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Thursday, 22 March 2001

You Are Pregnant: No Easy Answers

Written by  Sara Eisen

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Two little blue lines. Not one. Two. You are going to be a Mom.

How did this happen to me, you ask? Well...I don't think I need to draw you a map.

OK. Time to breathe. And then it's time to think. Hard.

First things first: Tell your parents (or guidance counselor, who can help you tell your parents), and tell your lover. Easier said than done, I know, but if you were grown-up enough to have sex, you are grown-up enough to face the unpleasantness of these confrontations.

Next: Consider your options.

First, you could decide to raise the baby. As a mother, I can tell you that this choice should not be taken lightly. Children are a big deal. They are worth every second of it, but they are a big deal.

You want to go out with friends to see the movie that is starting in an hour? Great! Just enough time to shower, dress, and...find a reliable babysitter?

Children have their own personalities. They have strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else. They will not sit down or be quiet or be good at sports or have an easy time in school just because we want them to. They will not choose a convenient time to get sick or throw a tantrum.

Children are like steam or gas: They expand to take up all the space they can in your life. If you try to push them aside, make them fit into the schedule that is convenient for you, they will feel it. Kids are people, and they deserve better than simply being penciled in.

So think about how your life might be affected by being responsible for a child. And think how your readiness - or lack of readiness - to accept this responsibility might affect another human being, your child.

Second, you could give the baby up for adoption. There's one BIG advantage here: It's a comfort knowing that even though you screwed up, you have given someone else the gift of a baby they could not have themselves. That's a huge deal. Also, many see this as the middle way: You have kept the pregnancy, kept the baby alive, without saddling your life with such an enormous responsibility.

But it's also not simple. How will you feel, carrying a baby inside you, and then giving him or her away? How will you cope with the grief of parting with a part of you? This is difficult to contemplate if you have never been a mother, but I would be hard pressed to think of anything more difficult than giving your baby away.

Another thing to consider: Will you be freaked out if this child tries to find you in 18 years? What will you tell him or her? It's hard to think about now, but you are not in any easy situation.

Also, more immediately, are you ready to be pregnant for the better part of a year? It's no day at the beach, trust me.

Third, you could have an abortion. To some, this seems like an easy answer - the only sane option. It's over, finished. Quickly, no hassles. To others, it's not an option at all. They find it morally wrong. But whatever your view is on abortion, it's important to know the following: It's not really over in a few minutes. Just because the pregnancy has been ended, doesn't mean you are finished dealing with it. Not by a long shot.

There are a lot of things women go through after having an abortion. Guilt. Regret. Despair. Depression. Self-loathing. After all, you have destroyed the potential for a child. A piece of you. There was a life growing inside you, and now it's gone. And once it's done, it's final - there's no changing your mind.

It's nothing to be taken lightly, but many girls don't realize this until afterwards. Then they can't stop thinking about it. They can't sleep. Can't stop imagining the baby. How it would have looked, or how it would have felt to hold. Or: Did it feel anything? Of course you're worried: You were the Mom, after all.

So there's a lot for you to think about here. I do not envy the position you are in.

Again, you should not go this alone. Get all the support you can from people who can guide you - preferably, your parents.

By the way, if you are one of the lucky never-been-pregnant teens reading this, think: Is the sex you are having worth this possibility? Before you answer, THINK!

Nothing worth asking has an easy answer.

Last modified on Sunday, 10 April 2011 17:09
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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen

Sara is a journalist and editor.

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