HuffPo republished a recent piece from Go Girl Finance on 5 things you should do if you become unexpectedly pregnant.
It includes a well-thought out list from a woman who learned she and her spouse would be getting a new arrival they did not plan for.
Her advice included things like make sure you have adequate insurance, start saving, cease splurging on frivolous items and be mindful that children don’t need the best, so just be frugal.
From a financial standpoint, this is great advice. However, from an emotional standpoint, especially for a woman who is not committed yet to the person she winds up pregnant with, the preparation will require additional steps.
Here is what I will add:
1. Seek support immediately from a close family member, friend, clergy, therapist, close neighbor, psychic, or whomever you feel close enough to or comfortable with discussing things like an unplanned pregnancy.
You don’t want to rush into anything like abortion, adoption, solo-parenthood or forced commitment with a person you don’t want to stay committed to without being able to process and talk out your concerns and feelings.
Going through it all in your head is not a good idea because your feelings and thoughts will change and adjust hourly, if not daily. This is a highly emotional time. Also, due to your pregnancy, your hormones will be all over the place.
2. If you decide to end the pregnancy or go through the pregnancy and then put up your child for adoption, spend a little extra time getting counseling for the psychological short and long term effects of those decisions as they will stay with you for the rest of your life. They may haunt you when you least expect it years into the future so be aware and prepared to process feelings associated with an abortion or adoption when they crop again later.
Further, different states have different laws. You need to know what you can and cannot do. Also, Religious people will have separate feelings to deal with as well, based on their beliefs, moral and religious codes and upbringing.
I have friends who face a little infertility or later give birth to a child with a disability who have blamed it on a past abortion they had. Even Toni Braxton wrote in her autobiography that she felt having a son with autism was punishment from God for having aborted a child early in her career because it wasn’t convenient.
3. If you decide to go through with the pregnancy, make sure you have emotional and financial support from family and close ties. You cannot go it alone, especially if you decide to not continue with the relationship with the man for whom you are pregnant. Pregnancy and parenthood are majors life altering undertakings.
4. See the steps from this HuffPo piece and secure healthcare and mind your finances. If you are in school still or have a low to moderate income job, do some research into what supplemental income, food or healthcare support may be available to you. The U.S. Government will cover unwed teens and their children under Medicare and the new Healthcare law (euphemistically called “Obamacare”) expands coverage to other low-income adults. Find out when the enrollment period is and get covered.
If you are in school, you will need to make plans for taking exams if they interfere with your due date and when you return, you’ll have to now work in childcare when you’re in class. You may have to forgo night or evening classes depending on your support options.
5. If you and your partner are committed, sit down and start mapping out plans for future, including division of labor and how your pooled income will be spent. Make sure you still put aside even $25 or more each paycheck for your own personal fund so you have some independence and a modest safety net just in case things go south. It’s best to be prepared than simply move forward on hope and a prayer for a good outcome.
Also, check out your job’s human resources manual to see what your rights are and if you have a female co-worker who has had a baby before, see if you can have lunch with her and ask her what to expect.
Being mindful and prepared is the best way to go into an unplanned pregnancy.