Two pink lines.
Two pink lines and your life is forever changed. You may be asking, “I’m pregnant, now what?” The question can, and most likely will, bring a wave of different emotions. It’s common to feel a sense of panic, fear or urgency. However, this is the best time to slow down and take a moment to truly understand all the options available. Take a deep breath and process this new chapter of life. You’ve got this.
There is support available that can provide a sense of hope and relief amid this uncertainty. Considering resources that can help make the decision easier will lead to less of a chance of regret later.
So, I'm Pregnant. Now What?
This can all be very overwhelming (to say the least!). Any decision made from this point forward will have a significant impact on your life, so take the time you need to evaluate the reality of the situation and the positive future it can bring. If able, confide in someone – the father, your parents or pastor, a friend – anyone who provides comfort and trust.
Additionally, consider visiting a pregnancy medical clinic. Not only can they provide confidential counsel and a friendly ear, but they will also be able to show exactly what is happening in your body through an ultrasound. This can help you better understand where the pregnancy is currently at to make the most informed decision.
Understand Where You're At
Another key step is dating your pregnancy, so you know how far along you are. To do this, answer these questions:
- Today’s date:
- First day of your last menstrual period:
- How many weeks it has been since then:
Gestational age is a term used by healthcare professionals to calculate the due date, which is 40 weeks (about nine months) from the first day of your last period. Once you know the gestational age, you’ll be able to recognize how far in development your child is to best decide the next steps.
Whichever stage you’re at in your pregnancy, your child has already begun developing lifelong traits and features. At conception, eye and hair color, intricate fingerprints, gender, height, physical appearance, and more are determined. The heart is formed by five weeks of pregnancy and begins beating 100-120 times per minute. The foundation of each organ system is established and developing, and the baby is beginning to learn your voice and heartbeat while still in the womb. They are starting to smile regularly (as a result of contentment in such a stress-free environment), as well as yawn, cry and blink.
Consider the Choices
Because any choice will have a significant and lifelong impact, consider the pros and cons of each to decide what’s best for you and your baby:
Parenthood is an incredible and life-changing event. Though 88 percent of new moms share that they didn’t feel prepared for parenting, most feel it was one of the best choices they could make. Because so many women feel the same way, there are more and more parenting resources available to support and guide moms before and after birth.
Embrace Grace, a ministry founded by Amy Ford (who faced an unexpected pregnancy as a teenager), comes alongside women through support groups and provides a loving community for them. My Choice Network is another wonderful resource to connect women with pregnancy medical clinics that can help expecting mothers with free healthcare: ultrasounds, pregnancy verification, parenting classes, diapers, prenatal vitamins, food and more. Focus on the Family can also provide parenting assistance and resources through relevant articles and broadcasts.
The adoption option is a choice made by mothers who want to provide their child with a fulfilling life they feel they may not be able to give. This can be due to finances, other children, relationship instability, an abusive environment, age or something else entirely. There are diverse options when it comes to adoption: closed, open or semi-open. Each can ease specific fears that may come with being a birth mother, ranging from full contact (knowing names, addresses and having visits) to no contact information exchange at all.
Hear more about the details of adoption from the perspective of a birth mother who chose it herself.
I'm Pregnant, Now What? Helpful Videos:
Depending on the gestational age, there are two different abortion procedures. The abortion pill is a process that causes heavy cramping and bleeding to induce miscarriage and can be taken up to 10 weeks. Surgical abortion typically takes place after ten weeks and is split into two categories: vacuum aspiration and D&E (dilation and evacuation). Vacuum aspiration is a procedure where a tube with a syringe or suction machine is inserted into the uterus, inducing labor/delivery. In D&E, a lethal injection is administered to the fetal heart, then is similarly removed via medical tools. Physical and/or psychological abortion complications accompany over 40 percent of procedures, and almost half of women regret their decision afterward. So, abortion is an option that, though typically presented as the path of least resistance, has lifelong challenges as the other choices do and should be considered just as much of a commitment.
As you take your time considering each option and next steps, there are things that can be done in the meantime. Remember that your body is and will be going through a lot in the next few months, so it’s important to stay healthy and take diligent care of yourself. This includes things like:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Drinking eight or more glasses of water daily
- Taking prenatal vitamins
- Scheduling a doctor’s appointment
- Getting light, regular exercise
- Stopping drug and alcohol usage (if you have a tough time quitting, your doctor may have helpful tools)
Taking care of your and your baby’s body early in the pregnancy will lead to their best start in life and a healthier pregnancy overall.
“I’m pregnant, now what?” probably isn’t what you were expecting to ask yourself. All of these decisions could be overwhelming if this was unexpected. Take everything one step at a time and rest in knowing you aren’t alone. Everything will be okay. Though the world may feel upside down right now, this pregnancy is simply making a way for a new, beautiful chapter to come together. Change is scary, but it’s where we can grow and become who we are meant to be. It’s not easy. But it’s possible.
You are a strong woman who can make this strong choice.