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Pregnancy Counseling

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Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy can be a scary situation in which to find yourself. Pregnancy may be a new experience in itself, and then add the fact that it was unplanned. No matter your age, it can be stressful and overwhelming. Even so, it's crucial to remember that you have options.

Making an Informed Decision:
The best thing you could do, for both you and your child, is to make an informed decision. An informed decision means that you have studied your options, understand the consequences of each decision, analyzed your and your child's well being, and made a choice that reflects what you've learned and discovered about yourself, your situation, and your needs. Your basic options are abortion, adoption, and parenting.

If you decide to consider aborting your pregnancy, there are many things you need to research: abortion complications, procedures, and risks. You'll need to read about the types of abortion and how to prepare for the procedure. Also, keep in mind that each state has its own abortion laws and guidelines. What's legal in one state-in reference to the term of pregnancy allowed to abort-isn't legal in another. If your state disallows abortion, you may need to visit another state for the procedure. And that can take a lot of planning and patience.

Adoption is another option you may want to consider. You can place right after labor and delivery or you can wait until you're ready to place your child with an adoptive family. If adoption is a viable option for you, look into working with adoption professionals: adoption agencies, adoption lawyers, and adoption facilitators. While not all these adoption professionals are required to process and finalize an adoption, it can be to your benefit to have as many people working with you as possible.

Just because your pregnancy is unplanned doesn't mean that you can't parent your own child. Many people feel pressured by family and friends to abort or place. While that shouldn't happen, it does. Remember that this needs to be your choice. No one else should make this decision for you, because you're the one that will live with the consequences and effects for the rest of your life. If you want to try parenting, do so. You can always decide to place later if parenting isn't for you.

Pregnancy Counseling:
Pregnancy counseling is a great way to thoroughly explore your many options. You will sit with a counselor and discuss your situation in depth. S/he will ask you about your life goals, expectations, and needs. S/he will ask you want you want out of life and where you see yourself in five years, maybe even ten or fifteen. Once your counselor understands you better, s/he can start pregnancy counseling. In its basic form, pregnancy counseling is an assisted view of your options.

Gathering a Support System:
Having support is important during this process. There will be times that you feel alone, confused, or scared. These are the times when you need your friends and family members around you, helping you. If you don't have family or friends that will be your support system, you can also join a local support group for those experiencing similar situations. You'll build relationships and friendships that can help you during the tough times and celebrate with you during the happy times.

If you feel more comfortable with one-on-one interaction, you can visit with a professional counselor. S/he can help you understand yourself, your needs, and your fears. Your counselor can help you begin the emotional healing process if you decide to abort or place. Even if you decide to parent, visiting with a counselor can be useful and beneficial.

Moving Forward:
No matter which decision you make, there is always a time to move forward. This necessary forward motion is both emotional and physical in nature. Depending on your choice, you may need to devote some time to find emotional healing. Even though you made an informed decision, there will be times that will be difficult, saddening, and painful.

There are different ways to move forward. The more obvious one is to move forward with the decision you've made. However, keep in mind that you can always change your mind if it's before parental rights are severed or after an abortion procedure has been completed. You can move forward by recording your journey in a journal, speaking with a counselor, or by joining a support group.

While an unplanned pregnancy may disrupt the current movement of your life, you do have options. Throughout this process, remember that you're not alone. You have others around you who have been in similar situations and you have family and friends who love you. It may be tempting to get caught in despair or fear, but think of this as a new journey, a chance to learn more about yourself.

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