Grief is an emotional, psychological, and sometimes even physical and spiritual experience that every person encounters in life. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines it as, “the anguish experienced after significant loss, usually the death of a beloved person.” It doesn’t have to be associated with the passing of a loved one, however. Grief may be a natural response to any form of loss, such as, “the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft or the loss of independence through disability” (Mayo Clinic). It can, “take the form of… remorse for something done, or sorrow for a mishap to oneself” (APA). Grief can also describe a person’s process of mourning the life that she “had” before an unexpected pregnancy took place.
Are you dealing with feelings of sadness and grief after learning about an unexpected pregnancy, because you miss the way your life was before this discovery? Your emotions are real and valid. But know that you’re facing a hopeful future, despite any challenges you may face. Avenue Women’s Center is here to help you find your footing and lean into a pregnancy outcome that you feel at peace with.
Learn more about Avenue Women’s Center! We’ve been providing no-cost early pregnancy support to persons experiencing an unexpected pregnancy since 1981.
Considering What You’ve Lost, and What You Have to Gain
What aspects of your “life before pregnancy” have you lost, that you long for now? There are no right or wrong answers to this question. Your response will probably be influenced by factors like your personality, your life experiences, and which pregnancy outcome(s) you’re leaning towards. Maybe you miss the days when you didn’t have to worry about a pregnancy decision. Chances are, some of the characteristics of “life before pregnancy” will return- whether you choose abortion, adoption, or parenting. Perhaps there are new good things to be gained through this experience, as hard as this may be to imagine. It isn’t human nature to see the future through a positive framework when we’re “in the trenches” and facing unpredictable times ahead. But the truth is, the future can never be known, even when the path is smooth and seems to be headed in a positive direction. Maybe your best approach is to confront the challenges of life one step at a time, with a posture of acceptance, gratitude, and confidence.
Coping with Your Grief and Your Unexpected Pregnancy
Developing a “posture of acceptance, gratitude, and confidence” is easier said than done. But there are small actions you can take to develop this mindset and move toward an outcome you feel good about. Here are some tips that may help you in your coping and decision-making processes as you continue to navigate this unexpected pregnancy.
Learn about your unique pregnancy, and all the options and resources available to you. At Avenue, we believe that an informed perspective is an empowered perspective. We’re available to help you determine where you stand and discover all the possibilities ahead of you.
Chances are, you have a lot to process. It’s important to carefully consider your feelings regarding this pregnancy, your hopes for the future, and your values and beliefs. If grieving any kind of loss has been a part of your pregnancy journey, it may be helpful to process that too. Remember, the grieving process looks different for every individual. So, allow yourself to grieve in whatever way feels natural to you, without judging yourself. Give yourself permission to reflect on your loss for as long as you need. And consider confiding in someone you trust (for most of us, that’s key to coping effectively). Share your thoughts and feelings with a caring mentor, professional counselor, faith leader, or pregnancy consultant.
Take tangible steps forward. This may be as simple as calling or texting a pregnancy center, keeping a follow-up appointment, or applying for a new community resource. It’s difficult to self-motivate when circumstances feel overwhelming. But taking clear steps forward may equip you to grow in confidence and take ownership of your health and wellness. Our team at Avenue is here to meet you with empathy in whatever headspace you find yourself. No judgment. Just caring support.
You may feel like you’re grieving a life that no longer exists. But, in reality, it’s the same life that you’ve always had, and it’s full of promise. Your path has just taken some challenging and unexpected turns. (That’s probably happened before, even if this is the first unexpected pregnancy you’ve faced.) Know that you don’t have to “have it all together” or figure this out on your own. There may be some compassionate and encouraging people already in your life or your community who can walk this road by your side. And no matter what your existing support network looks like, Avenue Women’s Center is in your corner too.
- American Psychological Association. (2022, August). Grief. Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/topics/grief
- Mayo Clinic. (2016, October). What is grief? Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/support-groups/what-is-grief
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.