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What to do if you become pregnant
by TeenHelp April 3rd 2016, 05:32 PM

What to do if you become pregnant
By Nicole (eumoirous)

Discovering that you are pregnant can be a very scary and overwhelming experience. Many questions may arise and it can be difficult to know which ones to deal with right away. Who do you tell first? What are your options? What will your parents think? The best thing to do is break this up into steps and tackle one thing at a time. Most importantly, remember that no matter what you decide, there are always avenues of support and you will always have options.

Telling the father
While it does not matter who you decide to tell first that you have become pregnant, telling the father of your child is very important. It is best to do so as soon as possible after you confirm that you are pregnant, as you should both work together to decide what your plan of action is. Even if you and the father are no longer together, it can still be crucial to reach out and get his support. If you don't think he will want to be involved, he still deserves to know that he has a child on the way.

In the case where you do not know who the father is, you should contact anyone who could potentially be the father and still let them know. You can decide whether to take a paternity test after the baby is born, if you and potential fathers so choose. If the pregnancy occurred because of rape, you do not have to contact the father if you do not want to. In this case, your safety and well-being is what is most important.

Telling your parents or guardians
Telling your parents or guardians can be the most nerve-wracking part of this experience. The best way to tell them is to be upfront and honest. Let them know that you need their support and, if you have figured out a plan of action, tell them what it entails to show them you are handling this maturely. It is also okay to ask for their advice if you are unsure about what your next steps should be; your parents or guardians are there to guide you. If possible, it can be a good idea to have the father present when you tell them. That way you can all have a discussion about what each person wants to have happen next, and decide what the best plan is for you. Having the father or a friend with you can ease anxiety when telling your parents as well.

Telling your friends
Telling your close friends is a great way to obtain support during this experience. They can be people you can confide in and vent to, and they can help you carefully weigh your options. You may be afraid of what they will think of you once you tell them, but if they are real friends they won't look down on you and will be there to help in any way they can. However, you also do not have to feel obligated to tell your friends if you wish to keep this private. There is no right or wrong way to tell your friends that you are pregnant, however being direct is an efficient way to communicate. Let them know how you are feeling about it, and how they can help you. If bullying at school should occur, your friends can be a great support system so you do not have to sacrifice your education.

Weighing your options
There are a lot of options for when you are pregnant, and it may be overwhelming. Ultimately, the decision should be up to you as you are the one carrying the child; however, it is also important to consider factors such as independence and financial stability.

Three of the most common options for pregnancy include:
  • Keeping your child and raising it yourself. Many people decide to keep the baby due to religious reasons, or because they have the means of taking care of the child. Some factors to consider are whether you can afford all of the expenses, whether your parents are okay with having a newborn in their home and if they are willing to help, and whether you have to change future plans such as going to college or career choices.
  • Putting your child up for adoption. This is also a valid option as many parents looking to adopt would allow you to still see your child. Often, adopting parents would also pay the medical bills when you deliver your child. Factors to consider are whether you would be able to part with your child upon delivery, and whether you would be okay with having limited visitation.
  • Abortion. Abortion laws vary by country and state, and the procedure can only be conducted early in the pregnancy. The main factors to consider are the cost and any negative psychological effects that may occur after the procedure.

Finances are definitely a big factor to consider when making your decision, and many people do not know how much raising a child actually costs. According to CNN Money, the average cost of raising a child in the United States of America up to age 18 is $245,340. Additionally, WebMD notes that prenatal care alone can cost up to $2,000. Supplies such as a crib, high chair, car seat, diapers, etc. can also be expensive.

Conflict
In many cases, what you decide to do and what the father or your parents want can be different. If this should occur, it is beneficial for you all to sit down and each have a turn to voice your concerns. You could all come up with a list of pros and cons for each option to better weigh your options. While the mother of the child should have the most say, if you are still living with your parents and are dependent on them, they should get to weigh in on the decision. For example, they may not have the funds for you to keep the child and raise it, or they may not have room in their house for another person. They may also know a couple looking to adopt that would allow you to still see your child, and so they may think adoption is the best option. Remember that you do not have to rush and make a decision right away; itís okay to take your time if you are very conflicted.

Discovering you are pregnant can be a joyful experience, but it can also create a lot of anxiety. All three options you have can be viable, and there is no choice that is better than another. What is most important is to make the choice that you feel is best for you and your baby.
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