An unplanned pregnancy can make your life feel like a whirlwind. Your mind floods with questions and doubts. You try to work through how this could have happened and why. You want to run or hide or wish it away. You can’t believe this is happening. But before long, that adrenaline-fueled panic gives way to reflection and rational thinking as you start evaluating the realities of your situation and deciding where to turn next.
This five-step plan can help you come to terms with your unplanned pregnancy and create a roadmap to a future that is filled with promise.
Step 1: Confirm You are Pregnant
You may think you’re pregnant, and you may well be right, but nothing is for sure until you get a medical pregnancy test followed by an obstetrical ultrasound. Even the best home pregnancy tests can be wrong. Medical pregnancy tests are administered by a healthcare professional. If the test result comes back positive, they will then perform an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy is viable. In Gainesville, Sira offers free and confidential medical pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, so you’ll know for certain.
Step 2: Talk with People Who Care About You
If you have a positive relationship with the baby’s father, you will likely want to tell him about the pregnancy first, or at least early on. Just be sure you feel safe having that conversation with him. Perhaps it will lead to building a loving family. Your parents are likely another set of people to tell. While it’s not always easy to do, you may find your parents will be your biggest allies. Close friends can also be valuable for listening to your hopes and concerns. Or you may find it helpful to talk with a completely neutral third party like a local pregnancy counselor.
Step 3: Get Prenatal Medical Care
Pregnancy impacts nearly every system in your body. Regular, ongoing prenatal medical care is critical to ensure the health of both the mother and baby. And the earlier you start, the better. Your first visit allows the doctor to evaluate your overall health and identify any risk factors that could negatively impact your pregnancy. Follow up visits will continually monitor your well-being and the health of your growing baby. If you don’t already have a healthcare provider, community resources may be available to you.
Step 4: Explore Your Pregnancy Options
You likely have more options than you realize, starting with raising the child yourself. Community programs make it easier than ever for you to raise your child, no matter your circumstances. Many high schools, colleges and universities have special programs to help young mothers graduate. Community organizations offer resources ranging from childcare to job placement to help with household bills. If raising the baby yourself is out of the question, adoption is a beautiful way to ensure your baby grows up in a loving home. Depending on the adoption plan you select, you can even choose to still play a role in your baby’s life as she grows up.
Step 5: Choose What’s Best for You and Your Baby
While you are ultimately responsible for giving your baby the best life possible – whether that is with you or with a family eager to welcome your child into their home, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Besides family and friends, there are many caring people in our community who dedicate their lives to supporting women like you in situations like this. They can connect you with the resources, groups and programs you need to build a wonderful future for you and your baby.
In Gainesville, Sira offers a wide variety of services for women dealing with unplanned pregnancies. From testing to counseling to resources, we’re here to offer compassionate assistance, or as we like to say, “help for today, hope for tomorrow.” If you could use some of either, contact Sira today at 352-377-4947.