Even with the support of friends and family, an unplanned pregnancy can be a difficult life event to process. How do you find someone who knows what you are going through and can help you make a decision?
Fortunately, you can turn to pregnancy counseling as a solution. Many women in your position benefit from the help of a pregnancy counselor or support group, most of which are available at no cost to you. If you are thinking about seeing a counselor or joining an unplanned pregnancy support group, read on to find more information on what to do.
Should I Find a Counselor?
Whether you need help in making a decision or simply want to find someone to listen, the right pregnancy counselor or therapist will be able to understand your situation in ways that others may not.
You may wish to obtain pregnancy counseling if you:
- are unsure of how to make a decision about your pregnancy
- do not have a strong system of support at home
- don’t always feel comfortable talking to loved ones about your pregnancy
- are experiencing symptoms of depression or need help sorting through your feelings
Pregnancy options counseling is available for anyone who wants or needs it. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not this kind of unplanned pregnancy support would be helpful to you.
What to Look for in a Counselor for Unplanned Pregnancy
If you decide to look for unplanned pregnancy counseling, you will first need to find a good counselor. There are many people who offer counseling for pregnant women, but because many organizations have agendas regarding unplanned pregnancies, diligent research is critical in finding the right unplanned pregnancy support for you.
One of the first qualifications a pregnancy counselor should meet is being licensed or certified. Look for counselors or therapists who have a degree in their field and relevant experience. These professionals will have been trained to assist women in situations like your own.
A good professional will also provide unbiased, non-judgmental advice, answer all of your questions, and be reliable and available for you when you need them. Your counselor should provide impartial information and keep your information confidential. Additionally, it is important to find someone who you can talk to openly, and with whom you can develop a trusting relationship.
Just like with any other relationship, finding the right pregnancy counselor will come down to your personal needs. Just because a counselor is effective does not necessarily mean they are the right fit for you.
Before choosing unplanned pregnancy counseling, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want to see my counselor for a prolonged period of time?
- Have I already made a decision about my pregnancy? What counselor will help me with that decision?
- Do I care about the gender of my counselor?
- What am I willing to pay for counseling?
After you have decided what you are looking for in a counselor, you can begin your search for the right professional.
Where to Find a Counselor
No matter where you live, you can find a variety of professional support during your unplanned pregnancy. Here are a few pregnancy counseling options you might consider:
- Pregnancy centers – Centers like Advice & Aid are available all across the country to help women in your position learn about their options.
- General counselors – If you already have a therapist or counselor, they can be a great resource as you cope with your unplanned pregnancy. Unlike counselors at pregnancy centers and other places, however, they will usually charge by the hour.
- Adoption agencies – Social workers at adoption agencies are educated on not just adoption, but all of your unplanned pregnancy options. You can find agencies that work locally or nationally. Counseling offered through an adoption agency is provided free of charge, and many of these professionals are available for 24/7 support.
- Religious institutions – Many local churches or religious groups will offer advice and guidance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy, usually helping them to prepare for parenting or create an adoption plan.
- Abortion clinics – Almost all abortion clinics will be staffed with someone who can talk to you about abortion and your other options. In fact, many states require you to receive some form of counseling before you can obtain an abortion.
You might also consider obtaining counseling over the phone, rather than in person. You can often find an unplanned pregnancy hotline from an adoption agency, or more general sources like:
- American Pregnancy Hotline: 1-866-942-6466
- OptionLine: 1-800-712-4357 or text “HELPLINE” to 313131
- Pregnancy Decision Line: 877-791-5475
If you do not believe counseling is a good fit for you, you have other options for support, both online and in your community.
If you do not prefer a one-on-one pregnancy counseling environment, or if you are interested in connecting with other mothers, you may consider an unplanned pregnancy support group. Some of the options you have include:
- Local groups – Check with churches, schools, and other institutions in your community that might host pregnancy support groups.
- Parenting sites – For those who want to find support online, many forums for parents have sections dedicated to unplanned pregnancy.
- Clinics and hospitals – Many hospitals will have programs to help support and educate expecting mothers.
To find unplanned pregnancy counseling and support, look for a pregnancy center near you. These organizations often have trained pregnancy counselors on staff and can refer you to any additional unplanned pregnancy counseling resources that you may desire.