When a woman experiences an unplanned pregnancy, a floodgate of emotions opens up. Nervousness and worry are common feelings to have. You may ask yourself all sorts of important questions like, “Am I ready for this? What do I do now? Do I want to do this? What are my options?” If you are pregnant, you have three options: parenting, adoption, or abortion. What do you want to do? Do you want to parent, create an adoption plan, or have an abortion? Each decision carries its own set of unique results and will determine your next steps. Talking to a counselor may help you to sort out your thoughts and emotions and to think through each option.

Parenting. A decision to carry a pregnancy to term and raise the child. Many women would like to parent but they may have concerns about how to make that happen. Parenting may seem daunting because it involves assuming responsibility for the physical, emotional, financial, and educational development and care of the child until she becomes an adult. You will have many decisions to make but you do not have to make them all at once or alone. You and your partner may choose to parent together, co-parent or you may parent alone. A professional counselor can assist in developing a plan, provide access to community resources and answer your questions.

Adoption. A decision to carry the pregnancy to term and to make an adoption plan involves relinquishing parental rights after the delivery. Women who choose adoption often do not feel ready or equipped financially and/or emotionally to parent their child. You may choose the level of your involvement in the child’s life that you prefer. There are several types of adoption to choose from that offer varying levels of contact, or no contact, with the child after birth. These options include: open (usually an on-going relationship), semi-open (usually letters and photos exchanged) and closed (no communication). A professional counselor can explain the different options, answer your questions and help you to develop an adoption plan.

Abortion. A decision to terminate or abort a pregnancy involves the use of either medication or a surgical procedure. Which abortion method depends on how far along the pregnancy has progressed. Abortion is the end or termination of a pregnancy, usually prior to 24 weeks of gestation. There are two types of abortions: medication only (non-surgical) and surgical. Surgical abortions are more safely performed by OB/GYNs (or other medical personnel certified to perform abortions) in a licensed medical facility. Women end their pregnancies for many reasons including personal circumstances, health risks, or a high chance of genetic or physical abnormalities in the baby. A professional counselor or medical professional can answer your questions and provide accurate health information and education about the abortion procedure(s) available to you, including any possible health risks.

With many factors to consider when deciding which option is best for you, it can be a very uncertain time in your life. Understanding and evaluating the pros and cons of each option requires time, space and support. Everyone will have an opinion on what to do, and coming to a decision regarding your pregnancy can be both emotional and stressful. You might be feeling alone and want to process your thoughts and feelings with someone who won’t judge you and who will be objective. You don’t have to face this alone.