Teen Pregnancy: The Adoption Option
An unplanned teenage pregnancy is a life-changing event that brings with it an overwhelming amount of responsibility. Even if you are thinking about placing your child for adoption, you face a lot of responsibilities.
Placing your baby for adoption can lead to a better life for both your baby and you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy decision to make. You need to be aware of things you can do to make both your pregnancy and the adoption process easier.
Surround Yourself With Caring People
Of the number of teen pregnancies in the U.S., 77 percent are unplanned. Yet whether or not you consider the possibility of adoption, it's important to surround yourself with people who are willing to give you the amount of emotional support you need throughout your pregnancy and afterward.
Look to family members, friends and clergy who will listen and help you make choices that will benefit your baby and you. Choosing adoption will allow you to continue your education and pursue your life's goals. It can also provide a more secure future for your baby.
Even so, you may experience guilt, anger, depression and sorrow over losing your baby to adoption. Acceptance eventually occurs, but it takes time. That's why you need caring people who will listen to you and provide you with support as you sort through your emotions.
Get Support From Outside Sources
Being able to openly share your feelings about your pregnancy and impending adoption can help so that you don't feel alone. If you don't have a strong social support network, seek professional counseling with a therapist who has experience helping birth parents with the emotional impact of adoption.
You can also look for social and emotional support from a support group for birth parents. Whether from professionals or others in a similar situation, counseling and emotional support can help you deal with any confusion or regret you might feel so that you can move on with your life.
Increase the Chances for a Healthy Pregnancy
Proper medical care is important for the healthy development of your baby and reduces your risk of pregnancy complications such as anemia, high blood pressure and premature labor. But pregnant teens don't always get the prenatal care they need, especially early on in the pregnancy.
If you have no other health insurance, you may qualify for medical coverage through your state's medical assistance program. Government-issued health insurance, which pays for prenatal care and delivery of the baby, is available to pregnant women not covered by another health plan.
Consequently, you have no reason not to make an appointment with a doctor or other health care provider to get the medical care you need. Following a physical examination, he or she will offer advice on exercise and nutrition, as well as order screening tests for rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B and sexually transmitted diseases — all conditions that can be harmful to your baby.
Recognize the Signs of Postpartum Depression
Teen pregnancy can also lead to depression. In fact, teen pregnancy is a risk factor for postpartum depression. The feelings that accompany an unplanned pregnancy or the lack of emotional support throughout your pregnancy can put you at even greater risk for suffering depression afterward.
Postpartum depression is often accompanied by anxiety, sleep problems, extreme irritability, severe mood swings and the inability to concentrate. Whether or not you keep your baby, postpartum depression, which affects twice as many teens as adults, can have serious implications.
However, maintaining a more positive outlook on the situation contributes to a healthy pregnancy and healthier postnatal period. Even for women who plan their pregnancies, worry over health problems, finances, lifestyle changes and their relationship with their partner puts emotional and physical stress on the body. Getting help addressing these concerns can decrease the stress and emotional strain you feel.
Consider Other Aspects of Your Situation
Aside from the emotional support you receive from those close to you, your moral values and spiritual beliefs may play a role in your decision to put your baby up for adoption. Your level of education and financial stability at the time of the pregnancy can play key roles as well.
Higher education usually is required to establish a career plan with a good outlook that will provide the income you need to raise a child. But if you drop out of school when you become pregnant or do not get adequate job training, you may find yourself unemployed or with limited job opportunities — both of which can have economic effects and may lead to living in poverty.
Add to the economic considerations the reactions of others when they find out that you are pregnant, and you may feel alone and incapable of raising a child at this point in your life. Yet the pain of giving up your child is something with which you must deal. Therefore, it comes down to deciding whether adoption is the right choice for you.
Adoption is a complicated process, but the experienced staff of A Child's Dream can help you make an informed decision and, if you decide that it is the best option for you, can also aid you in navigating the adoption process.