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You Did Not Plan That Pregnancy, Now What?

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“Congratulations, you are expecting a baby.”

There is the assumption that the statement is one news every human would be excited to hear. Yes, if you are 36 and have been trying to have a child for, maybe 8 years, it literally is a dream come true. But how do you get excited with the news when you are 16, you are a freshman in the university and still dependent on your parents, who are very old-fashioned and unforgiving? How do you handle the information when you have been out of job for over a year and you are struggling to raise the 4 children you already have with the little profit your wife makes from her business? How do you feel excitement, when you are at the peak of your career and the pregnancy will just ruin everything you have worked for?

An unplanned pregnancy is one of the most difficult things to deal with. Usually it comes as an absolute shock, followed by an array of overwhelming emotions and stress. You are filled with feelings of fear, disbelief, confusion, panic, guilt, and even a little shame for “letting” it happen. And while these feelings are totally normal, and you have the choice of saying “yes”  or “No” to the life growing inside of you or your partner, you have to keep in mind that all future decisions require a much needed reflective attention; and also, while it can be a big task, it is possible to cope with an unplanned pregnancy and to not only survive it, but to thrive in the role of unexpected parenthood.

An unplanned pregnancy is not something you can just wrap your head around overnight. Coping with it requires quite a lot. It is a deeply personal and individual task and requires time, space and a network of support. Usually, you are tempted to make a rush decision upon getting the news, but doing so when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed is not a good idea.

First, take a moment away from the chaotic thoughts and conversations and reactions, think through your situation and be sure of the responsibilities, implications and what you want, prior to taking action.

Do not waste time deliberating on how it happened, who is to blame, what you did to deserve your situation, what you were thinking or any other questions that focuses on blame and finding fault. Instead, ask yourself, ask questions that help you find solutions and move forward: “What do I need?”, “What do I want?”, “Will I be okay?” And while it may be difficult, try to stay objective and look at it from a general point of view. Ask yourself: “If this were happening to your sister or best friend, what would tell her to do and why?” Asking these questions will help you come to terms with your pregnancy and the life-to-come with your child.

Once you are done deliberating and you realize the best option is to keep the child, go on to evaluate your immediate needs. Make a list of everything you are unsure of or would like to learn more about, the necessary steps you need to take to care for both yourself and the unborn child. You can go ahead and do some research on the internet.

The internet has a wealth of information, however you need to be careful not to bombard yourself with too much information and become overwhelmed. Being informed empowers you and gives you the confidence to sail through your pregnancy and look forward to the challenge of being a parent.

Even after getting the information, go ahead and visit a doctor for advice on medications, excercises, and habits to drop or take on,  to ensure you and the child remain healthy. The doctor you meet should be someone you are comfortable with and whose advice regarding your health, both mental and physical, you can trust.

Next, develop a support system. A problem shared is a problem half solved. Confide in people that you trust and respect. It could be your partner, parents, siblings, friends or even religious leader or counselor if necessary. Surround yourself with a network of people and places to draw strength and advice from. Discuss your feelings with them, your expectations, and your needs.

If you your partner or family is not supportive, then look for someone that you trust and feel comfortable with or accept any offers of assistance and rely on as many people as are willing to share in this wonderful time of your life. You can even join counseling groups and prenatal classes. Most hospitals offer those.

In all you do, remain strong about your situation rather than wallowing in self-pity.  You will have mixed feeling per time, but remind yourself daily that it is natural to feel any number of emotions at any time, and that you are important enough to allow yourself the opportunity to work through them. Try to deal with issues as they arise, to gain a sense of control as even though the pregnancy may not have been planned, everything you do to deal with it from that point forward can be.

As an expectant mom, the more positive you are about it, the better. Being an expectant mom will certainly change most aspects of your lifestyle that requires you taking on an entirely new perspective on life. Take the time to consider what changes you can make to be a parent while still aiming for other life goals. For example, if you are still in school, you can change your study schedule from full-time to part-time; if you are a man who doesn’t earn enough, you can take on a second job to ensure you can support the mother when the baby is born.

Some aspects of your life will be compromised, but pregnancy is not the end of your life; it is rather the amazing beginning of another’s. Notwithstanding that a pregnancy may be unplanned; bearing a child is a unique experience and a feat that one can be proud of. It can be overwhelming at the best of times, but like anything in life, developing a personal action plan will go a long way towards helping you cope with it all and having a positive experience.

Photo Credit: Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)

21 Comments

  1. Deleke

    January 19, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Sorry o but if you planned to f**k, best expect to plan for a pregnancy.

    • memebaby

      January 20, 2018 at 3:24 am

      pls stop

    • Bola

      January 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      What’s Please stop, ain’t that the truth?

    • Janice

      January 20, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      What about rape?

  2. Randommer

    January 19, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Lol what is this? If she wants to abort or give it up for adoption nko?

    • Jummy

      January 20, 2018 at 7:58 am

      Err.. What if abortion doesn’t lie with the author’s views?

      Not every one is “pro-choice” ya know…

  3. U know me

    January 20, 2018 at 4:41 am

    I’m sorry to derail but this is quite funny, I did plan for my pregnancy cos I was married but right now it feels like I didn’t plan for it. I feel selfish like I’m actually asking for too much raising a child all by myself and depriving him of having a father. I commented a while ago about being in a very abusive marriage and asking for luck to leave as I was isolated out from the world … Well I left; but reality has hit me, I left my job to stay married, I wasn’t allowed to work , I was deprived of food and my blood pressure skyrocketed which almost threatened my pregnancy. I really do not know where to start from as I am all by myself. Depressed, pregnant and with no source of income. I do not wish to come off as a burden to people hence my request for a job/ source of income.I have a 5 years working experience and 26 years old. I have experience in customer service, sales, admin, human resource and HSE. I reside along the lekki ajah axis. Any help will be highly appreciated even a free therapy. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      January 20, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      I wish I could give you a tight hug. But it may not look like it right now, you will definitely be alright. I was shocked to realise my missed period was really pregnancy. It was never regular and I couldnt be bothered it was late again. Hubby and I kept malice quietly blaming each other. I wasn’t bold enough to have an abortion and would go to the ladies looking for signs of blood/miscarriage (that was the challenge with my older children’s pregnancies) Omo no sign oh. She stayed kampe. I adjusted to my reality. My life was on “hold” again.
      But when that baby came I was full of guilt at the thoughts I had.
      Out of all my precious gifts ( yes! children are gifts indeed) she stands out so glaringly and I cant imagine life without her. I pray that you will be strengthened as you go along and find help every step of the way.

  4. Jummy

    January 20, 2018 at 7:59 am

    What is “pls stop” ? Is he lying?

    Once you have sex you have to be prepared that the consequence could be a pregnancy, whether unwanted or wanted.

    • Xxx

      January 20, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Oh pls shut up……

    • Janice

      January 20, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      What about rape, Jummy?

  5. Fabulicious

    January 20, 2018 at 9:40 am

    This writer just talked about the college freshman. I will give you a more painful scenario.. You are done having 3 or 4 kids and had your tubes tied or are on active birth control only to find out that you are pregnant and your last child is in his last stages of high school with the rest in college. Nobody wants to be that woman at all.

  6. Frida

    January 20, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    All I know is this-… I don’t know of one single person who kept and had the child from an unplanned pregnancy and later regretted it. Not one. No matter how hard the situation was at the time. It’s a tough decision but always well worth it.

    Children are a blessing.

    Great article.

    • Marvel

      January 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Sorry, Frida, it isn’t as easy as that. Very few women will own up to calling an unwanted pregnancy a burden, unwanted etc because society would loathe her for it. What tends to happen instead, is parenting such children with a lot of pressure, as statistics have little hopes for a child raised in single parent families, transferred aggression – lots of verbal and physical abuse, you’d be amazed at how many of these children are taken from single parent homes by welfare departnments in Western countries, there’s the stigma from religious institutions and members of faith houses, the assumption that she might accept any riff-raff as a partner and should be grateful for it, If Mummy is the proud sort, there will be lots of going without to show that she is independent. The list is endless but don’t for a minute think it mostly ends well. We are a secretive bunch but you’d be surprised at how children from such backgrounds get done a bad deal usually. I don’t know about no regrets.

    • Frida

      January 20, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      @ Marvel,

      That’s just my experience. We’re entitled to our personal opinions.

      Ps: any church that Shames a woman for having a child out of wedlock is not a good church period!

      We need to stop guilt-tripping women into having an abortion they’ll regret later.

      So many women are suffering from emotional after-effects of abortion. That too is suffered in silence. They almost never come out to admit it. Neither decision is without it’s own problems.

    • tunmi

      January 20, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      Why you always lying, stop f—ing lying…

      You do know them, they just won’t tell you. You can see it in how they treat the child, the physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse.

    • Frida

      January 22, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      @ Tunmi….what are you on about? I’m always lying? You need help.

      It’s my own opinion… Come and beat me!

  7. Tracy

    January 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    All struggles of life come with child bearing, the single person is only shamed by traditionalists and their world view. Sex is so much trouble and stress, i will rather chase my career, and drink coffee on nasau..good luck to all mothers

  8. Someone Like You

    January 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    I had an abortion to punish my soon to be ex-husband.
    I already have two kids from a previous marriage. My first husband was very abusive emotionally and he would tell me I wasn’t good enough, I was ugly, I was fat, sleep with other more attractive women openly. When he had nothing, I was everything to him. Stood by him in spite of family disapproval. Then he made tons of money and realized that I wasn’t good enough for him. I loved that man with all I had and I gave him everything but he still treated me like shit. Went on till I had a mental breakdown and tried to commit suicide. He divorced me when I was at my lowest.
    I got married again four years later to this dude who kept professing love to me. Not that I loved him-I loved him as a friend, but not as a romantic partner-now that I look back but I was grateful that someone as good and as decent as him would love someone as ugly and as damaged as me. Yet after I got married, I still couldn’t open up to my new husband because the last time I did, I got burnt badly. In his defense, he tried so hard to get me to open up and be more affectionate, plus he was good to my kids. But I just could not give to him as much as I did to my first husband because I was so scared of getting let down.
    Meanwhile, my second husband was younger than me and really, really wanted kids. I was fine with my two kids and didn’t want another because I had severe PPD with both my kids. He would beg all the time and promise that this time, it would be different. He even tried to get me to go to therapy but I refused because I was bent on not having anymore children, But finally, I figured what the hell? He’d been so good to me and my kids that the least I could do was give him the child he so badly wanted.
    Long story short, I found I was pregnant and told him. He was estatic!
    Then I found out he was cheating. I was so angry that after all the promises he made, he had still betrayed me. He was supposed to be different, but he turned out to be scum just like all the others. So I had an abortion. It was quite late when I did; 14 weeks. I made sure I gloated about it to his face and he was crushed! Especially as he had begged me to forgive him for cheating. My heart was too cold to forgive.
    We later tried to save the marriage through counseling and church and stuff but he decided that he couldn’t trust me ever again. The divorce will soon be finalized.
    The worst part is that I don’t feel terrible.

    • bea

      January 23, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Wao. this is really sad.
      I feel for you I feel for him.
      I wish you did not have to go through so much trauma to become this cold.

      Having empathized with you however, I believe it is unfair that you made the new man go through so much trauma. Your account implies that the man craved for your affection and possibly begged for it but you never gave him. He probably got pushed into infidelity by reason of your nonchalance.

      Its okay I am happy he came to his senses and realized that he deserves better than you. I wish him all the best and hope he find love again without begin revengeful on his next woman.

      For you please go for counselling and forget your ex husband. he probably does not even remember who you are anymore.

  9. Maji Orisa

    January 21, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    This is such a great article. Shit happens in life and if this shit is an unplanned pregnancy, then life goes on as long as the parties involved would wrap their heads and make the best decisions for themselves. Abortion is not always the answer and I completely agree with Frida.. ‘children are a blessing’.

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