'I'm so scared': Unintended pregnancy is more common than most think, but help is available

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

This can't be right." "What will my family think?" "I'm so scared."

Those are just a few of the first thoughts experienced by women who discover they're pregnant when they least expected it. The Village Family Service Center and LSSND work together to regularly support and counsel women beginning this unexpected journey

Unintended pregnancies – defined either as a pregnancy that is mis-timed, unplanned or unwanted at the time of conception – are a lot more common than most might think. Although unintended pregnancies are at an all-time low in the United States, they still represent 45 percent of the 6 million pregnancies in the United States each year, according to the Brookings Institution.

Every year, millions of women, married and unmarried, young and not so young, are getting an outcome — pregnancy — that they didn’t plan on.

It's important to note that not all unplanned pregnancies are unwelcome. For some, they are simply a surprise.

But for others, this discovery can be frightening and overwhelming. This is reflected in the initial reactions reported by women who learned of their unplanned pregnancy:

  • “How could I get pregnant?”

  • “I wanted to wait a few years.”

  • “What will my partner / family think?”

  • “I won’t be a good parent.”

  • “I'm embarrassed that I didn’t plan for this.”

  • “I’m ashamed.”

Women of all ages, races, religions and marital status have experienced an unintended pregnancy.

One adoption website lists 30 reasons why women choose to place their child for adoption. Some initial thoughts and concerns women have are: 

  • I'm not ready to be a mother.

  • I can't afford a child right now.

  • I can't provide a positive, safe, stable home for a baby right now.

  • I'm too young.

  • My family is already complete.

  • I'm going through some serious personal challenges right now, which will affect my ability to parent.

  • I want my baby to grow up in a two-parent home.

  • I don't have any friends or family around to provide support.

  • I don't have anything to do with the baby's father and do not want a lifetime connection with him.

  • I don't want to put my whole future on hold.

  • I want the best for this baby and I know I can't give her that right now.

Whether you have a large or small support system, you may still feel alone and anxious throughout your pregnancy.

The competent and knowledgeable social workers in the LSSND/Village pregnancy program can help you explore your thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential setting.

We would love to assist you in discovering your options and creating a safe plan for you and your child.

Learn more by going to https://www.thevillagefamily.org/content/adoption-services

–Compiled by McKenzie Sivertson, adoption social worker and family therapist

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