Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy? You may feel alone. You may be alone. You may feel ashamed. You may feel like your life is over. But it’s not. It’s just the beginning. You may feel like you have only one option. But you do not. You have many, many options to help not only you, but also your baby. If you are in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy, you have options.
Perhaps you are a teen mom and have very little support from your family. You may be thinking, “How can I take care of a child, when I can barely take care of myself?” Or perhaps you are a college student and feel that having a baby will interfere with your studies. Perhaps you are just starting a promising career and an unplanned pregnancy would put a dent in your future. Maybe you are in your 30’s with kids and already at your breaking point with finances, lack of time, and a rocky marriage. Another kid would not thrive under the circumstances. This article presents a myriad of unplanned pregnancy options for women who feel they have nowhere else to go. Let’s take a look at a few options.
Request an Ultrasound
If you are pregnant and seeking your unplanned pregnancy options, go to a Pregnancy Resource Center, also known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Ask for an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy.
Consider the Adoption Option
Adoption is a beautiful option. Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights from one set of parents to another. Adoption involves three groups of people, all of which have a deep need. Adoption involves a woman who has an unplanned pregnancy, an adoptive couple who may struggle with infertility, and the unborn child who needs a stable, consistent, loving home where his or her needs can be met. In the adoption community, this is called the adoption triad. Each person in the adoption triad has needs that can be fulfilled by one another.
The Biological Mom
Whatever the situation, adoption is a great option for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy. She is showing maturity by putting her child’s needs before her own needs. She is demonstrating self-sacrifice by placing her child in a loving home. She is demonstrating thoughtfulness by helping to choose that adoptive home. She is truly being a good mom. Adoption is a great unplanned pregnancy option. Adoption empowers a woman to make good choices not only for herself but also to do what is in the best interest of her child.
The Adoptive Mom
The adoptive mom may struggle with infertility. The pain and guilt of not being able to get pregnant or of having multiple miscarriages is indescribable. Adoption may not be able to take away all of that pain, but it sure does go a long way. Many women choose to try in vitro fertilization, which can cost thousands of dollars. Others choose international adoption or domestic infant adoption, which can also be expensive.
Lastly, and probably most important, is the unborn child. An unborn child is the most vulnerable in our society. He or she is totally at the mercy of the mother. It has been said that a society proves how civilized it is by how it treats the weakest in that society. The unborn child fits that category. When the birth mom teams up with the adoptive mom to help that unborn child they are giving an unborn child a chance at a better life. There is no greater love than to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Lastly, we hear of unwanted children who may be in abusive and neglectful homes or abandoned. These are the children of women who found themselves in what they think are in an impossible situation. This is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that can be averted. No child is unwanted, and an unplanned pregnancy never results in an unwanted child. There are countless adults waiting to adopt children every year. As someone who has adopted six children, fostered dozens, and who has facilitated the adoption of dozens more children, I can say with certainty that adoption, at the very least, is life-changing and, at the most, literally saves the lives of many vulnerable children. Adoption is a beautiful option.
Raise the baby with help
The vast majority of women facing an unplanned pregnancy choose the option to keep their own child. But if you feel unprepared, you will need support. Create a team around you who will love and care for your child as much as you do. Here’s who you should consider.
You may not think you are on good terms with family, but they may surprise you. Reach out to immediate family as well as extended family and even your significant other’s family if possible. They may have solutions you have not considered.
Seek out other moms who have gone through unplanned pregnancies and succeeded. How did they do it? What was their key to success? Follow their advice. Be inspired by their stories.
Who will babysit your child when you are at work or school? Finding a good babysitter or day care center is invaluable. But once you find a good one, stick with them.
The Medical Community
Finding a good doctor is a priority. Not only should you make prenatal care a priority, but once the child is born, they will need wellness checks, immunizations, and developmental checks. Yes, you are the expert on your child, but doctors are the experts on infant health. Listen to them.
The Faith Community
Lastly, if you have connections to a house of worship or other faith-based organizations, look into it. There are many out there that are willing to help you and your baby regardless of your past or ability to pay. This is an option for women facing an unplanned pregnancy and should not be dismissed. They will help you without judgment and without obligation.
Guardianship is an additional option for those with an unplanned pregnancy. Guardianship is a legal act, in which a birth mom relinquishes physical custody as well as legal custody to another responsible adult who will be the legal guardian for that child. The caregiver has authority to provide health care, education, behavioral health care, and all other personal matters on behalf of that child. There are two ways that legal guardianship can be put into effect:
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This may be given to a person if parental rights have not been involuntarily severed. In this case, the birth mom keeps her parental rights, still has visitation rights, still can make decisions on behalf of the child. She may petition the courts to end guardianship should she feel that she is in a better position to raise the child by herself.
Permanent guardianship may be granted to another person if it is documented that the birth mom is abusive, neglectful, or has abandoned the child. The guardianship process does not require attorneys but must be approved by a judge. If you know a responsible adult who can care for your child, guardianship may be the appropriate alternative.
Foster care is a possibility for some women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Foster care is the temporary placement of children who are removed from their primary caregiver due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Children who are placed in foster care are there until they are reunited with their parents, which does happen more than 50 percent of the time. If you are struggling with addiction, are homeless with no access to shelter, or are ensnared in legal issues while pregnant, you may find yourself also involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) and may have no choice. It may not be a voluntary option for some birth moms.
Stay calm. Lashing out at those around you will not help you get your child back. But if you take a deep breath, take responsibility for your actions, and think clearly, you may be able to regain custody. Listen to your attorney. Every birth mom who has CPS involvement has an attorney. Your lawyer is the expert in juvenile custody cases. Take his or her advice. Ask a professional how other birth moms got their kids back. Follow that path. Do the work. A judge may mandate many different programs for you to regain custody such as: drug or alcohol treatment, anger management, parenting classes, or supervised visitation. It may seem like a full-time job and it may take months or years, but it will be well worth it because it results in reunification.
Consider foster care/adoption. Lastly, if you cannot or will not do the program that the judge has ordered, you may consider voluntarily relinquishing your parental rights. Consider open adoption. Open adoption is an agreement with the adoptive parents to continue communication with your child after adoption. This way, you can maintain contact with your child through the formative years.
Abortion has many times been presented as the only option for women with unplanned pregnancies. However, as shown above, there are many other options. Abortion is much more intricate than a quick fix.
If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you are not going to be a mom; you are a mom. You are not alone. Choose the best option for you and your baby.