Unsure about your pregnancy? A Guide to Making the Right Decision for You


1 Unsure about your pregnancy? A Guide To Making The Right Decision For You

2 e prepared this booklet for the W many women, teen and adult, who become pregnant and find it hard to make a decision about what to do. The ideas in this booklet are based on our experience counseling thousands of w omen. This booklet, like counseling, does not encourage you to make any particular decision. Rather, it offers ideas that have been helpful to other women as they struggled to make the decision that was right for them. Each person reading this is facing her wn special situation.Yet we have found o that each woman also has some things in common with others who are facing the same decision. We hope you will use these ideas to help you become clear about your own thoughts and feelings. ...what do? do I

3 How Do You Feel First, Y ou Are About Being P regnant? Pregnant? When you suspect that you are pregnant, your first step is to get a pregnancy test. If you use a home kit, erhaps you planned to get pregnant because you P ou should still have the pregnancy confirmed with a y wanted to have a baby, and that is still what you want physical exam by a health care provider. most at this time. If so, you will probably decide on If you find out that you are not pregnant — and if you Choice A — continuing the pregnancy and becoming really don’t want to be pregnant now — this may be the a parent. If that is no longer what you want, or if you time to obtain a dependable method of birth control. 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 If you are pregnant, arouse many different feelings. In fact, most women you have three basic choices: ind they have mixed or conflicting feelings. f Choice A: Continue the pregnancy and become a parent. For example, you might feel: Choice B: Continue the pregnancy and arrange for orried about being able to manage a baby, ·W an adoption, either within your family or Afraid you’ll have to give up other things that are · through an agency. important to you, or Choice C: End the pregnancy now Concerned about how other people may react. · by having an abortion. At the same time, you might also feel: The rest of the booklet asks Happy to learn that you can get pregnant, · questions to help you clarify · Pleased to have the opportunity to have a baby, or our feelings about being pregnant, ·Y · Excited by a new and unique event in your life. our plans and dreams for the near future, and ·Y In the following space, list the different feelings you our thoughts, values, or beliefs about ·Y have right now about being pregnant. (When you each of your options. can’t think of any more, go on to the next section. Later, if you think of other feelings, you can add them This guide also gives ideas about to your list.) Where you can obtain more information and help, and · · How to go about deciding which option to choose.

4 What our Y Are What would I lose or give up right now: And If I become a parent? Plans Dreams? If I arrange for an adoption? Here are some good questions to ask yourself about y our life right now and your future: If I have an abortion? What are two or three things that matter What would I lose or give up in the next most to me in my life right now? five or ten years: If I become a parent? If I arrange for an adoption? If I have an abortion? What are two or three things that I hope to have or achieve in the next five or ten years? How much money could it cost me: If I become a parent? If I arrange for an adoption? If I have an abortion? In order to have or achieve those things, How would becoming a parent help? How would other people who matter (such as my partner, parents, friends) react: If I become a parent? How would adoption help? If I arrange for an adoption? How would abortion help? If I have an abortion?

5 our Y Are What Values? Do Believe? You What Up to this point, you’ve been looking at the possible Choice B: Arranging For An Adoption effects of different decisions on your plans and __ I could continue the pregnancy and give birth, dreams. Now look at your thoughts, values, and beliefs without having to raise the child. about your situation and the different choices. __ I could help the child have parents who want it Following are some statements people often make. and can care for it. Check the ones that fit for you, and write in other thoughts you have. __ I could postpone being a parent myself until later in my life when I feel ready. Choice A: Becoming A Parent __ I like the idea of giving someone else the baby they can’t create themselves. __ I feel ready to take on the tasks of being a parent. __ My family would rather have the baby stay in the __ Some people have said they will help me. family than be raised by strangers. __ I want a child more than I want anything else. __ I don’t think I could give up the baby after nine __ My partner and I both want to have a baby. months of pregnancy and delivery. __ I think I am too young (or too old) to have a baby. __ I would not like living with the idea of someone else caring for my baby. __ I don’t believe I can manage this by myself. __ I would worry about whether the baby was being __ I don’t have enough money to raise a child properly. w ell treated. __ Having a child now would stop me from having Other : the life I want for myself. __ Having a child will cause problems for the children I already have. Other :

6 Choice C: 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 who is important to me) opposes abortion. __ I don’t have enough money right now to pay for an abortion. Other :

7 Your Summing Up Feelings y ou may find that whatever decision you make won’t If you — like so many women — have mixed feelings f eel like the “perfect” decision. It is natural to continue about being pregnant and about each of the choices to have some mixed feelings. Ask yourself, “Can I open to you, making a decision can feel scary and handle those feelings?” difficult. In making your decision, it is helpful to know y our feelings, to name them, and to look at them. To If your answer is “Yes,” you are ready to act on your show how you are feeling right now, try to finish each decision. If you cannot decide, you may need to get of these sentences. more information about your choices or talk with someone you trust — not to decide for you, but to The idea of becoming a parent makes me feel help you decide what you think will be best for you. because That person could be a: ·P arent or other family member, ·T eacher or religious counselor, Close friend or partner who cares about you, · The idea of arranging for an adoption makes me feel Counselor in a social service or family planning · because agency such as Planned Parenthood. The questions in this booklet 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 The idea of having an abortion makes me feel soon. If you decide to continue the pregnancy, it is because important to begin prenatal care early so you and our baby are healthy. If you decide on abortion, the y 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 con- Now that you have explored your choices and sider your plans, your values, and your feelings, and clarified your feelings and values about the choices, then make the best decision you can at the time. y ou may be ready to make a decision. Since you probably have conflicting feelings about each choice,

8 Do You More Need ? Information There may be things you need to find out before you can make a decision. If so, you can get more facts about each of your choices from places like the f ollowing. Either call with your questions, or ask them to send you information. Adoption agencies and abortion clinics in your · area are listed in the yellow pages of your tele- phone book. (If an agency tells you that abortion is unsafe or immoral, that is a clue that they are not interested in helping you make your own decision; call the National Abortion Federation’s hotline at (800) 772-9100 for the name of an agency that will give you accurate information and non-judgmental assistance.) our state or local department of social services, ·Y family planning clinics, and many physicians have information about adoption, prenatal care, delivery, and parenting. · The National Abortion Federation’s toll-free, confidential hotline has facts about pregnancy and abortion and can refer you to qualified medical professionals near you (800-772-9100).You can also visit the NAF website at http://www.prochoice.org. Note: If you are teenager considering abortion, some states say you can make that decision on your own, but others require teens to involve a parent or close family member. If you have questions about your state, call the National Abortion Federation’s toll-free hotline at (800) 772-9100.

9 © Copyright 2001 National Abortion Federation Written by: Te rr y Beresford For Information About Abortion Call the toll-free, confidential NAF hotline (800)772-9100 or visit our website at http://www.prochoice.org.

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