“I’m 15 and just found out that I’m pregnant. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a mom, but I don’t think I could go through with getting an abortion, either. My boyfriend and my friends tell me I’d be a great mom. My parents are furious and told me they made an appointment for an abortion. Can they make me get an abortion?”
No one can make you have an abortion if you don’t want to. Unless you’re in a medical emergency and your life is in danger, they can’t force you to have an abortion. Medical providers can only perform abortions for women who’ve decided to have one. Plus, even though you’re under 18, you have the right to make important choices about your health and life.
Think about what’s best for your life right now. Becoming a mom because your friends think you should, or getting an abortion since your parents think you should might not be what’s right for you. Sure, you may get advice from others around you, but only you can decide what’s best for your situation.
Any woman who has an unplanned pregnancy has three choices. She can become a parent, get an abortion, or choose adoption for her baby. To decide between parenting, abortion, or adoption in teen pregnancy, you’ll first need to understand exactly what these options involve. Today, we’re going over all three choices, so that you can best decide which is right for you!
Deciding which of the three unplanned pregnancy choices is best for you can be really tough. We recommend talking with a trusted adult, like a trained counselor, teacher, religious adviser, or school counselor to help you with your decision. Let this adult know of your situation and tell them about your fears and hesitations.
When it comes to deciding what’s best for you and your baby, make sure to listen to your heart and research your options. Taking time to think about things and getting the answers to your questions will help you come to a decision that is best for you and your baby.
Is Parenting Right for Me?
Before you decide to have and raise a child, there are lots of things to think about. Keep in mind that once you become a parent, you’ll be responsible for another person for the next 18 years, at least. Raising a child requires a major commitment in time and money. Plus, in general, teen moms don’t do as well in life as teens who wait to have a child. Their family incomes are lower. Teen moms are more likely to be poor and receive welfare, they’re less likely to be married, and they tend to be less educated. Their children typically have a harder time growing up.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself before deciding to become a parent:
- Will I have the support of my family, friends, and my baby’s father? Can I talk about my feelings and other important things with them?
- Am I prepared to help a child feel loved 24 hours a day for the next 18 years and beyond?
- Can I remain mature enough to avoid harming my child emotionally and physically? (No matter how frustrated I get, I won’t humiliate, ridicule, hit, slap, shake, or threaten my child.)
- Am I ready to accept complete responsibility for parenting? Can I do this alone, if it’s necessary?
- Can I make enough money to support both myself and my child?
- Am I willing to give up my current social life to care for my baby?
- Am I ready to put my career and educational plans on hold?
Being a single mom isn’t easy, even if you have the help of your family and friends. It’s often frustrating and complicated. As your child grows, his or her needs will continually change, and so will your capacity to match those needs.
Is Abortion Right for Me?
Sometimes, the decision to get an abortion is simple. Other times, it’s complicated. But either way, deciding on abortion is personal, and so you’re the only one who can make it. You’re the only person walking in your shoes and the only person who can choose whether or not to have an abortion. The choice is 100% yours.
Lots of people believe that abortion is a quick fix for a pregnancy they didn’t plan on. In reality, things are much more complicated. This “quick fix” can be followed by lifelong regret and grief.
Many women have doubted or questioned their choice to get an abortion long after the procedure. It’s important to be aware of the possible psychological effects of abortion. Women who had an abortion often face feelings of sadness or guilt afterward. It’s common to have mixed emotions after getting an abortion, and for some women, these emotional effects are intense.
The physical side effects after having an abortion vary from woman to woman. Potential side effects after an abortion that you should be aware of include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, and spotting. The serious complications of abortion are an infection, heavy bleeding, injury to your cervix, blood clots, and that the abortion doesn’t work in ending the pregnancy. Be sure to speak to a health professional as well as the doctor performing the abortion about possible risks and side effects.
Is Adoption Right for Me?
With adoption, you have tons of choices, like choosing the adoptive parents for your baby. There are adoptive families available across the country, of all races, personalities, and backgrounds. You can even talk to or email with adoptive parents that interest you as you decide if they’d be a good fit for your baby. Each family waiting to adopt has been screened and had extensive background checks; they are ready to adopt. If you would prefer for Lifetime to choose a family for you, we can do that too
You might have heard of the term “open adoption.” This term means that you choose the family and establish a relationship with them that includes contact after adoption. This can be pictures and letters, visits, email, social media, or whatever you are comfortable with. Plus, you can choose how things go at the hospital. This means you can choose who is in the delivery room, who cuts the cord, if you want to see and spend time with your baby, and more. You are in control of your hospital experience.
In an open adoption, you can also decide how much you’d like to stay in touch with them after the adoption happens, and how you’d like to get updates on your child. With open adoption, you don’t have to say “goodbye” to your child; you can remain a part of your child’s life as he or she grows up.
It’s never too late to make an adoption plan for your baby. Lifetime has helped many women who tried parenting before turning to adoption. You can oversee the entire adoption planning process, and that includes deciding when you’re ready to begin. No matter if your child is weeks, months or years old, adoption is always a decision that you can make.
To talk about adoption right now with one of our coordinators,
please call or text Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.
Your call will be kept confidential, and you’re not obligated to choose adoption just because you’ve contacted us.
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.