Suspecting and confirming an unplanned pregnancy is an experience most
women will encounter during their fertile years. No contraceptive method
(other than abstinence) is 100% effective and it is estimated that each
sexually active North American woman using some form of contraception
will have an average of two unplanned pregnancies during her reproductive
years. The incidence of pregnancy increases among those using no method.
Although some women receive the news of their pregnancy with happiness,
most feel a range of emotions, from ambivalence and misgiving, to anger
and depression. Many women feel that because of their beliefs, they will
have to pursue the pregnancy, in spite of their misgivings. Most women
will contemplate their choices, difficult though they may be, and many
will choose to terminate the pregnancy. Recent statistics show that half
of Canadian women facing an unplanned pregnancy choose abortion. Abortion
may also become an option with a planned pregnancy during which the situation
changes. Social or medical reasons may force a woman to consider having
an abortion in such a case.
Women commonly feel that they have three options with a pregnancy: carrying
the pregnancy to term and keeping the child, continuing the pregnancy
and giving the child up for adoption, and terminating the pregnancy. Single
parenthood no longer carries the stigma it did a generation ago. Most
women choosing to continue their pregnancy usually opt to keep the child;
the adoption rate has gone down significantly over the past few years.
This does not mean that it is not a good option, and some young women
struggling with the moral issues of abortion while not being ready to
accept the responsibilities of motherhood choose this route.
For most women though, the choice is between continuing the pregnancy
and keeping the child, or choosing abortion. This applies equally to all
women, regardless of social and financial standing. Married women, single
women, students, working women, teenagers, mothers and grandmothers are
all likely to find themselves faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
If you have found out you are pregnant and are confused regarding your
choice, it will be important for you to work out what is making it difficult
for you to make a decision. It often helps to write down the different
options you are contemplating and list the pros and cons of each option.
This exercise usually brings clarity to the situation. But if you are
still undecided, it may help to talk it over with someone—a family
member, a friend or a counsellor.
Some questions to ask yourself
How do I feel about being pregnant?
How do I feel about becoming a parent?
What would my options give me?
What would I lose if I choose one way or the other?
What does this mean financially?
How would my choice affect my significant others?
How do my choices agree or conflict with my beliefs and values?
It may help to summarise your responses to these questions
and to write down any other thoughts that come to you. Take time to ponder
your thoughts for a few days and stay sensitive to your feelings.
A useful link
A site that can help you further in the decision-making process is