There are three options available to you:

guide

What’s Right for Me?

Whatever you decide to do about your pregnancy, the most important thing is that the decision is yours.

This guide was designed to help you to think about some of the feelings and reactions you might be having. If possible, give yourself time and space to go through the guide without rushing. The following resources have been developed to help you decide which option is best for you given your unique situation.

Printable version of this guide (PDF file, 191K)

 

A Guide to Making the Right Decision for You

Perhaps you planned to get pregnant because you wanted to have a baby, and that is still what you want most at this time. If so, you will probably decide to continue the pregnancy and become a parent. If that is no longer what you want, or if you didn’t intend to get pregnant in the first place, you can start by looking more closely at how you feel about being pregnant. An unintended pregnancy can arouse many different feelings. In fact, most women find they have mixed or conflicted feelings.

For example, you might feel:

  • worried about being able to care for a baby;
  • afraid you’ll have to give up other things that are important to you; or
  • concerned about how other people may react.

At the same time, you might also feel:

  • happy to learn that you can get pregnant;
  • pleased to have the opportunity to have a baby; or
  • excited by a new and unique event in your life.

Write down a list of the different feelings you have right now about being pregnant. (When you can’t think of any more, go on to the next section. Later, if you think of other feelings, you can add them to your list.)

Here are some good questions to ask yourself about your life right now and your future:

  • What are two or three things that matter most to me in my life right now?
  • What are two or three things that I hope to have or achieve in the next five or ten years?

In order to have or achieve those things:

  • How would becoming a parent help?
  • How would adoption help?
  • How would abortion help?

What would I lose or give up right now:

  • If I become a parent?
  • If I arrange for an adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

What would I lose or give up in the next five or ten years:

  • If I become a parent?
  • If I arrange for an adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

How much money would it probably cost me:

  • If I become a parent?
  • If I arrange for an adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

How would other people who matter to me (such as my partner, parents, friends) react:

  • If I become a parent?
  • If I arrange for an adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

Up to this point, you’ve been looking at the possible effects of different decisions on your plans and dreams. Now look at your thoughts, values, and beliefs about your situation and the different choices.

Following are some statements people often make. Write down the ones that fit for you, and any other thoughts you have.

CHOICE: Becoming A Parent

  • I feel ready to take on the tasks of being a parent.
  • Some people have said they will help me.
  • I want a child more than I want anything else.
  • My partner and I both want to have a baby.
  • I think I am too young (or too old) to have a baby.
  • I don’t believe I can manage this by myself.
  • I don’t have enough money to raise a child properly.
  • Having a child now would stop me from having the life I want for myself.
  • Having a child will cause problems for the children I already have.

CHOICE: Arranging for an Adoption

  • I could continue the pregnancy and give birth, without having to raise the child.
  • I could help the child have parents who want it and can care for it.
  • I could postpone being a parent myself until later in my life when I feel ready.
  • I like the idea of giving someone else the baby they can’t create themselves.
  • My family would rather have the baby stay in the family than go to strangers.
  • I don’t think I could give up the baby after nine months of pregnancy and delivery.
  • I would not like living with the idea of someone else caring for my baby.
  • I would worry about whether the baby was being well treated.

CHOICE: Having an Abortion

  • I would like to postpone being a parent until I am able to provide for a child (older, finished school, more financially secure, in a stable relationship).
  • I don’t want to be a single parent.
  • My partner doesn’t want a baby, and I want to consider his feelings.
  • An abortion is a safe and sensible way to take care of an unwanted pregnancy.
  • My religious beliefs are against abortion.
  • I am afraid I might not be able to get pregnant again.
  • My family (or someone else that is important to me) opposes abortion.
  • I don’t have enough money right now to pay for an abortion.

If you – like so many women – have mixed feelings about being pregnant and about each of the choices open to you, making a decision can feel scary and difficult. In making your decision, it is helpful to know your feelings, name them, and look at them. To figure out how you are feeling right now, try to finish each of these sentences.

The idea of becoming a parent makes me feel …

because …

The idea of arranging for an adoption makes me feel …

because …

The idea of having an abortion makes me feel …

because …

Now that you have explored your choices, and clarified your feelings and values about your choices, you may be ready to make a decision. Since you probably have conflicting feelings about each choice, you may find that whatever decision you make won’t feel like the “perfect” decision. It is natural to continue to have some mixed feelings. Ask yourself, “Can I handle those feelings?”

If your answer is “Yes,” you are ready to act on your decision. If you cannot decide, you may need to get more information about your choices or talk with someone you trust – not to decide for you, but to help you decide what you think will be best for you. That person could be a:

  • parent or other family member;
  • teacher or religious counselor;
  • close friend or partner who cares about you; or
  • counselor in a social service or family planning agency.

The questions in this guide might help you and that person discuss your choices.

Even without knowing how far along your pregnancy is, we must emphasize the importance of deciding soon. If you decide to continue the pregnancy, it is important to begin prenatal care early so you and your baby are healthy. If you decide on abortion, the earlier you obtain it, the safer it will be.

No one can predict the future. No one can be certain what all of the consequences of any choice may be. What you can do, however, is carefully consider your plans, your values, and your feelings, and then make the best decision you can at the time.

Wanted and Planned Pregnancies

Sometimes a pregnancy is deeply wanted by a woman but there is something wrong that may lead her to decide to end the pregnancy. This may be quite a different experience from a woman terminating an unwanted pregnancy and may pose distinct challenges.

Problems with a pregnancy may include:

  • Danger to the woman’s health or her life
    • serious or potentially lethal health complications for the woman
    • development of a complication during pregnancy
  • Fetal anomaly
    • identified risk of a genetic birth defect or anomaly in the fetus

Women experience these complications and decisions about ending the pregnancy in various ways. They may feel a wide range of emotions including grief, anger, isolation, self-blame, depression, or hopelessness. Every woman facing this situation is in a unique position and deserves to have her unique emotional needs met.

Life or Health Endangerment

If continuing your pregnancy endangers your life or health, you may find that your health care provider has requirements for your care. Please call the NAF Hotline referral line 1-877-257-0012 for assistance finding a provider (no funding assistance provided on this line). For information about abortion and other resources, including financial assistance, please call 1-800-772-9100.

Fetal Anomaly

If you learn that something is seriously or fatally wrong with your developing fetus, you are faced with making a difficult decision. If you choose to have an abortion, please call the NAF Hotline referral line 1-877-257-0012 for assistance finding a provider (no funding assistance provided on this line). For information about abortion and other resources, including financial assistance, please call 1-800-772-9100.

For More Information

Ending a Wanted Pregnancy is an organization designed to address the needs of people ending wanted and planned pregnancies due to fetal anomaly and life endangerment.