If you think you might be pregnant, it’s understandable that a lot may be going through your mind. Perhaps you’re wondering if you are ready or what to expect during pregnancy.
It’s wise to think about your whole-person health as you consider your options – make sure you know all the information before you decide on your next steps. First, take a deep breath and know that you are not alone in this. There is help and support available to you.
Thinking Through What Pregnancy May Mean for You
Pregnancy can be a daunting experience, even when it is planned. If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, it’s possible you may be feeling stressed or concerned about your next steps.
Pregnancy and parenting concern a lot of thoughtful planning and care. It is important that you take the time to think through what this might mean to you – what does your support system look like? What has your partner expressed to you about this pregnancy? Does your faith or belief system factor into this decision for you?
Take the time to think through your concerns on each of these points, and think through the possibilities of what type of support would help make your decision easier. For instance, if a main source of stress is potential childcare, could a community program or supportive family member help alleviate that concern for you?
Potential Mental Health Effects of Pregnancy
You may want to consider the potential mental health effects that pregnancy may have. According to the Mayo Clinic, roughly 7% of women experience depression during pregnancy. As with any major life change, it is important to keep an eye on how your pregnancy journey may impact you emotionally and psychologically.
If you have a history of depression, anxiety, or are experiencing negative feelings about your pregnancy or future, consider seeking out a trusted professional to talk through what you’re feeling. Developing healthy habits can also help you mitigate these concerns, such as a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, or spending time doing moderate physical activity.
It is also worth noting that postpartum depression is a concern for 1 in 8 women. Sometimes after pregnancy and giving birth, due to both hormonal effects and the stress of a major life change, depressive episodes can be a concern. If you notice yourself feeling any of the following symptoms, consider seeking out the advice of a healthcare professional:
- Crying more often than usual
- Feelings of anger
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
- Worrying that you will hurt the baby
- Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby
How Your Pregnancy Options May Affect Mental Health
If you’re worried about how pregnancy will affect your mental health, you may be considering your other pregnancy options. But, keep in mind that not everything that seems like an easy solution will be beneficial to your health, including abortion.
Many women are unaware of the lasting emotional effects of abortion. A study done by Professor David Fergusson shows two major findings about the mental effects of abortion:
- The study found abortion was linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal behaviors.
- At age 25, 42% of the women experienced major depression during the previous four years, twice that of other women.
On the other hand, a choice to make an adoption plan could also be a pregnancy option for you. Many people do not have a full understanding of what modern adoption looks like, including both closed, semi-open, and open adoption plans. In most adoption scenarios, the birth parents have the opportunity to decide how much (or how little) contact with or information on their child they would like to receive.
While adoption is not a simple or easy choice, it can be a very fulfilling option that allows for a beneficial situation for both birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. However, it is important to note that both abortion and adoption can come with feelings of grief, loss, or depression.
How Support Can Mitigate Mental Health Concerns
Knowing you have someone in your corner can make all the difference in life sometimes. If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy and aren’t sure where to turn, know that you are not alone. At AscentCare, we’d love the opportunity to help you navigate your pregnancy decision.
Taking care of your health holistically involves finding out all the information you can about all your pregnancy options, and consulting with a medical professional on what is best for your unique situation. Get personalized care and resources today – schedule your free appointment with our caring staff.