Coming to Terms with an Unplanned Pregnancy

Every person is going to have their own definition of “dealing with” unplanned pregnancy. That all depends on the goals they have for the pregnancy. Your version of dealing with unexpected pregnancy may be:

  • Processing shock and understanding your feelings
  • Deciding whether you want to parent, abort, or place the baby for adoption
  • Finding a way to view the unplanned pregnancy as a positive thing

Below, we’ll try to help you understand what you’re looking for when you feel like you need help with how to cope with unplanned pregnancy, and offer tips for coping with an unplanned pregnancy based on what you’re hoping to achieve.

Step 1: Establish What Coping with Unexpected Pregnancy Means in Your Situation

For some, coming to terms with unplanned pregnancy simply means processing the initial shock of unexpected pregnancy and working through the complex, conflicting emotions they’re experiencing. Their immediate concern is dealing with news of unplanned pregnancy, because they know that once they process their feelings, they will know how they want to move forward.

Others are still in shock, and aren’t sure how to react to an unplanned pregnancy. They aren’t sure what they feel right now, so their goal is to understand their own unexpected pregnancy emotions.

Some consider effectively dealing with unplanned pregnancy to be making a decision about their next steps. When they’re looking into how to handle unplanned pregnancy, their main goal is to learn about their three pregnancy options, so they can decide whether they want to raise this baby, abort the pregnancy, or place this baby for adoption.

Then, there are many people who see accepting an unplanned pregnancy as the first step in feeling the way they want to feel in regards to the pregnancy. They want to know how to get excited about an unplanned pregnancy, because they feel that their only option is to raise this child. For them, the goal is finding joy in an unplanned pregnancy.

No matter what your goal currently is in your effort to learn how to cope with unwanted pregnancy, we hope this guide will help you find what you need. Let’s keep moving forward.

Step 2: Identify What You’re Feeling Right Now

Finding out that you’re pregnant when you weren’t planning on it brings up a lot of emotions. No matter what you’re feeling (or even if you’re not sure what you’re feeling right now!), just remember that there are no “wrong” feelings.

Sometimes, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, women feel a mixture of emotions, which can include:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Worry
  • Uncertainty
  • Guilt

To make matters even more complicated, you may be feeling many conflicting emotions all at the same time. It’s normal to feel things like happiness and sadness at the same time right now, although that doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it’s important that you treat your own feelings with kindness: Many women feel guilty that they aren’t happy or aren’t sure how to feel happy about an unplanned pregnancy or see it as a “blessing in disguise.”

Take some time to try to name what you’re feeling, and don’t be ashamed if some of those feelings aren’t positive. Understanding what you feel and why you might be feeling this way can help you in dealing with unwanted pregnancy.

Step 3: Make a Plan

Any time a woman is pregnant, she has three options:

You may already have a strong inclination toward one of these paths, or you might not be sure at this point. Take some time to learn about each option, and reflect on which path might be best in your situation. There is no “right” or “wrong” choice in how to deal with unwanted pregnancy. There is only the right option for you.

However you decide how to handle an unplanned pregnancy, you’ll need to make a plan based on the path you choose. Learn more about next steps for each of those three options here.

Step 4: Speak to an Unplanned Pregnancy Counselor

Unplanned pregnancy counseling can help you learn how to accept an unwanted pregnancy in several different ways. When you contact an unplanned pregnancy counselor, you have access to:

  • Information about your options
  • Emotional support
  • Referrals to relevant professionals
  • And more

Speaking with a counselor is always a good way to learn how to cope with unexpected pregnancy. No matter what your goal is for this pregnancy, a counselor can help you process your feelings and move forward in the direction you desire.

Learn more about receiving counseling as a tactic of coping with unplanned pregnancy here.

Step 5: Create a Support System

What do you need right now? Someone to listen to you without judgment? Someone to help you consider your options? Physical, emotional, or financial assistance?

The people you include in your support system to help you with these things might include:

  • The father of the baby
  • Trusted friends
  • Family members
  • A therapist or counselor
  • Professionals who assist with parenting, abortion or adoption options (listed below)

Whoever you feel can help you figure out how to respond to unexpected pregnancy, and whom you trust to do so without judgment or pressure, is a good person to include in your support system. As you find ways of emotionally dealing with unwanted pregnancy as well as how to tackle unwanted pregnancy, these people will be there for you to lean on.

Step 6: Contact a Professional

Part of how to handle an unplanned pregnancy is putting your plan into action. So, whether you need resources to help you parent, referrals to nearby abortion providers, or information about how to place your baby for adoption, we encourage you to reach out to the professionals of your choice sooner rather than later. These professionals may be able to help:

  • Women’s health clinics – Professionals like Planned Parenthood offer many different family-planning services as well as information about all three of your options.
  • Counselors – A counselor can be especially helpful if you don’t feel comfortable talking to people in your life about your pregnancy, or aren’t sure how to feel about your unplanned pregnancy.
  • Your doctor – In addition to confirming your pregnancy, your doctor might be able to give you advice or refer you to people who can. If you are considering adoption or parenting your child, talk to your doctor about prenatal care.
  • Adoption agencies – Adoption agencies are staffed by social workers who can inform you about not just the adoption process but all of your options.

We know this is an overwhelming time for you, but the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy is to reach out for help and support!