Unplanned Pregnancy – When Your Pregnancy Is More Shock Than Surprise
Long before we decide to have children, most of us have probably fantasised to some degree about the time when we actually do decide to become pregnant, and how special and magical that might be. However, what happens when we fall pregnant at a time which isn't as magical and as special as we hoped?
No matter if you've already had a child or not, falling pregnant at a difficult time or in a difficult situation in your life can be devastating. What can be even more difficult is being racked with guilt when you know others who are desperately trying to get pregnant and would give anything to be the one having the baby. You may even be feeling guilty hoping that you'll have a miscarriage so the problem can go away, as it wasn't meant to be. Then there's the fear of judgement from others… the list goes on. But regardless, your feelings DO matter and its a huge burden to carry alone.
There are many reasons women may feel themselves in a difficult situation from falling pregnant unexpectedly, including:
- Birth control did not work
- Pregnancy from an abusive relationship or sexual abuse
- Partner does not want a baby / changed their mind
- Financial reasons
- Health or psychological reasons
- You were probably not as vigilant with birth control as you should have been, but not ready for a baby
- You've just had a baby and feel that it's too soon for another
No matter what situation you may find yourself in, if you are unexpectedly pregnant, you definitely need support to talk through your feelings, especially because you may be at higher risk for ante-natal depression. Ideally you should seek extra support outside the family, who will be no doubt emotionally attached to the situation. There are some support services listed below, but first are some stories from women who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant in different situations and what decisions they made.
Preventing the occurrence of pre and postnatal depression is really important – if you don't have the right support or take care of yourself emotionally and physically, you may find yourself battling depression. Check out our great article on 8 tips for preventing postnatal depression.
Unplanned Pregnancy – Women's Stories
My little family was perfect. I had a loving and successful husband, an adorable 2 year old daughter and a very content little 6 month old son. We were in a stable financial situation and my world was about as perfect as I could've ever wanted it to be.
I always only ever wanted two children. Prior to having children I had had a very successful marketing career, and whilst I love being a Mummy, I was also looking forward to returning to work, and enjoying a little independence and identity of my own again. I have always been a very organised person, some would say a perfectionist, and my life was running exactly the way I wanted it. Until I realised I was pregnant again.
I was still breastfeeding my son, and also taking the mini-pill, but the day I opened a can of dog food and felt a wave of familiar nausea that I knew to be ‘morning sickness' it felt like my world fell apart.
I did a home pregnancy test the next day and it came up positive immediately. I cried on and off all day. I can remember holding my son really close and crying into his warm little shoulder, ‘But I just don't want to be pregnant again.'
I told my husband and he was surprised but ecstatic. He was totally baffled at how horrified I was. And so started weeks of the two of us really trying to come to grips with how the other one felt. It was a very painful time, full of tears and depression on my part, and confusion on his.
I begged him to consider letting me terminate the pregnancy. He said he wouldn't stop me, but that he would be devastated if I did. I did make an appointment at the termination clinic, but I ended up cancelling it. I guess I was frightened of the impact that choice may have on us as a couple.
I also felt guilty at secretly hoping that I would maybe have a miscarriage and the problem would just go away.
I am not sure when the turning point came. I have only just got round to telling everyone I am pregnant. I am still scared and worried I won't be able to cope. But the depression over the pregnancy has lifted, thank goodness. I am now well over half way, and I think I am beginning to look forward to meeting our unexpected little baby.
I was 19, working full-time in a great job I loved and had been with my partner for about a year. We lived together and everything felt very stable.
I had problems with taking the pill, which I had been on for years, trying various brands to find a better one. I was sick of the headaches, nausea and other side effects, so I made the decision to stop taking it, with the intention of being more careful. From what I had read, it could take some time for ovulation to return and I hadn't stopped taking it long at all – I must have fallen pregnant straight away, but it didn't occur to me as something that would happen THAT quick. I was just so naive.
Upon realising I might be pregnant, I did a test at home after work which came up positive. I was nervous but also felt somewhat excited to think I had a little baby growing inside me and this could be the start of something new and wonderful. I rang my partner to tell him, his first response, ‘so when are you going back to the doctor?'
I was devastated. He did not want the baby at all. We talked for days about options; even my mother offered to take over care of the baby when it was born in order to prevent a termination, but I was given so many excuses from my partner to oppose the suggestions. In the end I was bullied into a termination – I just could not find strength or support to help me deal with the situation. I craved real support outside my biased partner and devastated mother. But I didn't know where to go. I was six weeks pregnant at the time.
The termination was an awful procedure, I cried all the way home and for the rest of the day. Not long after all this happened, I broke up with my partner.
Today, I am married with two beautiful, amazing children – the first of which was a surprise but very much wanted on both sides. It was still very nerve racking for me finding out I was pregnant, I was so worried about how my partner would react. But seeing him embrace it and happiness it brought my family made me realise it was all happening for the right reason this time and that I could relax and embrace it too.
So often I ponder if I had to go through what I did to get to the wonderful place I have today – a beautiful family which wouldn't have existed without my past.
Pregnancy Support / Counselling
Pregnancy Counselling Australia – 1300 737 732 24hrs.
Pregnancy Counselling Link – 1300 777 690 or email via their website.