching burden to carry. People want to help you overcome this. Gather your trusted friends and family around you as your support system. They love you. They want to help you. Let them help you.