I wrote this post a year and a half ago, but thought it was worth repeating. I’m reposting it for those who don’t go back into my archives…
How stressful is it to find out you’re pregnant when you weren’t expecting it? Let’s face it, having a baby wasn’t exactly in your 4 year college plan. So what do you do? First, if you are in a relationship, talk to your boyfriend. This can be a very difficult conversation. The first emotion most people feel is denial. Don’t feel hurt if he is hoping that maybe the pregnancy test was wrong. He isn’t rejecting you, his brain is just in freak out, no this can’t be happening mode. If you’ve had a few hours or days to digest this, it will take that amount of time for him to catch up with you. His first reaction may be to consider abortion. This too, is common. The first instincts aren’t always the smartest. There is a lot to discuss and consider.
You both have to think about whether you want to tell family members. If you have a supportive family it may help you to decide what to do. If you don’t, you may want to decide what you are going to do before telling your families. Or you may decide not to tell them at all. Without outside family support, it is very hard for two college students to raise a baby on their own. It has and can be done, but not without major sacrifice. Even with a lot of family support, keeping the baby requires giving up a lot of things. It may require one or both of you to have to drop out of school either temporarily or permanently. When you aren’t expecting to have to make these types of decisions, it can be very overwhelming.
However, the pregnancy has a way of marching on. You can’t NOT decide when it comes to being pregnant. The baby can only stay in the womb for so long. If you decide to have the baby, whether you keep it or not, you will need proper prenatal care. Then you have a few months to decide whether you want to give the baby up for adoption or keep it. There are many places that help women with the adoption process. You may consider an open adoption where you still get to be a part of the baby’s life or a closed adoption where you give up all rights and no information is released to the adoptive parents.
If you decide to have an abortion, your timeline shrinks. In order to take the abortion pill, you need to make up your mind within 9 weeks of pregnancy. Some women don’t find out they’re pregnant until they are 6-8 weeks along. After 9 weeks you will need to have an in-clinic abortion. One type of in-clinic abortion is aspiration or vacuum aspiration. This type is used up until the 16th week of pregnancy. After 16 weeks another type of in-clinic abortion is used which is called dilation and evacuation. Pain and cramping is involved with all types of abortion procedures.
No matter what you decide this is a life changing decision. You and your boyfriend will never be the same. That is why using birth control is so important. If you both feel the same way, making the decision together can bring you closer no matter what you decide to do. It is when you disagree on the decision that stress adds up exponentially in the relationship. Both women and men have come in for counseling because their partner pushed them into a decision they didn’t agree with. A lot of resentment, guilt and anger can build up in this case. Making this decision is hard enough without also having to go against your values. Please seek out other people to consult with if you and your partner can’t agree on what to do about the baby.
Also be prepared for psychological stress after you go through with your decision. If you decide to have an abortion, it may be hard to mentally deal with this after the fact. The same is true with adoption. Many people have reported that they go through a grief process afterwards. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel sad or upset. It is normal to feel this way. If you have unresolved anger, guilt or resentment towards yourself or your partner, please seek some kind of counseling to help you resolve those feelings. Also, if you find out you’re pregnant and you aren’t in a relationship, seek the advice of someone close to you that you trust. This will help you talk through your options. Have that person there with you if you decide to get an abortion, see a doctor for a check-up, or see an adoption specialist. It is not recommended that you make every decision and do everything on your own. That is a huge weight to carry and it helps to share the load with at least one trusted person to help you get through it.
If you do find out you or your girlfriend is pregnant there are many resources that can help you with your decision. A few a listed below.