Discovering you have an unwanted pregnancy can be a huge shock, and it’s important to take some time to consider the options available to you before making a decision.
The most important person in the decision-making process is the pregnant woman, and if this is you, you’re probably experiencing a lot of conflicting, confusing emotions. This is normal and most women go through it, but it’s also why it’s important to consider your options carefully: parenting (keeping the baby), adoption or abortion.
If you’re facing an unwanted pregnancy but trying to decide whether parenting is the right option for you, draw up a list of the advantages and disadvantages of having a child right now. Consider your values and feelings about raising a child, and what you want for your life and for the life of your family (or future family). Think about the following:
- Am I ready to help a child feel wanted and loved?
- Can I afford to have a child?
- Am I ready to cope with a tighter budget, less time for myself, and more stress?
- Do I have the support of family and friends?
- Am I ready to accept responsibility for all my child’s needs?
- Would I prefer to have a child at another time?
- Is anyone pressuring me to continue with or end the pregnancy?
- What would it mean for my future and my family’s future if I had a child now?
- How important is it to me what other people will think about my decision?
- Can I handle the experience of pregnancy and raising a child?
If there is any chance that you will continue your pregnancy (this includes the adoption option), you should begin prenatal care as soon as possible. You’ll need a medical exam early into your pregnancy and regularly throughout it to make sure you’re healthy and the pregnancy is normal.
If you do not want to be a parent but you don’t want an abortion, you can choose to give birth and let someone else raise your child. This is known as adoption, and you choose to have an open adoption (biological parents and adoptive parents know each other’s identities) or a closed one. Women choose adoption because they care about themselves and their families/future families, and don’t want an unwanted pregnancy to upend their lives.
If you are considering this route, you need to find out as much about adoption as possible so you can make an informed decision. It is a permanent, legal agreement in which you agree to place your child in the care of another person or family. You will not be able to have your child back at a later time.
The most common reasons a woman chooses adoption are:
- She isn’t ready to be a parent.
- She cannot afford to raise a baby.
- She feels that raising a baby now would make it too difficult to work or go to school.
- She doesn’t want to be a single parent.
- She feels too young or too immature to raise a child.
- She believes adoption is the best chance for her child to be well cared for financially and emotionally.
This is a safe, legal option for you if you don’t want to continue with the pregnancy. Like the other options, abortion is a very personal decision, and if you’re trying to decide whether it’s right for you, you may find it helpful to learn about the types of abortion procedures and how exactly they work. Learn more about abortion here, and ask yourself:
- Am I well informed about abortion procedures and their risks?
- Am I being pressured by anyone into having an abortion?
- Have I discussed abortion with a person who has been through the experience?
Where can I have a safe abortion?
Marie Stopes offers safe, legal abortions for women who are facing unwanted pregnancy, and who are no more than 20 weeks pregnant. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy (gestation), we have two services available: the Marie Stopes medical abortion (the abortion pill) and the Marie Stopes procedure (a minor, same-day treatment).
Both are very effective, and the right one for you may depend on how far your pregnancy has advanced, your general health, any medical conditions you may have, and personal preference. The earlier your visit to confirm your pregnancy, the more likely both options will be available to you. Remember that it’s crucial to listen carefully to the nurse’s instructions and to follow all aftercare procedures she advises.
Whatever your decision, Marie Stopes South Africa offers judgment-free information and consultation on the options available to you. Call our client services centre on 0800 11 77 85 for help or to make a booking. You can also book an appointment online.