Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy When You’re Married

Woman sitting cross-legged, her head resting in her hands, as she appears distressed over a pregnancy test result

"Honey, I'm pregnant." Adding a child to your family is stressful even when you plan the pregnancy. Making the transition when a baby wasn't expected can be even tougher.

You look at the little white stick with the plus sign and wonder, How could this have happened? Of course, you knew all about the birds and the bees when you got married. But why now? How could this happen when you feel so completely unprepared?

Adding a child to your family is stressful even when you plan the pregnancy. Making the transition when a baby wasn’t part of the immediate plan can be even tougher.

Talk with your doctor. A prenatal appointment early in pregnancy helps to assure that your and your preborn child’s health will be carefully protected. Your doctor can help you understand how to reduce your stress, eat right and prepare for the coming birth – he or she has probably seen couples in your situation before.

Re-focus your thinking. Maybe your career is just getting started or you’ve already got your hands full with other children. Perhaps your financial situation will be even tighter with the addition of a new member of the family. Or maybe you and your spouse wanted a little more time with just the two of you.

Whatever the reason, remember that this is your child, conceived in love. It is a part of both of you. No matter how unexpected, a child is always a precious gift. Start to think of the good things about having a baby now: You’ll be able to avoid the stresses of “trying” to get pregnant; you won’t have to worry about the “right” time to have children; the child(ren) you already have will be able to enjoy a sibling playmate. If you start thinking of positives, soon you’ll have a long list that will help you feel more confident about the new addition to your family.

Talk to a pastor, counselor or pregnancy center staff member. Having a child is a major life change – especially when you weren’t planning for one. Seek advice from someone who can help you see beyond the early feelings of despair, anxiety and sadness and help you move toward the time when you will happily welcome your new little one.

Take your time. One of the good things about pregnancy is that it lasts nine whole months. That’s enough time for most people to make the adjustment toward a positive mindset. As you watch your body grow, feel the baby moving inside you and see her picture on the ultrasound screen, you’ll begin to love your child even before you can hold her in your arms. Don’t try to rush yourself into the adjustment. No matter how you feel before your baby is born, once you see her sweet little face and tiny little fingers and toes, your heart will melt.

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