Healthy lives for young people
Pregnancy

Abortion: Making a decision

If you are unsure about whether or not to continue with your pregnancy this page might help. It includes questions that might help clarify your feelings, as well as places you can go to talk and get support with your decisions.

If you are pregnant you have three basic choices:

CHOICE A: go through with the pregnancy and become a parent.
CHOICE B: go through with the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption.
CHOICE C: end the pregnancy now by having an abortion.

How do you feel about being pregnant?

Perhaps you planned to get pregnant because you wanted to have a baby, and that is still what you want most at this time. If so, you will probably decide on Choice A – continuing the pregnancy and keeping the baby.

If that is no longer what you want, or if you didn’t intend to get pregnant in the first place, you can start by looking more closely at how you feel about being pregnant. An unintended pregnancy can arouse many different feelings. In fact, most women find they have mixed or conflicting feelings.

For example, you might feel:

  • Worried about being able to manage a baby
  • Afraid you’ll have to give up other things that are important to you
  • Concerned about how other people may react

At the same time you may also feel:

  • Happy to learn that you can get pregnant
  • Pleased to have the opportunity to have a baby
  • Excited by a new and unique event in your life

It might help to list the different feelings you have right now about being pregnant. (When you can’t think of any more, go on to the next section. Later, if you think of other feelings, you can add them to your list).

What are your plans and dreams?

Here are some good questions to ask yourself about your life right now and about your future:

  • What are two or three things that matter most to me in my life right now?
  • What are two or three things that I hope to have or achieve in the next five to ten years?

In order to achieve those things:

  • How would having a baby help?
  • How would adoption help?
  • How would abortion help?

What would I lose or give up right now:

  • If I have a baby?
  • If I place the baby for adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

How would other people who matter to me react?

(such as partner, parents, friends)

  • If I have the baby?
  • If I place the baby for adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

What are your values, what do you believe?

Up to this point, you’ve been looking at the possible effects of different decisions on your plans and dreams. Now look at your thoughts, values, and beliefs about your situation and the different choices.

Following are some statements people often make. Check the ones that fit for you, and write in other thoughts you have.

CHOICE A: having a baby and keeping it

  • I feel ready to take on the tasks of being a parent
  • Some people have said they will help me
  • I want a child more than I want anything else
  • My partner and I both want to have a baby
  • I think I am too young (or too old) to have a baby
  • I don’t believe I can manage to raise a child properly
  • Having a child now would stop me from having the life I want for myself
  • I don’t feel ready to take on the tasks of being a parent

CHOICE B: having a baby and putting it up for adoption

  • I could continue the pregnancy and give birth, without having to raise the child
  • I could help the child have parents who want it and can care for it
  • I could postpone being a parent myself until later in my life when I feel ready
  • I like the idea of giving someone else the baby they can’t create themselves
  • I don’t think I could give up the baby after nine months of pregnancy and delivery
  • I would not like living with the idea that someone else has my baby
  • I would worry about whether the baby was being well treated. My family would rather have the baby stay in the family than go to strangers

CHOICE C: having an abortion

  • I would like to postpone being a parent until my situation is better (older, finished school, more financially secure, in a stable relationship)
  • I don’t want to be a single parent
  • My partner doesn’t want a baby, and I want to consider his feelings
  • An abortion is a safe and sensible way to take care of an unwanted pregnancy
  • My religious beliefs are against abortion
  • I would not like living with the idea that someone else has my baby
  • I’m afraid I might not be able to get pregnant again
  • My family (or someone else who is important to me) opposes abortion

Mixed feelings?

If you – like so many women – have mixed feelings about being pregnant and about each of the choices open to you, making a decision can feel scary and difficult. In making your decision, it is helpful to know your feelings, to name them, and to look at them. To show how you are feeling right now, try to finish each of these sentences.

  • The idea of having a baby makes me feel…………………….because………………………..
  • The idea of placing a baby for adoption makes me feel ………………..because………..
  • The idea of having an abortion makes me feel……………because………………………….

Now that you have explored your choices, obtained more information, and clarified your feelings and values about the choices, you may be ready to make a decision. Since you probably have conflicting feelings about each choice, you may find that whatever decision you make won’t feel like the “perfect” decision. It is natural to continue to have some mixed feelings. Ask yourself, “Can I handle those feelings?” If your answer is “Yes,” you are ready to act on your decision.

Nobody can predict the future

No one can be certain what all of the consequences of any choice may be. What you can do, however, is carefully consider your plans, your values, and your feelings, and then make the best decision you can at the time.

If you cannot decide, you may need to get more information about your choices or talk with someone you trust- not to decide for you, but to help you decide what you think will be best for you. That person could be a:

  • Parent or other family member
  • Close friend or partner who cares about you
  • Professional in a health service or young people’s service

Reprinted and adapted with permission from the National Abortion Federation, www.prochoice.org. Information taken from Unsure About Your Pregnancy? (copyright 1992).

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