Dr Shawn Higgins has worked as an OB/GYN for over 20 years and gives the following advice in this blog article for those facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Dr. Shawn Higgins: “Working as an OB/GYN consultant for more than two decades has meant that I have met with all sorts of women, from different walks of life, for whom their pregnancies meant different things.”
“I have seen planned pregnancies, which went perfectly according to plan, and unplanned pregnancies that have been huge game-changers. Additionally, these days because of contraception and careers, women are far more likely to try to time the entrance of a little one into their life to suit other aspects of their lives. However, unplanned pregnancies happen all the time, so being better equipped to deal with this situation psychologically will hopefully help you make the best decision for the rest of your life.”
If you have just discovered that you are pregnant, and you hadn’t planned it, then you need to accept that you are in shock, with feelings ranging from being thrilled and delirious to being negative and confused. This is a phase that you should try to accept, and then wait for the most intense emotions that have surfaced to subside, after a few days.
Allow yourself to experience the rollercoaster of emotions, accepting them and letting them come and go, as they will. Be aware of feelings that trigger actual physical reactions in you, pay special attention to those ones. Write down these emotions in a private notebook, so that after a few days or so, you can reference them and feel which are now true and which seem less important.
Although it may be challenging, try to put aside outside issues, such as a job, education, and family opinions, and tune into whatever is in your gut — your gut feeling. Write this down privately also.
If you are in a committed relationship, there may be conflicts about your news. Do remember that your partner is most likely in shock too, so be sure to give everything a little bit of time to settle down. Every time a strong gut feeling arises, focus on it, be truthful with yourself, and if possible, write it down.
Everyone has visions of how their life would be if they could attain the best; a life that they feel is close to perfection. Don’t be afraid of evaluating these visions, but also know that not everyone accomplishes their perfect vision of life. When you’re ready talk to your partner about his/her visions, and see if you have some middle ground or not.
Even women who have planned pregnancies in what appears to be the perfect situation, in terms of health, relationship and money, go through fears of not being a good enough Mom. On top of that, other fears, which are normal, are what if your child has a birth defect or you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of giving birth. Remember that we can’t control all aspects of our lives, and as you move through this process, be honest about what your gut feeling is really telling you: this is your true, personal psychology for dealing with your unplanned pregnancy.
Talk to those around you whom you know to be non-judgmental, supportive and balanced. This type of support is so important.
Once you feel you have had time to go through some of this process, then it may help to clarify all of the feelings. You can begin by speaking with a non-judgmental professional, someone who is also going to be a neutral person in your life.
At the Pregnancy Resource Center you will receive non-judgmental support and encouragement. We are here to provide free services, but also to sit, listen, talk, cry and help you figure out your next steps.