My Options

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If you're experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you're likely thinking about the options available to you and considering what your next steps might be. It may feel like you have to make your decision right away, when in fact, you don't. The first decision you have to make regarding your pregnancy is whether or not you will choose to continue with the pregnancy or terminate the pregnancy through abortion.

Making the decision to terminate a pregnancy is difficult and emotional and should never be made lightly. Make sure, when researching this option, you consider your situation realistically. Often, women will choose to terminate a pregnancy because they believe they will be unsupported during and after their pregnancy or they don't feel they can parent their child. It's important to consider these motivations carefully. Often, fear drives us to make rash decisions before we fully consider the long reaching implications. Talk to your partner, your family and your friends and find out how they feel, you may be surprised and their willingness to support you during this difficult time, even if they've seemed unsupportive in the past.

Parenting your child is typically the first reaction to an unplanned pregnancy. One of the first questions you likely asked yourself is, "can I provide for a child on my own?" and while the answers may seem overwhelming, it's important to remember that you didn't get here alone. Talk to the other parent and discuss your options together. In addition to support from the other parent, there are also State and Federal programs designed to help families in need. Programs such as WIC, Medicaid and Food Stamps allow you to provide for the needs of your child while programs such as Section 8 allow you to obtain affordable housing while you get on your feet.

Most importantly, remember that your options go beyond termination and parenting. If you decide that you can't parent, for financial reasons or reasons surrounding your personal situation, remember that you have other options.

If you've made the decision to continue your pregnancy or you're still considering termination because you are unsure about your ability to parent your child, there are other options you can consider, such as adoption.

Adoption is the legal process in which you terminate your parental rights after the birth of your child and the rights to parent are then legally assigned to a family who has passed background screening and are approved to adopt a child in their state. If you're considering adoption as an option for your unplanned pregnancy, the first step you'll want to take is finding an ethical adoption professional to work with who can guide you through the process while advising you of your legal rights and responsibilities. Often, adoption professionals also offer counseling and support at no cost. This additional support will help you understand the decision you're making as well as cope with the emotional issues you may face going forward.

Keep in mind, this child has two parents and while you may or may not be involved with the father of your unborn child, he has all of the same rights and responsibilities that you do, including the right to parent the child if he so wishes. State laws vary, but every state requires that both parents terminate their parental rights before an adoption can take place, either willingly or by publication or Putative Father Registry. Involving the father early on allows him to gain access to the same type of support and counseling, which will assist him in making an informed an educated decision.

Remember, what you choose to do now is your decision. Having the support of family and friends is important, however weigh their opinions carefully. You have the right to do what you feel is best for you and your unborn child. If you're still unsure about what you want to do, talk to someone about all of your options. There are professionals out there who want to help you make a fully informed decision regarding your future and the future of your unborn child. You're not alone.

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