I'm pregnant: what now?
If you haven't planned for a baby, discovering you are pregnant can be a scary time. TheSite talks you through your options.
No choice may feel completely right - just what's best given your circumstances. You need to act quickly, in order to keep all your options open, and may find it helpful to talk it over with a number of people you feel you can trust. Discuss it with your partner, your doctor, local Brook Advisory Centre, or your parent/s or carer.
Keeping the baby
Raising a child is a challenge. It involves compromise at every stage. It's financially demanding and could well leave you feeling permanently frazzled. But then it can also be hugely rewarding, and something you wouldn't change for the world.
Of course, only being a parent can reveal what it's really like, but asking lots of questions beforehand will give you some idea of how well you might cope with parenthood:
- Do you feel ready for a child, and prepared to make a lifelong commitment as a parent?
- What role will the child's father play?
- How will you support yourself and your baby?
- Where will you live?
- What kind of support network do you have?
- What are the implications for your education and/or career?
- Counselling will be provided, to be sure that you're happy with the situation and aware of any future implications once the child has been adopted. The agency itself can't guarantee that your child is brought up in exactly the way that you wish, but it will always put the child's welfare first when choosing a suitable family.
- You can wait for a suitable family before agreeing to an adoption, or transfer your parental rights to the agency who will find a home on your behalf. Once a family has been found, they can then apply for their own adoption order.
- Neither birth parent has the right to see their child after she or he has been adopted, although the child can get in touch with them after the age of 18. Even so, some adoptive families feel it is healthy for the child to be aware of their origins, and may consent to some contact.
Abortion is a deeply personal issue, based on what feels right for the individual involved. Whatever your outlook or situation right now, it's worth getting to grips with the facts about what's involved, plus advice on dealing with the impact on your body and mind. Abortion is legal in England, Scotland and Wales until 24 weeks, and there is no limit if there are foetal abnormalities or risk to the mother's life. This law does not apply to Northern Ireland and Ireland.
If you are considering having an abortion, contact your GP or local GUM clinic who can refer you to the nearest abortion service. If you want to talk through your decision, ring Brook or FPA who can offer impartial sympathetic advice. Be wary of services claiming to be independent abortion counselling services. They can sometimes have an alternative anti-abortion agenda and pressure you into keeping the baby. Remember this is no-one else's decision but yours but don't feel you have to make it alone.
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