What if I’m Pregnant?’
“The condom broke. I know how stupid that sounds. Its the reproductive version of the dog ate my homework.”
― Jennifer Weiner, Little Earthquakes
Pregnancy. It happens. Whether you are trying to get pregnant, or it is completely unexpected, it seems that Mother Nature doesn’t always consider your viewpoint.
Contrary to what Representative Todd Akin recently said about ‘a woman’s body blocking an unwanted pregnancy’, women can become pregnant as long as they are fertile. Period. This is science, not conjecture. His comments infer that somehow the woman’s egg has a brain of its own, and is able to swim backward in avoidance of those unwanted sperm.
So, what do you do? Fortunately, despite the raging controversy about birth control and the negative climate of politics regarding women’s issues at the moment, you do still have choices.
Many women are thrilled to learn they are pregnant. Some who may have been taken by surprise at the news eventually warm to the idea. Yet others, finding themselves in a situation from which they don’t see a clear path, want more information.
What are some of the choices available to Women?
Carrying the baby to term and raising the child. If this is your choice, you will need to arrange for excellent pre-natal care during your pregnancy. A healthful diet, proper exercise, and regular checkups by an obstetrician are important to increase your chances of a trouble free pregnancy and delivery, and a healthy baby. Whether you were trying to conceive or not, the responsibility for that small human will be yours – until he or she is grown. As anyone who has raised teenagers can attest – this is no small feat. It will hold for you much joy, lots of worry along the way, and some understandable frustration. It can also bring hardship – it isn’t easy or cheap to financially provide for a child. However, many parents would do it all over again in a moment, given the opportunity.
Adoption. In days past, adoption had a negative connection to the less than ideal conditions in orphanages. Even as recently as the 70’s and 80’s, adoptions were almost all ‘closed’, meaning that the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parents didn’t know one another. All that has changed. Adoption programs are now often a collaborative process between the birth mother (and sometimes father) and prospective chosen parents. Birth parents can review the stories of prospects, meet them, and be proactive in their choice of the best possible outcome for their child. It is even encouraged that they stay in contact with the child throughout his or her life, if that is what they wish to do.
The benefit to the adopted child is huge. One agency, Adoption Choices of Northern California, provides one-on-one counseling for birth parents to help them make the right choices for them and their baby. Pre-natal care and even therapy are offered, to support birth parents in a dignified and compassionate manner. Adoptive parents are offered a way to be involved in the decision making process, and are encouraged to have open and honest communications with the birth parents. In this way, everyone benefits. Their success rate is very high, due largely to the respectful and caring process developed by their administration. Citizens for Choice refers all prospective adoptions to this agency through Women’s Health Specialists of Northern California.
Emergency Contraception. If you have had recent unprotected sex (or, as in the quote above, the condom breaks) you may be able to use the ‘morning after pill’. See our blog http://www.citizensforchoice.org/the-morning-after-pill-how-emergency-contraception-works/ about emergency contraception. This pill may be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex and can prevent pregnancy from occurring.
Termination. For some women, abortion is the right choice. There can be as many valid reasons for this as there are women. It is normal to have some ambivalence about this procedure, therefore talking with someone who will give you the facts, not pressure you to make a decision based on their values or opinions, is important. This may be the right decision for you, in your life circumstances, at this time. If so, finding a clinic that respects your decision and your dignity is critical.
If you are unsure which choice is right for you, Citizens for Choice offers unbiased, compassionate education and information, pregnancy testing with same day results, access to emergency contraception, counseling and exams. Ultimately, the choice to have a child or not rests with you. And, be very happy that it doesn’t rest with Mr. Akin, who clearly needs a remedial sex-ed class.