Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy can come as a great shock regardless of your gender or age. As with any pregnancy, there can be a lot of emotions attached. Depending on the circumstance, an expecting mother may feel negative about the pregnancy. While unexpected pregnancies are not a rare occurrence, stats show that almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Unfortunately, they are also often stigmatized. Because of this, many expecting mothers in this situation feel like their pregnancy is wrong, and they feel like they must try and hide it. This can lead to emotions of guilt and shame. However, it is important to know that regardless of the circumstance surrounding the pregnancy, an expecting mother has the power to decide on their options moving forward with their pregnancy.
While some expecting mothers may feel negative emotions surrounding their pregnancy, there are many ways to help cope with this surprise. If you are struggling with feelings of guilt or embarrassment, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Accept that you are pregnant.
This is perhaps one of the hardest hurdles that expecting mothers face, especially if their pregnancy was a shock. Maybe you’ve been on the pill… maybe you’ve used protection…maybe you were told you couldn’t get pregnant… or maybe you just didn’t know that you could. Whatever the reason, admittance is the first step to overcoming any negativity that you may feel. Even if you didn’t want to get pregnant, if you acknowledge your situation, you can begin to process what your new life will be like, and decide what is best for you to do. Acceptance will help you become more confident about your pregnancy
- Seek Medical Care.
After realizing that you are pregnant, it is important to seek proper care both for yourself and your baby. Seeking the appropriate care may help you process the pregnancy. It might start to make it feel more real. Medical professions will also help connect you to valuable resources you may need throughout your pregnancy. They can also help you feel less anxiety about the new and the unknown variables of pregnancy.
- Seek Support.
Quite often during unplanned pregnancy, expecting mothers are afraid to confide in the people around them fearing that they will be judged or worse, shunned. However, despite these fears, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Try to confide in at least one family member or friend that you can express your feelings to. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, perhaps reach out to a teacher, co-worker, trusted professional, or even online support groups. While talking about your pregnancy may seem scary, it is important to help find supportive people to help you through it.
- Face Your Doubts
Regardless of whether your pregnancy is planned or not, every expecting mother will face doubts at some point in the process. Some may face doubts about their abilities, or even their choice. However, do not let these doubts overwhelm you. Be confident in your decision and also, be aware that these doubts are probably not permanent. They may be indicative of how you feel in the moment.
- Remember that Pregnancy is Personal
Everyone has a different experience with pregnancy. What works for some might be different for others. Everyone has a unique situation. Because of that, it is important to decide what will be best for you and your child. While society might try to pressure you, if you are confident in your decision then you will be able to navigate a successful outcome.
Ultimately, an unplanned pregnancy may come as shock to many people. While it may not be always easy to accept your pregnancy, it is important to remember that you have control and that it will all be okay in the end. While many new mothers might face different obstacles and emotions because of an unexpected pregnancy, there are ways to overcome negative feelings of guilt and shame.
Julianna McKenna is a college student at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana double majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She is passionate about adoption and foster care and is considering a career in adoption law or counseling. In January 2019, Julianna became an intern for Adoption Choices of Kansas, Inc. She is incredibly dedicated to promoting children’s rights and is excited to research and advocate for children.