The last thing anyone would want to face in life is the challenge of coping with an unwanted pregnancy. In fact no one would want to because of the heartbreaking issues associated with it.
Are you a victim of an unplanned pregnancy and you’re troubled with the thought of how to handle the situation? Do you feel:
- Worried, anxious and frightened?
- Depressed and stressed out?
- Regretful and guilty of your action that resulted into the pregnancy?
- Cheated and disappointed?
- Lonely and isolated?
- Confused and unsettled?
- You have lost your hope of achieving your dreams, such as becoming a graduate?
- Inner shame even though you have not told anyone (especially your parents) about the unexpected development?
Whatever is the case right now, don’t worry. This article will greatly help you. Sure, coping with the stress of an unwanted pregnancy is challenging. However, knowing the necessary steps to overcoming a given problem gives you the wings to effortlessly soar above the seemingly insurmountable mountain. All you need do now is to take your time to read and get the tips I am about to share with you now.
How can you successfully scale through the stress of keeping an unwanted pregnancy? How can you happily move on with your life without staining your hands with the blood of your unborn innocent baby?
Here are 12 things you should do.
1. Put yourself together
The first few hours/days of getting to know that you’re truly pregnant especially as a teenager (or it’s happening for the first time), feelings are usually disturbing. It is like, the whole wide world has just crashed on you. You wish the ground could open and just swallowed you up. Come on, if you can be sure that the sky is still up there as you read this now, then know that it’s not over yet for you. Realize that it’s just a bend on your path and never the end of the road. Just calm down, take a breath and find out how to continue the journey from the present point without giving up. With the right decision and action steps, you can still arrive at your dream or desired destination.
2. Don’t be in a hurry to take decision
One mistake many victims of an unwanted pregnancy make is the rush to take decision. The moment you discovered that you are pregnant, some possible thoughts or options begin to run through your mind. These options or decisions include: keeping the baby, having an abortion or taking an adoption.
See, when a victim of an unwanted pregnancy is in a hurry to decide how to handle the situation, she/he says, “Now that it’s just a week old, I have to do something fast about it before it gets too late. I can’t stand to bear the shame; my parents can’t hear this.” And once you begin to think this way, the worst decision appears to be the best.
For this reason, don’t take decision in a hurry. Taking time to think through the situation helps you make more informed decision. Relax and take time to use both your mind and heart instead of allowing your heart (emotions) to take the lead. Remember step 1 above. Relax and calm down. When you’re in haste to decide, the only option that comes to mind is abortion, which is a deadly decision or mistake.
3. Seek counsel
Rather than rushing to take decision, seek for advice from more experienced sources. These could include your religious leader, well-meaning adults with whom you have healthy relationship, trusted friends, etc. Their words of guidance will help know the available best options and how to go about the whole situation. And mind you, be smart enough to identify ungodly counsel. Never accept any advice that is ungodly even if it comes from someone you trusted.
4. Meet with a doctor
The lifestyle and eating habit or nutritional requirement for a single individual is different from that of a woman carrying a pregnancy. Once you discovered you’re pregnant, do not hesitate to meet with your doctor to tell you the necessary changes you have to make regarding lifestyle, food intake, medication, and others. Living as a single individual without putting your baby into consideration may be harmful not only to the baby, but also to your very self.
5. Seek help and support
Everyone needs support and help at one point or the other in life. Trying to handle challenges alone is setting yourself up for more frustration. When faced with the challenge of an unwanted pregnancy, it pays really well seeking help and support from relevant and capable sources. Possible sources of help include family members, church leaders, well-meaning friends and colleagues, health-centres, organizations/foundations, etc.
6. Help others in similar situation
I didn’t really want to add this but again, I read of woman who said she found this very helpful when she was facing the challenge of an unwanted pregnancy. So I thought it might also be helpful to you as well if you apply it. Look for someone going through the same pain as you are, and offer the help you can.
7. Don’t yield to pressure
You may face pressure from your partner, family members, and friend to take decisions, especially when what you want is different from theirs. If you really want to go through this period without having to regret at the end, do not yield to pressure. No matter how much your partner, family members and others claim to love you, remember that you are the main person who will bear the consequence should you make the wrong decision. So, know what you really want for yourself and stand by it in as much as you know it’s the best decision for you.
In most cases, you might be forced by your boyfriend or your parents to opt for an abortion. When this happens, let them understand that the consequences involved in abortion outweigh the seemingly relief it is believed to bring. Remember, best decisions are rarely taken under pressure because, at this point, you’re being controlled by emotions and fear of the future. When you are faced with the challenge of unwanted pregnancy, be calm as I said in tip #1 above.
8. Share your feelings and spend time with friends/family members
Good friends stand by you during the thick and thin hours. When you strayed into the darkness, they are willing to stretch out their hands to you to pull you back into the light. When in the darkest moment of carrying an unplanned pregnancy, cry aloud to friends who are in the light to help you. Share the news with them and tell them how you feel. Their words of hope and encouragement will help to kill your feelings of fear and give you strength and courage to boldly face your challenge until you eventually overcome.
Lisa Cooper shared her experience of how the response from a friend changed her perspective about her unplanned pregnancy. She said, “Discouraged with life in general and feeling somewhat sorry for myself at the time, I will never forget the words of a close friend when I told her that I’d accidentally become pregnant. Her face lit up, she beamed from ear to ear, and said, “You’re a clever girl.” It was one of the rare moments in life that left me speechless. I’m aware that this was not a standard response, but I have always interpreted her comment as a conscious choice on her behalf to focus on the miraculous concept of motherhood rather than the negative circumstances under which they had occurred.”
Furthermore, Lisa described her friend’s response as refreshing. “…my friend’s refreshing response startled me into a new way of thinking about this life-changing event that was the key to success.” While sharing your feelings with others helps, you must be careful who you talk with concerning your situation.
Please note this. Don’t share your feeling with the wrong people. This is vital because sharing your feeling or secret with the wrong person can add to your current emotional trauma which you’re still trying to fix. Don’t talk with people who you know have the tendency to criticize, judge you and spread the news of your pregnancy without your permission. The wrong person can cause you to make uninformed decisions and can betray your trust in him/her. Rather than help you think through, he/she can be the one who tells everyone or give you wrong advice – reasons to go for an abortion.
9. Develop an emotional connection with your baby
Having no feeling of attachment (love) with your baby especially when it is unplanned is normal. Granted that your baby is not to blame for appearing at the time you least expected, the very fact that you’re carrying what you do not want can create a feeling of resentment towards the pregnancy which in turn detached you from the baby. The moment you realize you’re pregnant, you’re no longer responsible for your own health, but also for the health or well-being of your baby. The level of concern you have towards your unborn child depends on the degree of the bond or connection you have with your baby. Therefore, develop an affinity (feeling of love) for your child no matter how much you may not have wanted the pregnancy. This may take some time as you’re still wondering how you’re going to cope with life. Nevertheless, do this as soon as possible. Here are 16 ways to bond with your unborn baby.
10. Develop positive thinking toward your pregnancy
Thinking that you have made the biggest mistake of your life and that life will never turn out the way you wanted again is a negative way of thinking. And when you think this way, you will lack the ability to make the most of the moment. I love the quote that says, “life is only 10% what happens to you and 90% of your reaction to what happens.” In other words, your success or failure in life is majorly a function of your attitude towards the events of your life and not the events per se.
For instance, instead of feeling that the unwanted pregnancy is the end of your life, focus on the fact that it is the miraculous beginning of another’s (your child’s life). So, in order to turn the immediate pains of having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to future gain, change your perspective; focus on the positive side of the equation. Obviously things may no longer go the way you had planned them. For example, if you’re a teenager or a young adult who is still in school at the time, you may have to put your studies on hold to focus on the care of your baby.
Putting your academic on hold never mean that you can never get educated anymore. It only means that priority has just changed and as such it may require a bit longer time to achieve it. And what you’ve got to do now is to brainstorm on what adjustment you can make so that your other life goals do not die away. Just like the example mentioned. Maybe you were a full-time student, you can plan for a part-time study after your child’s birth to achieve your academic goal.
11. Expand your knowledge bank
Caring for yourself and your unborn child requires a wealth of experience and knowledge. In addition to what you receive from your counsellor and healthcare provider, take the step to seek for relevant information that you need to be an excellent expectant mother and a nursing mother. As a result of technological advancement, you need not travel before getting the needed resources.
Right from the comfort of your home, you can get as much information or knowledge as possible in as much as you can access the internet. In fact, reading this article alone, you’re already applying this tip. You only need to go deeper because what I have provided here is not all you need for the journey. Find out where you can get support or financial assistance in your state, the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the baby or adopting it. Note that abortion is never an option. It can ruin your entire life.
Just before going to the last tip, read this story shared by Dan, a 56-year-old Technology Engineer.
“I really fucked this one up. At 51, I was having an affair with a 25-year-old and got her pregnant. When she told me at a coffee shop, I felt like the floor gave way. I asked her what she wanted to do, and she was adamant that she wanted to get an abortion. She’d just graduated from college and was focused on her career. She also knew I had two children and a wife I wasn’t going to divorce. My ex-wife had had an abortion when I was 20, and I knew it wasn’t a simple in-and-out procedure. There’s a lot of emotion involved. I sent my lover a lot of info, and we talked about it every day. I drove her to the clinic, paid for the appointment and booked a nice hotel suite with flowers for her to recover in. But she ended up in the hospital because they’d made a couple of mistakes during the procedure. She was really sick, sleeping 24 hours a day and on all these medications. The doctors thought she was going to die. She had a really bad fever. Her parents, who are younger than me, didn’t want me at the hospital. But she did, so I took time off work to visit. In the end, the doctors were able to fight off the infection, but I’m pretty sure she got a hysterectomy.”
Now, I want you to repeat the last sentence in the above story. It reads, “In the end, the doctors were able to fight off the infection, but I’m pretty sure she got a hysterectomy.” The word, ‘hysterectomy’ is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus. Yes, the young lady survived the abortion and I believed she was able to focus on her career, but she forever lost something too expensive to afford, her womb. You know what that means to a woman. Now you can move on to the last tip.
12. Realize that you are not alone
There is no situation you experience in the world that others have not gone through before. And if others could survive it, it means you can as well. Speaking to others or reading their experiences and how they were able to cope will go a long way to help you in your own situation.
You can read the stories of other mothers who once face the challenge of unwanted pregnancy https://www.standforlife.org/unplanned-pregnancy-stories… and how they were able to scale through successfully. If you’re a man reading this and you wonder how you are going to cope with the news of the unwanted pregnancy your partner just broke to you, meditate on these tips and share them with your partner.
Wrapping it up
Here are the 12 tips to help you cope with the challenge of keeping keeping your unplanned pregnancy. I strongly believe that if you apply them, you will thank your future self for it. I conclude with a quote by Rand Roberta, the author of Focus on family. He said, “It’s true, change forces us out of our comfort zones, stretches us in ways that might hurt for a little while. But the rewards can be astounding. In releasing the stale familiar, we clear the way for new experiences that can feed our thirsty souls and re-animate our lifeless dreams. Purged of the fears that held us, we emerged as better people, more free and certainly, more interesting.”