Women often experience a flood of worries, questions and conflicting emotions when coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. They may also have to contend with misinformation, discouraging advice and lack of support. In some cases, this can lead to choices they later regret. In a recent study, women shared the unanswered concerns that weighed most heavily when dealing with their unplanned pregnancies.
Concern 1: Do I have what it takes to be a good mom?
This is an especially common worry for younger women, who need encouragement to believe in their own abilities. According to one survey respondent, “Not a single person around me told me it would be ok to have the baby. No one showed any confidence in me.” The truth is, of course, that many young women are exceptional mothers, and you are likely more mom-ready than you think. If you have the capacity to love, you have the capacity to parent.
Concern 2: Are there resources to help me with day-to-day needs?
The practical aspects of having and raising a child are a big deal, particularly when you don’t have a lot of financial or logistical support. And if you’re in school, the challenges add up quickly. One respondent said, “How can I finish my degree and be a parent? Where can I live?” Another respondent added, “Daycare would have helped. Scholarships for people with crisis pregnancies would have helped.” These types of resources as well as medical, transportation, food assistance and baby supplies are often available if you just know where to look.
Concern 3: Will my parents stand by me?
It’s natural to long for support from the people you’ve always relied on most – your parents. If they’re not supportive, it can hurt. One young woman told researchers, “I did not have any support. I come from a very, very traditional family. I felt so lonesome, scared. I knew my parents would kick me out of the house, and my partner ran away.” While it’s possible your parents may not initially react as you hope when you tell them you’re pregnant, odds are they will eventually come around, and stand by your side. And even if they don’t, you may be surprised how many others in the community will indeed lift you up.
Concern 4: Will people look down on me for getting pregnant?
Cultural shame can be a major factor in shaping a woman’s feelings about an unplanned pregnancy. One survey respondent suggested, “I think we need a cultural shift in how we speak about sex and pregnancy so that women in these positions don’t feel so ostracized and shamed into trying to undo the situation without anyone knowing.” Often, the most important thing you can find at this time is an advocate who will listen without judgment. Women often find strength through talking to an impartial third-party.
If you or someone you love has questions about pregnancy or needs support with an existing pregnancy, contact Sira in Gainesville today. We provide free pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling and access to valuable community resources. Call us today at 352-377-4947.