If you’ve just learned about your pregnancy, you might need some time to recover from a sense of whiplash — as if you were moving in one direction only to be suddenly and abruptly turned around.
An unplanned pregnancy is a situation that few expect to find themselves in but, in actuality, more than 45 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. You may feel alone in dealing with your pregnancy, but know that coming to terms with being pregnant unexpectedly is not something you have to do on your own.
As you adjust to this news, there are a few things you can do before making a decision about your unplanned pregnancy options. The advice found here will help you learn how to cope with an unplanned pregnancy:
Accept Your Feelings
You are not expected to know how to accept an unplanned pregnancy right away. After receiving news of an unplanned pregnancy, you might be feeling a wide range of feelings that are positive, negative, or both. You may feel pressure from yourself or others to meet your pregnancy with joy and gratitude. In turn, you may feel that you are not coping with your pregnancy in the “right” way.
In reality, emotions are much more complicated. In fact, many women report feelings of ambivalence upon realizing they are pregnant, which makes accepting an unplanned pregnancy even more complicated.
There is no right or wrong way to feel after learning of an unplanned pregnancy. You might still be in disbelief. You might be excited and terrified at the same time. Or you might be angry — at your partner, at yourself, or simply at the world. Not only are all of these emotions completely normal, but they will help you to decide what to do next and how to cope with your unwanted pregnancy in the way that’s best for you.
Your loved ones can be a great source of strength as you are dealing with unplanned pregnancy. Some of the people you may decide to talk to about your pregnancy include:
- Family – Your family wants what is best for you, so give them a little time to process the news of your pregnancy. Let them know how much their support would mean to you in this time, and don’t be afraid to lean on them if they offer help.
- Close friends – Trusted friends can be there for you when you need an outside perspective, a temporary distraction, or simply a shoulder to cry on.
- The baby’s father – Depending on how involved the father is in your life, this conversation may be brief or drawn-out. Keep his feelings in mind as you explain the news to him, and determine if you will be moving forward together or on your own. Having the supportive father by your side can be extremely helpful in coping with your unwanted pregnancy, but an unsupportive father can be detrimental to your journey.
Some people may be unsupportive of your situation or future decision, and you have the right to distance yourself from them. The only people who should be involved in your pregnancy are the ones who care about your well-being and will not judge you or pressure you into making a certain decision. Remember, even when your loved ones offer advice on how to handle your unplanned pregnancy, you are the only one who can make this decision.
You can also find support from other people who know what you are going through in coming to terms with being pregnant. Consider some of the following resources:
- Unplanned pregnancy support groups – Local and online support groups are available for women in your position. See what options are available in your community.
- Unplanned pregnancy hotline – Some clinics and agencies accept calls 24/7, and they will counsel you about your options. You can also find help through texting and online.
“Do I Have to Tell Others about My Pregnancy?”
Alternatively, some women may wonder if they can – or should – keep their unplanned pregnancy a secret. While you should do whatever is best for your situation, hiding your pregnancy may leave you feeling isolated when there are many people who know exactly what you’re going through. Even if you have already made a decision, talking to others is often one of the best methods of how deal with an unwanted pregnancy in its beginning stages.
Find a Professional
As you prepare to move forward, unplanned pregnancy advice from a professional can help you in accepting an unplanned pregnancy. Many counselors, doctors, and women’s health advocates have met with women in the exact same position you are in right now, and their perspective may help you figure out how to handle your unwanted pregnancy.
Here are some of the professionals you might decide to contact during this time:
- Women’s health clinics – Places like Planned Parenthood provide a variety of family-planning services and information.
- Counselors – A counselor can be especially helpful if you don’t feel comfortable talking to people in your life about your pregnancy.
- Your doctor – Especially if you have a doctor that specializes in women’s health, he or she might be able to give you advice or point you toward people who can. Additionally, talk to your doctor about beginning prenatal care, especially if you are considering adoption or parenting your child.
- Adoption agencies – Adoption agencies are staffed by social workers who can inform you about not just the adoption process but all of your options.
When looking for professionals, be sure that they are credible and will provide you with accurate, unbiased information about all your options on how to handle your unexpected pregnancy. Taking the time to find objective information and sources can be extremely beneficial in dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and moving forward in a positive, productive manner.