Is your family going through a really stressful season right now? Maybe you and your loved ones are grieving a loss or facing overwhelming financial challenges. Perhaps family members’ difficult behaviors are creating tension and disharmony. If you’re unexpectedly (and secretly) pregnant under circumstances like these, ending the pregnancy discreetly may seem like your clearest path forward. You may be thinking: “Carrying to term would only increase the stress my family is under. So, maybe having an abortion- without telling my loved ones that I was ever pregnant- would be in their best interest.” But navigating this pregnancy journey with caution is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. A well-thought-out, unhurried approach will likely help you avoid stress in the long run.
Avenue Women’s Center exists to help women facing circumstances like yours take informed next steps while embracing their autonomy. Your pregnancy decision matters, so it’s really important to carefully process a choice for abortion, adoption, or parenting. Our expert staff at Avenue aims to provide the reliable information and caring support you need to identify your own best path.
Learn more about our free, confidential services! They’re designed to give an accurate picture of where you stand with your pregnancy and what your options are. We believe that “knowledge is power.” And everyone deserves the opportunity to make an empowered pregnancy decision.
The Motivation Behind Your Pregnancy Decision Matters
Whether you’re most concerned about your partner, your kids, your parents, or your siblings, family stress can be a really heavy emotional burden to bear. As humans, it hurts us deeply to see the people that we love under pressure and struggling emotionally. Quietly ending your pregnancy may seem like a way to gain control and limit your family’s stress at a time when you may feel powerless. However, letting your perception of others’ wants or needs drive your pregnancy decision-making process is problematic for several reasons:
- This pregnancy choice is about you and your well-being, first and foremost. Your physical and emotional health will be affected by the outcome (in the present and the future), far more than your family members’.
- Your views on what your family wants or needs may be imperfect or incomplete. You’re only human, after all! You’re seeing your circumstances through your own limited perspective, just like everyone else in your family. Plus… it isn’t your responsibility to mitigate everyone else’s stress. Managing stress is something every individual is accountable for on a personal level.
- Your decision may not lead to the outcome you want or expect. That’s true no matter what. But if your choice is based on what you believe someone else wants or needs at a given time, and things turn out differently than planned, you may be more prone to develop feelings of resentment.
It Matters Who You Confide In (And That You Confide in Someone)
Every person’s set of circumstances is completely unique. Telling your family about your unexpected pregnancy may or may not be the best route for you, but it’s important to confide in someone you trust. Here are some reasons why keeping your pregnancy a total secret may not be the wisest course:
- If you keep this information to yourself, you’ll probably pass up many opportunities to receive support (emotional, practical, financial, etc.).
- You’ll have nobody to process your situation with or bounce your ideas off of. It’s natural for people to become stuck and overwhelmed when they’re trying to figure everything out on their own.
- Generally, being honest and transparent with loved ones (to a degree) about the hard things in life is good for relationships. Opening up to the right person may be healthy for you (which is the main goal), but it may benefit the other individual as well. Consider asking yourself if it may be helpful to process these circumstances with one or more members of your family.
Embracing Your Autonomy
There are times when it’s appropriate, even noble, to let go of something for your family’s sake. You probably have intentions to help your family thrive. But this unexpected pregnancy is one of those times when it’s very important to be mindful of your own needs, desires, beliefs and instincts, and to let these motivate your decision. Maybe it’s best to accept that your control (over your circumstances, future, family stress, etc.) is limited. But there is much that you do have autonomy over. Lean into your self-sufficiency by learning about your pregnancy and all the possibilities that lay before you.
At Avenue Women’s Center, we strongly believe that every woman deserves to feel educated about her pregnancy, her options, and all the resources available to her. That’s why we offer practical, no-cost services like pregnancy consultations, medical-grade pregnancy tests, and limited medical ultrasounds. Our caring staff is here to listen as you process your family situation and your next steps. We’ll help you develop your strengths and deepen your knowledge to forge the path that’s right for you, no matter how much stress you and your loved ones are under.
Reach out to schedule an appointment at one of our six Chicagoland limited medical clinics!
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.