Coping with an Unplanned Pregnancy
A five-step action plan
Two: Deal with Your Emotions
Allow yourself the opportunity to express any and every emotion that you may be feeling, both openly and honestly. Remember that this is not a once-off event; you need to come to terms with your pregnancy and the life-to-come with your child.
Express yourself to people that you trust and respect—a partner, family, friends, even a counselor if necessary. Consider recording your thoughts and feelings in a journal to help you define this miraculous (and despite all else, the process of bearing a child is nothing short of that) chapter in your life.
Being an expectant mom requires an entirely new perspective on life, and the more positive you are about it, the better. Remind yourself daily that it is natural to feel any number of emotions at any time, and that you are important enough to allow yourself the opportunity to work through them. No matter how much advice or concern you may get (wanted or not!), experience shows that nothing compares to a mother’s instinct, so you need to get in touch with yours as soon as you possibly can.
Try to deal with issues as they arise to gain a sense of control over this experience—it may not have been planned, but everything you do to deal with it from this point forward can be.
Three: Change Your Perspective
An unplanned pregnancy may not have been in the cards for you right now, but remember that you remain your own life manager. You now have the opportunity to make the most of not just yours, but now another’s life. Feminist author Sylvia Ann Hewlitt writes, “You can’t have ‘all’ of anything. Some aspect of your life will be compromised in at least some small way while you are focusing on another aspect of life.” By that same token, however, this is a season in your life and like all seasons, it has a beginning and an end. Keeping this in perspective will help you make the most of it rather than live with regrets in the future at not having made the most of this precious time.
Being an expectant mom will necessarily change most aspects of your lifestyle. Planning now for the long-term is essential, and changing your perspective to accommodate positive results is vital. Take the time to consider what changes you can make to be a mother while still aiming for other life goals. For example, you may be able to change your study schedule from full-time to part-time, or your employer may be open to your telecommuting once your baby is born. A parent, partner, or friend may be able to help with childcare and lend a hand when you need to rest or take a break after baby is born.
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