» You’re pregnant! Now what?
You got pregnant, you didn’t mean to. Maybe you were being stupid, or maybe you had an accident, or maybe you were even forced. There are various situations and stories for this thing, but in the end one thing unites them: unintended pregnancy.
Unintended pregnancy is mostly regarded as a problem. There are those who do not feel it’s a big deal and have their minds made up ahead of time about what to do. They have plenty of money, or they love children, or they know their body won’t allow it to carry to term, there are again various situations and stories, but they know what they will do and have no worry about it. But for the majority of us, well, at least the majority of the western world, unintended pregnancy is a problem.
So what do you do if you or your significant other is pregnant by accident?
Well, first of all, you need to talk. Talk about your options, your beliefs, your finances, your future. Talk about everything. But in the end, remember, it’s all up to the one who’s pregnant. If there is any threats or coercion involved, there will be serious consequences. Mostly of the mental persuasion but mental inevitably leads to physical. You never know what desperate and distraught people will do. So please, leave the pressure out of the conversation. Be kind, be considerate, be assertive, be truthful, but don’t be overbearing, don’t be aggressive, don’t be nasty, and definitely do not lie. Your way is not the only way there is, and you need to be open-minded (and this goes for all parties involved). This is a very difficult time and hate and anger have no place here.
That being said, the conversation will be centered on your options. You have three: Carry the pregnancy to term and either keep or adopt out, or artificially terminate the pregnancy.
Even if one or more of these are against your beliefs, again keep an open mind. There are several things that you need to consider and keep an eye on. You never know what will happen, again.
That being said, let me lay down some things you need to pinpoint in your thoughts and conversations about your situation.
Now, even if you think you’ve decided on one option, it’s not a bad idea to take a peak at the others and compare and contrast. If nothing else, you’ll just reinforce your reasoning for your initial choice.
First of all, some things to consider if you are (thinking about) carrying to term, whether or not you are adopting out or keeping the eventual child:
- Is my body able to handle this? Is my body ready for this? Am I healthy enough for this?
- How will pregnancy and birth affect my mental and physical health?
- Will I need a Cesarian section or can I give birth vaginally?
- Am I taking any medications that will hurt the pregnancy and/or myself? Do I absolutely need these medications? Are there more suitable substitutes, and how much do they cost? How else can medication affect me and my pregnancy, and how will my being pregnant affect the medication?
- What pregnancy and fetal development complications are common in my family’s history? Am I or is my pregnancy at risk?
- What is my financial situation like? What is the estimated cost of my pregnancy and birth, including possible complications?
- Is there a midwife, emergency clinic, ambulance service, and/or hospital nearby in case of need?
- Do I have a doctor or medical professional I can trust to give me accurate information, and who I can be comfortable talking to about any decisions or worries or side affects of pregnancy, as well as comfortable with having them look into it?
- Do I have physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual (if necessary) support?
- Will I be prepared if I have a miscarriage or need to terminate my pregnancy? Am I prepared for other dire possibilities including sterilization or death?
- Will the pregnancy affect my work and/or school life? Am I able to take time off? Will I have to quit?
- Will I be able to have sex?
- Am I prepared in case of multiples (twins, triplets, etc)?
- Talk to a medical professional about other health, medical, and financial concerns, because rest assured these are not all of them. ASK QUESTIONS, BE CURIOUS, RESEARCH, TALK.
Pregnancy does a lot to change the body, physically and hormonally. There will be a lot of physical and mental strain that can affect you especially if you are physically or mentally impaired, as pregnancy can warp and intensify your issues. This strain and change can cause harm to you and your eventual child. So can medications, or your pregnancy can alter their effects, so be mindful of them. There will be financial burden to consider, as well. You will need a lot of outside support.
Oh, and on the note of sex: Yes, you should have sex while pregnant, most specifically sex from who got you pregnant. The differences are small, however, having the sperm of the biological parent ingested either vaginally or orally tends to improve fetal health and survival rates, due to your body adjusting to your partner’s DNA and not trying to assault the developing fetus. This is theoretically especially true if you’re having a boy. Also, vaginal and uterine contractions also ease cramping, discomfort, and stress, and some say the motion of sex “rocks” the fetus to sleep (if it is at a certain stage of development and beyond). The vulva and vagina are highly sensitive at this time and so sex is very pleasurable, though the nipples may be too sensitive to mess with. As a final note, those same contractions can also encourage birth if you’re near to term or overdue. Most pregnant people do not like sex during the first trimester because of all the sickness and the like, however after the second begins you should be good to go. Many people say they think their partners are exceptionally sexy and arousing when they are pregnant, so don’t worry about being “too fat” or “hideous”.
That being said, once you have those things considered, there are things to consider in regards to the rest of this decision: Keep or adopt?
If you are (thinking about) keeping the eventual child, take note of these things:
- Am I ready for a child? Am I mature enough to raise a child? Am I physically capable of raising a child? Is my partner? Do I have good stress and emotion management skills? Do I know how to properly discipline the young and underdeveloped? Does my partner? (This is for first-time parents.)
- What issues will I face due to my and/or my partner’s physical and/or mental impairments? Will I/we/they be able to cope, financially and emotionally?
- What is my home situation like? Is there a stable environment for this child?
- Will the child be special needs in some way, what physical and mental risks does my family have? Will I have the finances to support this child, even if they are perfectly healthy?
- Will I be able to give this child adequate attention? How will the child affect my work and/or schooling?
- Is there a school nearby? Will schooling be an issue? Do I have good educational skills in case of my child needing help with schoolwork? Am I prepared for issues such as bullying, acting out, and sex education?
- Am I prepared in case of multiples (twins, triplets, etc)?
- Do I have all of “baby’s needs” purchased? Is my home ready for a child and baby-proof? Do I have room for the child?
- Will I be prepared in case of early death?
- Is my partner(s) going to be present? Will I be raising the child alone, or with them?
- Do I have emotional, financial, and spiritual (if necessary) support, from friends, peers, and family?
- Do I have a good amount of people I can trust with the child?
- Is there a clinic with a pediatrician or midwife service nearby?
- Will there be an issue with my animals? Are they good with children? Will they make my child sick?
- Do I risk bringing home serious illness from my job or area of schooling?
- Will I be able to breastfeed?
- Do I have a doctor with whom I can trust to give me accurate information and who I feel comfortable coming to about reproductive issues, such as my breasts and vagina?
- How will intimacy with my partner be like? Can we still make time for each other? Will the stress of a child be too much for our relationship?
- How will this affect my social life? Am I able to cope? Do I know how to balance outside and at-home life?
- Will the circumstances of the child’s conception cause a serious issue in our relationship? Am I at risk for emotional or physical abuse of the child, or by the child (once old enough)? Am I at risk at bringing home an abuser? Do I need counseling for coping and child-parent relationship skills?
- Am I in danger from my partner? Is my child? Is there anyone else who is or could be a danger to me or my child?
- Talk to family and friends with children, those who have experience with children, about child-raising including health, emotional, and financial issues, because rest assured these aren’t the only questions you need to ask yourself. ASK QUESTIONS, BE CURIOUS, RESEARCH, TALK.
Raising a child is a very serious situation. You need to know if you are adequately prepared, taking into consideration your health, social, home, risk, and financial situation, as well as your partner’s (if present). Do not be afraid to ask for help; it takes a village, remember!
Now I wouldn’t be an intactivist if I didn’t point out: Please do not circumcise your child unless there is dire medical need, please do not alter their genitalia in any way, no matter what “social issues” the doctor says there “will be”. Your child was born healthy, and regardless of what’s down there, if it functions it doesn’t need to be “fixed”. Do not circumcise your girl or boy, do not have a sex change, do not “reduce” or “correct” their genitalia. You want them to have a healthy sex life without problems and self-esteem issues? Don’t teach them from the start that their body is not theirs and that their natural body is wrong!
But what if you are considering putting the child up for adoption?:
- Am I truly willing to give up my child? Can I handle the change? Am I mentally/emotionally healthy and mature enough to give up the child?
- What agencies or foster systems are there here? Do I agree with their regulations? Will they take adequate care of my child and place them in a loving home? Do they have a good record? Can I review their success and commendations?
- Will I be able to meet and judge the potential parents or foster parents? Can I choose a friend or family member instead, if desired? Is it possible for me to be active in pushing my child ahead to assure they find a good home?
- Would I be able to recover my child should I change my mind? Will I still have the right to see my child?
- Do I want my child to have regular visits, to be in contact with me, or do I want to be totally out of their life?
- Is this really the best thing for my child and myself and/or my partner?
- Will I be able to access their records if need be? Is this important to me? What parental rights do I want to retain? Is it possible to obtain these rights?
- What parental rights will I be suspending or even fully releasing? Am I okay with this?
- Can I handle the possibility of my child never finding a home?
- Talk with social workers and related officials and those with experience in this area to find out what your rights are, what’s possible, and what’s going on in the system. ASK QUESTIONS, BE CURIOUS, RESEARCH, TALK.
I don’t have a lot of experience with the adoption and foster care system, but I know these are some things people should look into as a start kit. Definitely ask around and research, help is always available.
And so, those things out of the way, let’s now talk about abortion.
Abortion isn’t an easy thing, unlike most anti-choice idiots think. Abortion has things you need to think about just like the other two options.
First off, I will tell you about some things you need to know about abortion:
- There are generally two types; ones that induce miscarriage, and ones that are invasive. There is a third type, the infamous “partial birth”, which is an inducing of labour that happens late in pregnancy but still too early from the birthdate for the fetus to have much a chance to live. Either way, this last type is reserved for emergencies only as a general rule, regardless of laws.
- The first type is often referred to with the “abortion pill”, however there are various ways in which one can induce miscarriage. The risks of this type typically are similar to contraception risks as this method relies on hormones and body chemistry to cause pregnancy rejection. This type is done early in the pregnancy when the pregnancy is most susceptible to being terminated by such an alteration. Later on, it’s more resilient to changing environment. It’s the same line of thought as why stress and puberty has often caused miscarriage in humans and other animals.
- The second type is the one the one people most often think about. It’s termed “invasive” because this type is when a doctor goes in through the vagina and destroys the uterine lining and/or fetus. This is typically NOT done in the early stages of pregnancy because of the risks it contains. For one, it weakens the cervix; if one has repeated invasive abortions, one can possibly be unable to carry to term due to the weakened cervix making the uterus unable to hold the developing fetus. There is also risk of harming the uterus which may make future pregnancies difficult if serious enough.
- That being said, there is oft-touted emotional/mental risks with abortion. Well, these risks are not actually what anti-choice people make them out to be.
- PTSD is what people typically say happens with abortion, but in reality it only happens, if at all, if the abortion was forced, typically in situation A in which a complicated pregnancy required termination and situation B in which the person in question was in danger from others and threatened into abortion. Clearly these are both horrible situations and cause a lot of grief and heartbreak on the person.
- Mental complications are more likely to happen the later a person terminates. This isn’t because of “regret” or whatever bullshit the anti-choice side says, but because the sudden change from being pregnant to not being pregnant is, well, a sudden change on the body. This not only includes abortion but also miscarriage and birth. Circumstances and a person’s typical mental health plays a lot into how these events affect a person. As such, it’s easier to have abortions or miscarriages happen earlier because your body has not been so settled into the hormonal, physical, and chemical state of pregnancy, and so the change isn’t so shocking to your body. Your body and mind are in tune with each other, and so when something rocks the world of one of them, it will affect the other.
- That being said, if you have serious mental issues, please do consider termination as early as possible. Even little changes can be quite an assault on the already-dysfunctional mind. Getting pregnant was bad enough for your brain, whatever you decide to do after will be horrible.
- There is “fourth option”, which is emergency contraception. This is a type of contraception which either kills a zygote (the first stage of development), prevents sperm from uniting with the egg, makes it impossible to implant into the uterus, or otherwise makes the female reproductive system currently inhospitable for pregnancy. Regular contraception can also make it hard for a zygote to survive by reducing the uterine lining and thus technically “starving” the zygote. These, again, come with the usual complications of contraception, due to the usage of hormones and body chemistry alterations. Many consider this an abortion, but actually without lasting implantation you’re not technically pregnant, thus this is not a “true” miscarriage.
So that’s a very quick glossing over on abortion. Those complications sound scary, but, they are actually quite rare. Recent studies have found abortion is safer than giving birth, so long as it is done by trained professionals in clean settings.
Even with that in mind, you still have many things to think about when it comes to (thinking about) deciding on abortion:
- How far into the pregnancy am I? When is the earliest I can terminate?
- Is termination legal where I am? What laws must I contend with?
- What mental and physical issues do I have that can affect how the termination goes and how it will affect me? Am I physically and mentally capable of terminating a pregnancy?
- Am I prepared for possible complications? Am I able to deal with the worst?
- Is my partner okay with my termination? How can I make them okay with it? Is this a deal-breaker for us? How will this affect our relationship?
- Do I have the finances for the type of termination I will need and the additional costs that may arise?
- Do I have financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual (if necessary) support? (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THIS OPTION ESPECIALLY.)
- Do I have a doctor I can trust to give me accurate information and who I am comfortable with discussing this topic and reproductive issues that may result?
- Is there a counseling clinic nearby? Am I comfortable with and do I trust my emergency counselor?
- Am I able to withstand the possible criticism and social backlash I will receive for terminating my pregnancy? Is my partner? How will this affect our relationship?
- For what reasons would I like to terminate my pregnancy? Am I okay with these reasons? Do I feel comfortable terminating my pregnancy, and do I really want to? Will I regret it or dislike myself for this? Am I really the one making the decision, or is someone else deciding for me?
- If I am terminating because of complications, do I have adequate counseling and support for coping with my decision and my loss?
- Do I trust my abortionist? Do they have a good success record? Is the hospital or clinic prepared in case of emergency? Do I trust the hospital or clinic?
- Talk with doctors, abortionists, nurses, counselors, and other medical professionals about health, legal, and financial issues that may arise. ASK QUESTIONS, BE CURIOUS, RESEARCH, TALK.
I can NOT emphasize how much, like adoption, you need to research this one. Very very very important! But also important, as I pointed out, is support. You need to know you have friends because this is the decision with the worst rap and you don’t want people making you feel like an asshole even when you had no choice.
But no matter what you choose, don’t let people make you feel bad for it. None of these three options is free from stigma. There are a million different situations and stories, and jerks will always find a way to try and shake you in each one. This is a very hard decision and you can’t afford to let the disgusting behaviour of other people to influence you into the wrong choice or give you more problems than you can manage. Be strong and resolute, and have plenty of support.
This the advice and these are the starter kits I give you. Use them well and don’t forget to branch out beyond. Ask questions, be curious, research, and talk.
 Here’s a useful link: Resources and Decision-Making Tools for Low-Income Parenting.