Single and Pregnant: To Abort or Not to Abort

This is a sticky topic, we realize and one that you, as a potential single parent are going to have to tackle. We take no moral stance on abortion here, but simply give you a list of factors to consider, both for and against an abortion.

You’re single, for whatever reason. That’s fine. But, you’ve just discovered you’re pregnant. Maybe this is fine too…but in a lot of cases, it isn’t the greatest news you ever got. Unplanned pregnancy can be scary for married moms who have the support of a partner, but it’s even more problematic for single moms to be.

The question of abortion is always going to be a controversial one. If you’re Pro Life (meaning you don’t believe that any one should have the right to abort a fetus, whatever its age, physical condition or provenance) the decision is already made. For you, the only remaining question is whether you keep the baby yourself and raise her as a single parent or whether  you offer her up for adoption. Important decisions.

If, on the other hand, you are Pro Choice (meaning that you believe not that abortion is essential but that every woman has a right to weigh up her individual situation and decide whether she should go through with the pregnancy or not), you have the added consideration of whether or not to have an abortion.

No one but you can, or should make the choice. Certain circumstances (including rape, mental illness, serious health problems for mom or baby…) can change the picture and make an abortion more likely to be right…but not for everyone. If the circumstances are relatively normal, ie, do not include issues as mentioned above, the following questions to ask yourself should help with your decision. No one but you can supply the answers, but here are the questions:

Questions to consider

·        Am I making this decision free from pressure from anyone else?

This one’s important: no one should put pressure on you to decide. You should, if you are in a relationship, discuss it with the father of the child, but ultimately it is your choice. If he insists that you should abort the baby and you don’t want to do this, you may have to walk away from the relationship. No woman should have to undergo an abortion she doesn’t feel is right, whatever the father may say.

If, however, it goes the other way it can be more of a problem. You want to have the abortion but he wants to be a dad. It’s kind of tough on him, but it should still be your decision. It’s your body, and your life that will undergo the changes of pregnancy, the pain of birth and everything that comes later. You might suggest that he adopts the child if he feels very strongly…if he is in a situation where he can raise a child himself.

·         Are you in a financially stable situation?

It’s not the be all and end all, many single moms receive state aid and manage just fine, but it is a factor to consider. If you aren’t financially secure and know you will have to rely on state aid if you become a single mom, do your homework and find out what financial aid you will be entitled to. Finances shouldn’t force you into an abortion alone, but you have to face up to the fact that if you don’t have much cash before motherhood, you’ll have even less after!

·         Will Dad stick around?

Once more, this is just a question worth thinking about, not a reason to decide one way or the other alone. It comes down to how you feel about his decision. Are you prepared to sacrifice your relationship in order to keep the baby? Or, if he is so insistent on your having an abortion you don’t want, do you want to be in a relationship with him anyway? Sure, it’s best to raise a child in the context of a loving relationship, or at least for the child to be able to have a regular relationship with the father even if you are no longer a couple, but single moms have been bringing up babies alone for centuries and usually make a darned good job of it too.

·         Have I got a strong support network of family and friends?

This is pretty crucial: being totally alone and having a baby is not an enviable situation for anyone. But again: It can be done if it’s what you want! However, having supportive family and friends around who can help with the chores and bring in the shopping etc. in the early days is invaluable for new moms. Later on, you’ll need help if you are sick, or if th child is sick and you still have to go to work…and in many other unforseen nstances that life throws at you

·         Am I prepared for the future as a single mom?

You do need to realize just what a difference a baby will make to your life. You’ll no longer be young, free and single…just young and single. It can make it harder to find and form relationships with potential partners if you have the demands of a child at home. Now, this isn’t saying there aren’t as many blessings to life wth a baby as there are downsides, but you do need to think the whole thing through. It’s not a reversible decision!

·         I’ve already got a child/children. What impact will the new baby have on my child/children?

If you already have kids from a previous relationship, think about how a pregnancy and a new baby may affect them. It’s your place to decide, not theirs, of course, but the dynamics of your family will change with a new arrival and you needd to be prepared to deal with any jealousies or other problems that may arise.

·         What will happen to my career/education if I go ahead and have this baby?

Some single moms are working when they fall pregnant, others may still be in school. Either way,  your life will have to be put on hold for a while. If you’re working, hopefully you’ll get some maternity leave, but when that’s over you’ll need to find reliable child care when you go to work. And, you’ll have to find a way to pay for it. If you’re still in education, you may have to shelve your lessons for a while. Later, if you can wait til the kids are at school or get child care, you can always pick up your learning again, though it must be said, not all single moms do.

·         How do I feel about having my baby adopted?

Many moms forget that this is another option. They immediately think about the choice between abortion or motherhood…but adoption can be a good choice for some moms. If your religious beliefs or moral principles prevent you from choosing abortion but you don’t feel in a position to keep the baby yourself, choosing adoption can bring much joy to a childless couple. It can also offer your child the chance of a life with a loving family.

The downside to adoption is that it can be tough to say goodbye to the baby you’ve carried for nine months and struggled to bring into the world. Whatever you may feel about your pregnancy before the baby is born, it’s quite common to be taken suprise by a rush of mother love after the birth and during those first few days. Once the baby has been legally adopted, there’s no going back for you, and you need to be prepared to live with the knowledge that yor child is calling someone else ‘Mom’, being soothed to sleep by another woman each night and that whatever name you called him in your head isn’t the name he’ll be known by for the rest of his life.

So, adoption has pros and cons. Once more, sorry, there are no easy answers, just questions to ask yourself.

·         Do I really want an abortion?

Having an abortion isn’t an easy choice for most moms. Leaving aside the moral or religious issues surrounding abortion (for ths sake of this article we’ll assume you are Pro Choice) it is a medical or surgical procedure that will have a physical effect on your body. It can be invasive, painful and can have risks associated with it just like any other surgical procedures.

An abortion is also a highly charged emotional affair. Some women who have been through abortion say they have never recovered emotionally and suffer feelings of guilt and depression throughout their lives. That said, it may be that abortion is still the best answer for you. Sometimes it can be the lesser of two evils.

·         Do I have someone who can support me through the procedure and afterwards?

If you decide to go through with an abortion, you’ll need someone you can trust to help you through at all stages. Last minute doubts and panics can be helped if there’s a friend on hand to talk it all through. Having someone to take yo to the hospital or clinic can help calm your fears. Then afer, you need someone to drive you home, put you to bed and look after you for a few days. The friend you choose to help you at this time needs to be cmpletely accepting of your decision and keep her own feelings about abortion to herself.

·         Can I afford to pay for an abortion?

Sadly, medical procedures cost money, and abortions are no exception.
There are so many issues to think about if you’re single and you’ve just found out you’re pregnant. As made plain earlier, no one but you can supply the answers, but if you know the right questions to consider you are halfway to making the right decision. Whatever you decide, if it’s right for you, then it’s the only answer.