Initially, the news of an unplanned pregnancy can seem to bring life to an abrupt halt. Even if you haven’t made a decision – even if you haven’t thought about making a decision – you know the current path you’re on has been altered.

But as you deal with the initial shock of unplanned pregnancy, remember: you will not feel this way forever.

You have a journey ahead of you that may be physically and emotionally trying. The upcoming weeks or months will likely be filled with thoughts and second thoughts, varying emotions and careful deliberation. It can be all too easy to feel overwhelmed by it all, which is why it’s especially important to seek out the positive aspects of an unexpected pregnancy:

You are not alone.

Although about half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, it’s easy to feel isolated when the issue is not openly discussed. Fortunately, you have many places you can go for help getting emotional support, finding pregnancy information, and making a decision.

As you look for support and guidance during your unplanned pregnancy, consider reaching out to:

  • Pregnancy support groups – Whether you engage in a local or online community, the support of people who know what you’re going through can be crucial.
  • Friends and family – Your loved ones know you better than anyone else. Let them be there for you, offer emotional support, and listen to you as you decide what you’re going to do.
  • Adoption or family planning services – Qualified organizations and professionals will help you by providing unplanned pregnancy education and giving you honest, unbiased advice on your options.

Figuring out your unplanned pregnancy is undoubtedly a challenge. Luckily, it’s one that you never have to face on your own.

You will have to sort out your feelings – good and bad.

One of the most common reactions of women facing an unplanned pregnancy is one of shock and disbelief, followed by ambivalence. These feelings are completely normal, and addressing them will help you decide what your next steps need to be. Navigating your unplanned pregnancy will also involve navigating your emotions, thoughts, and relationships.

Be honest with yourself about how you feel about your unplanned pregnancy, whether those feelings are positive, negative, or both. The next steps you take should be determined based on what you feel is best for you, not what you think is expected of you. And as you move forward, you can do so with more emotional preparation.

You will gain perspective on your health.

The human body is capable of truly amazing things, and a pregnancy is a profound reminder of that fact. No matter who you are, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to take proper care of your body, and this goes double if you’re expecting. Whatever decision you make, your pregnancy will likely encourage you to think about your overall physical, emotional, and sexual health.

You can discover what’s important to you.

As you consider your options, you will likely have to ask yourself a series of important questions: Do I want to be a parent? What kind of home would I want a child to grow up in? Do I have things I want to accomplish before starting a family?

You may already have the answers to many of these questions. However, other answers might change once you have the news of your pregnancy – and there may be some questions you had never thought to ask. It is more likely than not that an unplanned pregnancy will lead you to learn more about yourself.

You have options.

The fight for women’s rights has come a long way over the years. In the past, women had very few options after discovering an unplanned pregnancy – single mothers were stigmatized, but pregnant women were heavily criticized or even legally reprimanded if they decided not to raise a child.

Today, you have the resources to safely pursue the option that best suits your situation. While opinions of all kinds can still be found locally or in the Internet community, those opinions do not dictate what you can and can’t choose. It can be easy to feel out of control in the wake of an unplanned pregnancy, but remember: it’s still your body, your pregnancy, and your choice to make.

You will be okay.

The choice you have to make is undoubtedly a difficult one, but once you make it, you notice that the world is still turning. The path ahead of you may look different than you imagined, but you will know where you are going, and you will be okay when you get there.

As you decide what to do about your unplanned pregnancy, stress and anxiety can begin to add up quickly. During those times, it is more important than ever to remember that there are positives, as well – and while it may be difficult now, you have the rest of your life to look forward to.