Discovering you are pregnant when you were not expecting or planning to get pregnant can be extremely stressful. Carrying the pregnancy to term or considering an abortion can be a highly emotional decision. The internet is not always super helpful, given the highly politicised nature of this intimate dilemma!
Of course, a woman has a total and complete right to her body, and while this decision should involve or at least take into account the partner’s opinion and feelings with regards to the pregnancy, at the end of the day, it is completely the woman’s choice.
So, allow yourself the space and time to make the best decision for yourself.
Here are 5 objective questions to ask yourself before you decide to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.
1. Is Your Body Prepared For A Pregnancy?
Carrying a pregnancy to term can have a lot of health repercussions on your body. Those 9 months takes a lot of physical, emotional, and mental strength. Is your body in a healthy enough state for it? Are there any health issues that you are suffering from that could get aggravated and even endanger your life? Depending on your age, reproductive history, sexual health history, prior history of abortions or pregnancies, having another abortion or carrying a pregnancy to term can have health consequences on your body. It is important to ask your doctor all the health risks involved, especially when you were not expecting to get pregnant.
2. Do You See A Future For Your Relationship With Your Partner?
Is your relationship with your partner stable enough to move forward to this next step? Is your relationship healthy? Are you feeling pressurized by or pressuring your partner to sway the decision in either direction? Do you see yourself having children in the future? With this person? What kind of family structure do you want to raise a child in? While a child can be raised in a variety of family structures and households with love and care, these questions are a guiding light for you to figure out if the family structure you want to raise a child in would be possible for you with or without your partner. Open and frank communication is key to teasing out the answers that will help you make your decision.
Open and frank communication is key to teasing out the answers that will help you make your decision.
3. How Would This Decision Affect Your Career Goals/Financial Situation?
Having a child can seriously delay if not modify completely, your education options, career goals and financial situation, especially during an unplanned pregnancy and you were not expecting it. What are your career goals? How do you see a baby fitting into the picture? How will this change modify your goals? How do you feel about that? Furthermore, a child costs money. Are you and your partner currently in a position to afford a child? If not, are there support systems you can rely on while you become monetarily stable? Financial stability is something that can always be achieved at a later stage in life; however, being able to fulfil basic needs of your new family is something to consider before making the decision to have one. Also, having an abortion in a private facility can sometimes be expensive. This also needs to be taken into account and both partners need to discuss their contribution to the financial expenditure of the procedure.
4. Can You Rely On Support Systems For Help?
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Who is your ‘village’, your support system? Are you in a position to rely on the different people in your life, to support you in the different ways you may need – emotionally, financially, mentally and physically? Are you and your partner willing to take responsibility and this decision together, since you were not expecting pregnancy? How will your family react to this news? Who do you need to support you in making a decision, no matter what it is? Do you/your partner or your family share any religious/ moral values that would affect your decision and their support for your decision?
An unplanned pregnancy, especially in certain cultures can take a toll not only on the couple but also on their family ties.
Even in cases where you decide to have an abortion, a support system is helpful to deal with the physical and emotional repercussions. Who will accompany you to the clinic? Will you have someone to talk to after? An unplanned pregnancy, especially in certain cultures can take a toll not only on the couple but also on their family ties. In some cases revealing to your family that you are pregnant can even be life-threatening. In this case, look for the women’s support groups in your area and trust in them to help you deal with your situation.
5. Are You Ready To Be A Parent?
Most importantly, realise that parenting is a serious, lifelong commitment. It is hard work. But it can also be exciting, fun and rewarding. It helps to have a partner or a support system you can rely on to the make the journey smoother. If you are not ready to be a parent at the moment, or ever, that is okay as well. Take time to think and feel for yourself where you stand. Discuss openly with your partner and talk through all the possibilities with an open heart. Allow yourself to feel without judgment because, at the end of the day, you are the best person to make this decision for you.
Every situation is different and every decision is personal. Allow yourself the possibility to imagine either reality and trust that the decision you make will be an informed one, that is best for you at this point in your life.
Srushti Mahamuni is a Youth Champion of ASAP from Pune and is currently working with Daya Houston in Texas, which provides direct services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. You can follow her on Facebook.
Featured Image Source: Baby Center