Hey, boo. How are you feeling? You okay?
Being pregnant is complicated. Even when it’s the ideal time to start a family, pregnancy is still something entirely new and scary. Never mind for someone who’s life is *not* set up and ready for this life changing moment.
Your mind might be flip-flopping back and forth. Schedule an abortion appointment. Cancel. Maybe I can make it work somehow. No, I can’t do it. Order abortion pills online. Put them away in the cupboard. Take them out again… and more than anything, you just wish this pregnancy had never happened in the first place.
If you are feeling indecisive, you’re not the only one. You may look on social media and see one person saying her abortion empowered her and was the best decision she ever made. Then you scroll down and see someone else living their best life as a single mom, enjoying every second of it. Both seem so confident in their decisions, so… right. And you feel like a misfit. Should you be confident? Should you just know what to do? Why don’t you know?
Making decisions is not easy. This blog is meant to encourage you as you explore your pregnancy options. Unexpected or unwanted circumstances can feel discouraging in the moment, but never stop believing that your story can have a positive and empowering outcome. You can own your story.
We know everyone’s story is different. You may even read this article and feel like none of it resonates with you. That’s okay. You’re not obligated to feel any particular way about your situation. Allow for your feelings, but also know that your feelings don’t have to define you. You can make empowered choices based on good information. We hope this article offers you one possible positive point of view, but know that there are many other ways to work through your circumstances.
Okay, are you ready? Then let’s get started.
We All have Our Own Stories
Have you ever seen the movie Look Both Ways? If you haven’t, maybe skip this paragraph (because spoilers). If you have, you know it’s the story of a girl who has a one-night stand right before graduating college. She takes a pregnancy test, and as she waits for the results, the movie splits into telling two different stories from that point on. One story follows her path if the pregnancy test was positive, and the other if it was negative. With the positive pregnancy test, she keeps the baby and moves back home with her parents. With the negative test, she moves to LA to follow her dreams. The movie “looks both ways” and shows how her life could have turned out with either reality. And guess what? Both stories are super different. Both come with challenges. Both are messy. But you know what else? Both stories are super beautiful too. In both stories, she has career breakthroughs and success, in different ways and at different times. In both stories, she experiences loving relationships. As the movie ends, we see both versions of her future self telling her past self that it’s going to turn out okay.
The beautiful truth of Look Both Ways is that even the most chaotic, unplanned moments of our stories can turn out to be okay. Paige Bautz is a caregiver coach who once had to make a difficult decision about her own unintended pregnancy. She went back and forth, unsure what she wanted. Paige concluded that either decision would be hard.
She decided to continue her pregnancy, but making her decision didn’t make the “hard” go away. She says, “Honestly, I have days when I really struggle and I wish I wasn’t a parent. Or I get mad at the person who got me pregnant. But if I had gone through the termination, I would have probably had days when I would have thought, ‘I regret my abortion. She would be like this many years old now. And she would be like doing this.’ So I feel like either way, it’s hard. Whatever decision you choose is hard” (1).
You might be thinking, Well great, so no matter what, it’s hard. This is not very encouraging!
In one sense, it’s true that life gets hard in one way or another. Yet it’s equally true that beauty and joy will come again even when life doesn’t go as planned. As you are facing your pregnancy decision, you might wish you just never got pregnant in the first place. But that can’t change. This moment will always be part of your story, even if you choose abortion. Some women experience emotional pain or regret after abortion; some do not. Either way, that process and experience becomes a new part of your story. Some women continue their pregnancy but never experience that sparkling, Pinterest version of single motherhood, but some do. Life changes; people may view you differently. New responsibilities come with parenting. It’ may not be easy, but it can be good.
Like Natalie from Look Both Ways, or like Paige’s real-life story, an unexpected pregnancy can change everything. So where is the encouragement we promised? The encouragement is that unplanned can be another way to say “meant-to-be.” Maybe it’s not the story you imagined, but sometimes the most beautiful things are beyond our imagination. Take steps to accept this moment–embrace it, even–for all that it is… messy, hard, shocking, new, and maybe, just maybe, beautiful too.
Resources in Massachusetts and Beyond
Now to be practical–you should also feel encouraged that Massachusetts is full of resources to help single moms and women facing unplanned pregnancies. If you feel unequipped to make it through an unplanned pregnancy and beyond, we want to empower you! Lots of other organizations in our state feel the same way. Your pregnancy decision should be a fully empowered one, with all needed resources accessible to you before you decide.
One of the biggest needs these days is safe and affordable housing. Lucky enough, we just recently wrote a blog all about that topic! See our Pregnancy Housing Guide for practical tools when searching for housing and local resources, shelters, and maternity homes.
Communities of Support
If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are not alone. Surprise pregnancies happen every day to all types of people. Thankfully, there are communities specifically designed for people in these circumstances! She Might is an online community and resource hub for women facing the unexpected. They have information on pregnancy and health, relationships, career and money, education, lifestyle, and more! She Might also offers virtual clarity coaching to help you work through your pregnancy decision. Coaching is confidential and prices are offered on a sliding scale. While She Might is virtual, Embrace Grace provides in-person support groups for single and pregnant women and single moms or dads all over the country. Search by zip code to find a support group near you.
Food & Material Resources
Various food and material resources exist for women facing unplanned pregnancies who lack sufficient resources. WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as children under the age of 5 who are nutritionally at risk. Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP) provides low-income pregnant women with access to quality health care services from the Department of Public Health. Head Start is a federal program that offers early education and care programs and services for low-income families.
Bethlehem House in Easthampton, MA, offers free material resources for pregnancy. There are also many local churches that provide food pantries. These are locations where you can access groceries and/or essential household items for free or low cost. If you are in need of baby supplies, groceries, or other essential items, call our office for information and referrals.
When facing unplanned pregnancy, many people forget about the possibility of adoption. Some people have the misconception that releasing a child for adoption means you have to place them into the foster care system, but that’s not the case. If you are pregnant, you can go through an adoption agency to choose the perfect family for your baby. You can even choose an open adoption if you would like to have continued contact with your child and their family after birth. Visit BraveLove to hear beautiful adoption stories from the birth moms’ perspectives.
Pregnancy Loss Resources
Pregnancy loss can be an emotional experience, whether that loss is from miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or abortion. Miscarriage Hurts offers an online community and a place to search for local resources if you are struggling through grief from miscarriage. ClearPast is our after-abortion care program at Clearway Clinic for those experiencing abortion-related emotional pain. We offer individual meetings, 11-week classes, and weekend retreats to walk with you through your healing journey.
If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, be encouraged. You are not alone; there is so much caring support for you. Schedule a resource appointment today to receive a customized referral list for resources near you. We can also confirm your pregnancy and offer education on all your pregnancy options. We are here for you!
Reviewed by Rebekah, MSN RN