You are sitting in class, trying to take notes, but you just cannot get yourself to focus. The minutes tick on and feel like hours, until finally your classes for the day are over. You drive back to your dorm, anxious to get the undesirable task over and done with. However when you reach home, you find every excuse not to do what is needed.
Eventually you cannot take the suspense any longer and you just bite the bullet and do it. Again the minutes drag on. Finally it is time to read the results. You feel like throwing up as the tears roll down your face. Two blue lines. You are pregnant……..
The above scenario happens to so many young girls between the ages of 15 and 22 on a daily basis, yet it is a topic so many avoid discussing or thinking about. Unplanned pregnancies are a reality and unless you are practising complete sexual abstinence, you are at risk.
What many young women (and men) don’t realise is that no method of contraception is 100% safe and effective. There are many reported cases annually of unplanned pregnancies which are a result of either failed or incorrectly used contraceptive methods. Even doing an internet search regarding the topic, will produce quite a few stories written by real women/men this happened to.
In fact, when I was in high school and College, I knew of at least four cases in which girls, who were taking the contraceptive pill, got pregnant. They swore they took their pills religiously, however this is something I cannot vouch for. All I know for certain is that they were in total shock and disbelief when they found out they were pregnant, since until that point in time, they were sure that it couldn’t happen to them, because they were being “completely safe”.
So just how does one deal with an unplanned pregnancy, when you are still in school/university? The first step, although it sounds like a cliché, is really to remain calm and not to do anything irrational. Remind yourself that you are not the first person in the world this has happened to. Many have found themselves in the same scenario since the beginning of time, and it really is not a death sentence.
Then, once you are calm and collected you can begin to ask yourself the following questions:
1. How do I really feel about abortion?
2. How do I feel about adoption?
3. Can I see myself carrying a baby to term?
4. How would pregnancy/ a baby affect my schooling/studies?
5. How do I break the news to my parents?
Points/questions 4 and 5 are ones I can offer some guidance on. Points 1 to 3 are based on your own personal feelings and are choices/decisions only you can make for yourself. Just make sure that the choices you make are ones you will be able to live with. If you have any doubts, rethink your initial decisions very carefully. Don’t be rash and take your time in thinking things through properly.
Question/point 4 asked, “How would pregnancy/ a baby affect my schooling/studies?” Well that depends on a few factors. For instance, say you decide to carry the baby to term and then give it up for adoption and your parents support you in your decision. You can then temporarily leave school/ your studies for the duration of your pregnancy and return again once everything is over. This will however set you back at least a year. Alternatively you could stay in school until your due date and then return again within a week or two after giving birth, which wouldn’t set you back that much.
Just bear in mind that both scenarios carry the risk of postpartum depression and depression caused by the loss created by giving up your child. I honestly recommend an open adoption for those young moms who find adoption to be their best solution. This way you still get to be a part of your child’s life.
Another scenario could be that you decide to keep your baby and your parents support your decision. In this instance you could either leave school for nine months or stay for the duration of your pregnancy (as the scenario above) however, after the birth of your child things are going to become a bit more complicated. You would then either have to leave school in order to raise your child until he/she reaches school readiness age, upon which you will be able to return to school again, or you would have to place your child in day-care (which would not be financially possible without the assistance of your parents), or in the care of one of your parents (if both your parents aren’t employed outside of the home) or grandparents.
Think carefully about all this and do not be selfish in your decisions (think of everyone involved – including your parents and unborn child – and how your choices will affect them).
The worst scenario would be that your parents decide to cut you off once finding out about your pregnancy (whether you decide to keep the baby or give it up for adoption). In this instance I would advise you to seek refuge in a home/sanctuary for unwed/young mothers, and to seek financial aid in the form of a “single mothers’ scholarship/bursary”. Information regarding both can be found by doing an internet search.
As for question/point 5, “How do I break the news to my parents?” This would depend largely on the types of parents you have. If your parents are very strict and display the characteristics of being authoritarian in nature then I suggest speaking to them with the help of a school guidance counsellor or psychologist by your side.
If you parents are more open, easy going and permissive in nature, I suggest you just sit them down one evening and say something in the lines of the following; “Mom, dad, I love you very much and I will always be your daughter no matter what, so please do not be angry with me when I tell you something that has been eating me up inside for days now. I am pregnant and I am sorry. Nothing I can say or do can change this fact. What’s done is done and I cannot just make it go away. Please forgive me, and please help me”.
And with that I have come to the end of this posting. On a final note, I would like to add that the internet is full of resources and help for young pregnant women, so spend some time reading through some of these.
Take care and remember, a few minutes of passion are not worth giving up your youth over.