Many women have stood in line holding a pregnancy test, whether it’s for a friend or a “friend.” It doesn’t matter who is peeing on the stick: if a pregnancy test is being bought, it’s like you can feel the panic in the air.

Once you saw that positive pregnancy test, you might have felt a surge of anxiety. It’s as if your stomach dropped to your feet and nothing in life makes sense. For the next few mornings, you wake up with the realization that it wasn’t a dream and you’re really pregnant.

Here are 7 things that no one tells you about unplanned pregnancy, and that we want you to know:

1. No one can tell you what to do next

People will give you their opinions, of course, but NO ONE can tell you how your decisions will affect your life. No matter how much Googling you do, it can’t predict your future. But if you can cut through all the noise in your ear and your head, your heart already knows which choice is best for you.

2. You’re not alone

Nearly half of women in the U.S. will have an unplanned pregnancy by the time they’re 45 (according to the Guttmacher Institute). When you take this stat into real life, the reality is that a lot of women coping with unplanned pregnancy who know the unique heartache you’re feeling.

3. It’s OK to be scared

The fact that you’re freaking right now makes you human. No matter if you’re 20, 30, or 40, an unintended pregnancy comes as a shock. It’s also okay to be sad or angry. Maybe you’re grieving a version of your life that you’re going to have to let go of. However you’re feeling when coping with unplanned pregnancy, it’s okay to feel that way. These emotions will eat you alive if you don’t allow yourself to feel them fully.

4. Anger and fear are bad decision-making tools

Try to calm down so that you can think clearly before you make a decision. Your emotions are real, but they can end up getting in the way of your thinking. Think about what the reason behind your choice is: love or fear?

5. It’s good to have a support system

If you’re thinking about adoption, a support system can hard to find. You can find one through virtual, online support, but it’ll be an important factor in moving forward. Consider talking to one of Lifetime’s peer counselors when coping with unplanned pregnancy. These are women who have been where you are right now, so they’re able to give you advice. If you’re interested in talking to a birth mom, just call us at 1-800-923-6784.

6. You’re not a statistic

It’s normal to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even disappointed in yourself. But at the end of the day, know that you’re so much more than a statistic. An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t define you, no matter what you hear in the media. Getting pregnant by accident doesn’t make you irresponsible or stupid.

7. Adoption is a choice that you can make anytime

You don’t have to decide on adoption right now. Lifetime has helped women make an adoption plan after their baby’s been born and even when their child is a few years old. We’re not here to rush you or pressure you. Call us whenever you’re ready.

Mardie Caldwell Certified Open Adoption Practitioner
Written by Mardie Caldwell Certified Open Adoption Practitioner

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the first adoption professionals on the Internet.

Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.

She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.

Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.

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