Making a Decision

Suspecting and confirming an unplanned pregnancy is an experience most women will encounter during their fertile years. No contraceptive method (other than abstinence) is 100% effective and it is estimated that each sexually active North American woman using some form of contraception will have an average of two unplanned pregnancies during her reproductive years. The incidence of pregnancy increases among those not using birth control. Although some women receive the news of their pregnancy with happiness; most feel a range of emotions, from ambivalence and misgiving, to anger and depression. Many women feel that because of their beliefs, they will have to follow through with the pregnancy, in spite of their misgivings. Most women will contemplate their choices, difficult though they may be, and many will choose to terminate the pregnancy. Recent statistics show that half of Canadian women facing an unplanned pregnancy choose abortion.

Women commonly feel that they have three options with a pregnancy: carrying the pregnancy to term and keeping the child; continuing the pregnancy and giving the child up for adoption; and terminating the pregnancy. Single parenthood no longer carries the stigma it did a generation ago. Most women choosing to continue their pregnancy usually opt to keep the child; the adoption rate has gone down significantly over the past few years. This does not mean that it is not a good option, and some young women struggling with the moral issues of abortion while not being ready to accept the responsibilities of motherhood choose this route.

For most women though, the choice is between continuing the pregnancy and keeping the child, or choosing abortion. This applies equally to all women, regardless of social and financial standing. Married women, single women, students, working women, teenagers, mothers and grandmothers are all likely to find themselves faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

If you have found out you are pregnant and are confused regarding your choice, it will be important for you to work out what is making it difficult for you to make a decision. It often helps to write down the different options you are contemplating and list the pros and cons of each option. This exercise usually brings clarity to the situation. But if you are still undecided, it may help to talk it over with someone—a family member, a friend or a counsellor.

Some questions to ask yourself:

How do I feel about being pregnant?
How do I feel about becoming a parent?
What would I lose if I choose one way or the other?
What does this mean financially?
How would my choice affect my significant others?
How do my choices agree or conflict with my beliefs and values?

It may help to summarize your responses to these questions and to write down any other thoughts that come to you. Take time to ponder your thoughts for a few days and stay sensitive to your feelings.

A site that can help you further in the decision-making process is