Choosing the Best for You and Your Baby
Curt Grice, Associate Pastor of Educational Ministries
First Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas
Discovering that you’re pregnant can be both thrilling and terrifying! An unplanned pregnancy can create a wide-range of emotions and a great deal of confusion. Out of control hormones and uncertain circumstances only serve to intensify the situation. Even if you believe that all life is precious and children are a gift from God, the experience can be overwhelming.
Expecting unexpectedly can raise a lot of concerns. You may worry what the father will think. You may not be sure you can afford to care for a baby. You may worry if your past choices will affect your unborn baby’s health. You may fear that a baby will keep you from finishing school or pursuing a career. You may feel ashamed or afraid. You may wonder what options you have.
For starters, you need to take these immediate steps:
- Begin taking care of yourself right away!
- Stop all alcohol, tobacco and drug use.
- Make a doctor’s visit to confirm your pregnancy.
- Discuss your health and issues that could affect your pregnancy.
- Seek support in someone you trust and respect.
Here are some things to consider as you decide what’s best for both you and your baby.
CONSIDERATION #1: The gift of life
Every human life has value, regardless of the circumstances. That’s true for you and your baby! You are both created in the image of God and are each fearfully and wonderfully made. All of your days are written in God’s book before one of them comes to be (Psalm 139:13-16).
Even though you don’t know your future or the future of this baby’s life, your decisions will significantly affect both of you! Pray that God will help you make choices that will embrace His plan for each of you, allowing you both to experience the full life He offers. Believe Jesus when he says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
CONSIDERATION #2: The responsibilities ahead
If you’ve chosen to give birth to your baby, you have already taken a heroic step. But that is just the beginning! Now you must decide who will raise this child. There is great responsibility involved in caring for a child in both the short and long term. Being a parent means learning to sacrifice on behalf of your child. Many mothers choose to take on this responsibility alone. Single mothers usually find, however, that the responsibilities are greater than they ever imagined and despite the sacrifices they make, their children face significant disadvantages.
If you hope to raise this child yourself, you should pray about where the child’s father fits in. A father will make a huge difference in a child’s life… for better or worse. Often, an unplanned pregnancy can uncover a man’s true character and make it clear whether or not he has the courage and discipline to be a good husband or father. There are times, however, when a man who has been irresponsible about sex outside of marriage can still become the man you and your child need. With a strong commitment and sacrificial effort, even an unplanned family can work well.
CONSIDERATION #3: The hope of redemption
God specializes in turning challenging situations into happy endings! Asking your child’s father to commit to the long-term responsibilities of marriage and parenting can provide a hopeful story of redemption. When that’s not the case, however, the best hope for your child may be adoption by parents who are prepared for the responsibilities ahead.
There can be great heartache in holding your new baby and then handing it over to someone else, but it’s often the best choice you can make for your child’s future. It can also be an answered prayer for the couple who has long hoped to adopt your child.
Regardless of your situation, you need to know that God loves you and has a plan for your life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
GOING FURTHER – Resources
I’m Pregnant – Now What? by Ruth Graham
She Shares from her personal experience helping two daughters through teen pregnancies. Co-author, Sara Dormon, brings a broad range of insights to help women come up with an informed, workable plan for getting through an unplanned pregnancy.
OptionLine.org offers trained consultants who can provide direction as well as connections to local pregnancy centers staffed to give you biblical and confidential care.
CrisisPregnancy.com offers a large collection of articles and links regarding pregnancy, adoption and support for each step.
GOING FURTHER – Local Support
The Arlington/Mansfield Pregnancy Center offers a variety of confidential services in a compassionate environment including free pregnancy tests, sonograms and counseling. Many of the volunteers have been in this same situation and know exactly what you’re going through.