Unplanned Pregnancy? Process Your Decision Using a Free Guided Tool

The second line of the pregnancy test darkens. You take a second and a third test, just to make sure. Both present the same result. This wasn’t the plan, and you certainly do not feel prepared to have a baby. A million thoughts swirl in your mind and you may be thinking, “What in the world should I do?”

Everyone reacts differently to an unexpected pregnancy, but you need to know you’re not alone. First, breathe. Statistics show that as many as half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned, if not more. While this statistic might not make it any easier if it’s happening to you, allow space for your emotions, and remember that other people have walked in your shoes. There are people who want to support you and have been right where you are. 

Making a Pregnancy Decision

Many women feel confident in how they will respond to an unplanned pregnancy. Some are determined to find a way to make it work as a mom, no matter the obstacles ahead of them. Others feel convinced an abortion decision will serve them best. However, most women feel conflicted or are somewhere in the middle. 

Maybe I could have a baby, but I don’t feel ready. 

I don’t have enough money; I’m still in school. It would change everything. 

I always wanted to have kids, just not now. I could always have another baby later. 

It’s just such a bad time. But what if I could make it work? 

If you’re somewhere in the middle, torn regarding what you want to do, it may help to use a guided decision tool to assess your thoughts and feelings regarding the big decision in front of you. Below you will find a series of questions to help you process what options are available to you, what you are thinking, what you may need and why. It may help to get a pen and paper to keep track of your answers. 

Taking some time to pause and reflect will allow you to make a decision in clarity and peace. If you would like to go through this tool with someone who will support you and talk through this with you, schedule your appointment at Clearway Clinic today. 

Step 1: Identify the decision you feel you need to make.

  1. Adoption 
  2. Abortion 
  3. Parenting 
  4. I don’t know 

Which one of these options feels like the decision you have to make at this moment? Write it down. 

Step 2: Consider, when do you need to make your decision? 

  1. No idea
  2. Today
  3. This week
  4. This month

Many people facing unplanned pregnancies feel pressure to make an immediate decision. This pressure may come from an external source (sexual partner, boyfriend, family members, social pressures, etc.) or an internal source (self-expectations, insecurity, fear, interference with life plans, etc.). 

You may have just found out that you are pregnant today. It’s important to determine how much time you have to make a decision. It is wise to not make an impulsive decision. Give yourself the space to think. If you are considering abortion, you need to know what options are available to you depending on the gestational age of your pregnancy. If you don’t know the gestational age of your pregnancy, you’ll need to have that confirmed via obstetric ultrasound. (We provide this service at Clearway Clinic free of charge.) 

Once you know how much time you have to decide (whether that be a few days or a few weeks), you can fit your decision into the given time frame. Significant decisions are best made once they have been well-considered and you are well-informed. 

Step 3: Consider who matters to you in your decision-making process. 

Everyone has different people whose opinions matter in their life. Now, this question is NOT referring to your neighbor across the hall and how they might judge you if you’re pregnant, or your boss at work and if they will treat you differently once they know. This section is for the people close to you, who love you and play a meaningful role in your life. Does their input matter to you? 

Make a list of the top three people whose insights you would value. Include the following: 

  • Their name 
  • Their relationship to you 
  • How you think they will feel about your pregnancy 
  • What you think they will want you to do 
  • Have you told them about the pregnancy?
  • How much does their opinion matter to you? (on a scale of 1 to 5) 

After considering these, ask yourself, whose opinion is THE most important to you? If they are important to you and you have not confided in them yet, it might be wise to do so. If they love you, they will be there for you and help you through this time in your life. If the person is your parent(s), we often find that those conversations go much better than you think they will. They may surprise you. 

Step 4: How do you like to make decisions? 

Do you prefer to make decisions on your own, with family, or with someone else? 

These considerations might feel strange at the moment, but consider your future. Once this decision has been made, is there any possibility you would look back and wish you had included them? Maybe yes, maybe no. Still, giving it consideration (even if you never end up sharing with them) will help you sort out your thoughts. 

Step 5: Now is your chance to consider your own feelings. 

Think about the answers to the following questions: 

  • What does your head say?
  • What does your heart say?
  • What does your belief system say? 
  • Which one of these are you listening to right now?  

Maybe it feels odd to consider all these things. Why does it matter? Shouldn’t you just do what you are feeling at the moment? While feelings definitely matter, thinking holistically about this decision and considering all these things will equip you to make this decision more confidently and consciously. If you’re feeling conflicted, this step can help you discern where that confliction is coming from. 

Step 6: Learn about available resources.

Many women decide how they are going to respond to their unplanned pregnancy based on external circumstances in their life. You might feel ill-prepared financially or relationally. Addressing those circumstances can help empower you to make a confident decision. Remember: circumstances can (and often do) change, and there is help available to you. 

Take a moment and consider, which of these areas would you like to see improved in your life? 

  • Finances 
  • Housing
  • Job 
  • Education
  • Transportation 
  • Spiritual Health
  • Emotional Health 
  • Relational Health 

How would you like to see these improve? What other circumstances would you like to see change in your life? 

Whatever the area, we have good news. There are resources designed to support you! Below are some general ideas, but you can also schedule a resource appointment with one of our patient advocates. They will talk with you through your specific needs and help get you connected to the right resources for you. 

Material Support 

  • Bethany Food Pantry: Located in Agawam, Bethany’s Food Pantry is open Mondays & Fridays from 12:30-2PM. 
  • First Baptist Church: Located in Amherst, First Baptist also has a food pantry open every Wednesday from 2-4PM, as well as offering free ESL classes every Wednesday at 9:30AM. 
  • Bethlehem House: Located in Easthampton, Bethlehem House offers free pregnancy resources and baby supplies to women who need them. 
  • SheMight: An online platform with dozens of articles offering tips on budgeting, career, and financial planning related to pregnancy. 

Housing & Employment Support

  •  WayFinders: Offers various targeted services that help people stay stably housed including building and managing affordable housing, employment support, and resident engagement. 
  • Christina’s House: With locations in Springfield and Hampden, Christina’s House provides transitional housing for women and children in the Greater Springfield area. 
  • Visitation House: Located in Worcester, Visitation House provides transitional housing for women in the Central Massachusetts area. 
  • Westover Job Corps: Provides free career training for eligible young adults to equip them for career readiness.

Education Support

  • The Care Center: Located in Holyoke, the Care Center helps young mothers and low-income women go to college through a variety of educational programs.
  • Framingham ESL: Over the years, this program has provided free English language instruction and life skills training to over 6,000 immigrants in the Framingham area. 
  • The Gray House: Located in Springfield, the Gray House offers support for migrants including Adult Education programs, kids club programs, and food assistance.  

And these organizations just scratch the surface! If you feel disempowered in this pregnancy, like you just can’t do this, you’re not the only one who has ever felt that way. Still, there are programs in place designed to support you. You might just find that you can do this, and you’re stronger than you thought you were.

Step 7: Identify your thoughts and assess the pros and cons of the following options.

In light of all the information you just worked through, take the time to write down your thoughts on the options available to you. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Write down exactly how you are feeling and what you are thinking.

  1. Adoption: What are the cons when thinking of adoption; what would be some pros?
  2. Abortion: What would be a pro for this choice; what would be some negatives to having an abortion?
  3. Parenting: What are the negative aspects of having a baby, and what are some of the positives you can think of?
  4. Wait a Week to Decide: What would be a negative about giving yourself a week to make this decision, and what would be the benefit to waiting this time?

Now that you have walked through this decision tool, what is your next step? Did you just find out about this pregnancy, or have you been worried for a while? If you have a trusted person to help you through this decision, that’s great.

If you don’t, Clearway Clinic provides a safe space to receive information on all your pregnancy options. We also will provide you with some very necessary medical information that can help you make your decision and all of our services are free of charge. Schedule your appointment today. We’re here for you!

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