Making a Decision

Conflicting feelings are sometimes hard to sort out. They can depend on a lot of factors, such as personality, age and the relationship of the people involved.

Some people are happy to learn they are fertile, but unhappy to discover it at this point in their lives. Others are heartened by the symbol of love and commitment the pregnancy represent, but disheartened by the circumstances in which they may find themselves. They may find themselves wondering about the potentiality of a child: its sex, its health, and its appearance. Some couples feel angry and fearful of the changes the pregnancy may bring to their lives and blame one another for sexual risk taking. For others, guilt is a heavy burden because of how abortion is perceived or, sometimes, because they feel that they have let themselves or others down by becoming pregnant. Others may be angry at society, parents, or partners for denying them access to birth control or sexual information.

Perhaps for some the predominant feeling is fear of an unfamiliar medical procedure or the possible pain involved in abortion or childbirth. Some women feel their bodies have taken biological revenge against them despite the most careful contraceptive use. Others are dismayed to learn that they erroneously trusted their medical advisors who told them they were infertile or had reached menopause. A few women must tackle deep and complex feelings because their pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. The feelings can be as varied as the women who become pregnant.

Ambivalence may be a prevailing feeling when all the complexities of the situation are considered. It is very important, however, to explore and resolve these feelings carefully before making a decision to terminate or continue apregnancy.

Seek out a good listener if you are having conflicting feelings about what to do. You might choose a good friend, a relative, a religious leader, or a trained counselor. Make sure this person is objective, has your welfare in mind, and holds no personal bias for or against any particular situation. This should help lessen the pressure on you to make a particular decision.

Then talk your ideas over with persons you care about who are involved in your life and the pregnancy, such as your partner, husband, parents, or friends. Talk through all the alternatives: childbirth or abortion, parenting or adoption. Seek factual information from the appropriate social service or health care agencies about the options you are considering and the available financial resources for each. Then, you may wish to make a list of the pros and cons of the various alternatives. Gathering information and talking candidly about your feelings can help you make a wise and careful decision.