An unplanned pregnancy will put you in a panic. In the heat of the moment, facing an impossible decision, you’re probably asking yourself, “Should I keep my baby?”
That’s a very nuanced question, and the answer will never be clean-cut. It’s not a decision you can — or should — make in the spur of the moment. If you’re debating between abortion vs. keeping a baby, you’ll need to do some research and soul-searching to decide what’s right for you.
We know how difficult making a decision on keeping a baby or not can be. We’re here to help.
How to Decide To Keep a Baby or Not
Should I get an abortion or keep my baby?
Believe it or not, this is a question that runs through almost every woman’s mind when she discovers an unplanned pregnancy. If you’re early enough in your pregnancy, abortion can be a viable and safe option. But, contrary to what many think, it’s not always the “easy” choice.
While abortion does prevent you from experiencing the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, it’s an option that comes with its own consequences, too. Most women do not regret their decision long-term, but many do experience a sense of grief and loss. Abortion is just as life-changing a decision as choosing to carry a pregnancy to term.
You may ask: How do I know if I should keep my baby or not?
We can’t answer that question for you. Terminating or continuing your pregnancy is not an easy choice to make, but these steps may help you get a little closer to the path that’s best for you.
Step 1: Learn about your abortion alternatives.
Oftentimes, when women discover they are pregnant, their first thought is of abortion. However, before you move forward with this choice, you need to know you have other options, too.
Abortion vs. “keeping” the baby is about more than just abortion vs. parenting. Choosing to continue a pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to “keep” the baby. Instead, you could choose to place your child for adoption.
Know that you have two choices if you are considering carrying a pregnancy to term:
- Parenting: When most women ask, “Should I keep my baby?” they’re considering parenting. Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding roles in your life, but it comes with challenges. It will require you to change your life completely to do what is best for your unborn child. It’s a lifetime commitment. Are you truly ready for it?
- Adoption: Many women don’t consider this option when they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. But it is an option for everyone. If you’re against abortion, but you’re not sure you want to parent, adoption can be the right choice. You can choose to place your child with parents you pick, and you can maintain a relationship with them and your child in the years to come. While adoption is not easy, it can be a beautiful experience for those who go into it with a clear understanding and set of expectations.
We encourage you to keep both of these options in mind when deciding between abortion or “keeping” your baby.
Step 2: Evaluate your financial situation.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest factors in deciding whether or not to “keep” a baby will be your financial situation. While we wish all people who wanted to parent could, the fact is that parenting costs a lot — and government resources may not be enough to give your child the life they deserve.
Your pregnancy is unplanned; you probably didn’t save up for the medical costs of pregnancy, not to mention raising a child. But, can you make it work?
If you’ve made a budget and determined you can parent your child, that may make the decision for you. But, if you can’t afford the costs of pregnancy and parenting, you still need to consider the costs of your other two options:
- Abortion: An abortion procedure can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Prices vary depending on the type of procedure and clinic you use but, because most insurance carriers don’t cover these procedures, you should expect to pay a good chunk of money out of pocket to terminate your pregnancy.
- Adoption: If you can’t afford an abortion (or you’re too late in your pregnancy to have one), know that choosing adoption is always free. Your adoption professional will cover the costs of your pregnancy and childbirth care, as well as provide additional assistance for certain living expenses like rent, travel and more. Receiving this assistance never obligates you to choose adoption, either; you will retain your right to choose to parent your child after birth, if you change your mind.
Step 3: Talk to an unplanned pregnancy counselor.
Although no one else can tell you to keep a baby or not, talking to someone about your situation may bring a new sense of clarity.
It’s important to talk with someone knowledgeable about all of your unplanned pregnancy options. A counselor can provide the objective information and guidance you may need. An unplanned pregnancy counselor will never try to force you into one decision or another; they will just help you evaluate your situation to discover which options may be best for you.
Many unplanned pregnancy counselors provide their services for free and can easily be contacted online or by phone. However, do your research: Many anti-abortion professionals disguise themselves as pregnancy counselors and may try to dissuade you from abortion with misleading and inaccurate information. Make sure you work with a counselor who will respect your decision, whatever it may be.
Step 4: Think about your personal desires.
When you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, you probably automatically thought of parenting your child. But, is that really something you want to do?
Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you have to be a parent. You have other options — abortion and adoption — and you should never feel pressured into parenting if this is not the right path for you.
If you’re asking, “Should I keep my baby or not?” don’t feel ashamed for entertaining the idea of terminating your pregnancy. Don’t push those feelings aside, either; if you have no desire to be pregnant, take that into consideration.
As you evaluate your options, remember that abortion or “keeping” your baby aren’t your only choices. If you are uncomfortable with abortion but are not ready to be a parent, you can choose to carry your pregnancy and place your child for adoption.
Ultimately, the question is not between abortion vs. keeping the baby — it’s about whether or not you want to carry a pregnancy to term. Determine what your feelings are about this choice, and you just might find the answer you’re looking for.