“My feelings change daily about this pregnancy.” We understand! Pregnancy is a life-altering event. If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, the challenge is immensely greater. You may have thought you knew what you would do if this happened, but now that it has, are you less certain? It’s no surprise when your feelings about it are changing daily, hourly, from moment to moment.
Since 1981, Avenue Women’s Center has been active in the Chicagoland area, working with women facing the dilemma of an unplanned pregnancy. If you are in this situation and struggling with ever changing—even conflicting—feelings and more, we are here for you. Are you fearful about a suspected pregnancy that’s not yet been confirmed? We offer a free medical-grade pregnancy test that’s accurate ten days after the possible time of conception. Is your pregnancy confirmed, but you are struggling to determine the best thing for you to do in this unanticipated circumstance? A free, no-obligation, private consultation, including pregnancy options information, is available with a trained client advocate at any one of our five DuPage County offices. Please contact us today for the assistance you need at this time.
Feelings in themselves are neither “good” nor “bad.” They’re just part of us. They’re part of being human. Our feelings become a problem only when they paralyze us or prevent us from taking action that needs to be taken. If yours is an unplanned pregnancy, what are your feelings that are changing daily? Shock? Fear? Disbelief? Do you feel you must end the pregnancy? Are you uncertain what you really want? Concerns about the future? Relationships? Finances? Is there a sense of loss for a dream or an envisioned future that now may not come about? Along with this, is there a hint of positive excitement at the possibility of an unanticipated detour in your life? All are completely plausible. Your kaleidoscope of feelings, however, must not negate the need to make decisions and take action.
How do we respond? Consider this quote from author Jonatan Mårtensson: “Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.” The truth is, we must choose.
Decisions about your next steps ultimately are your own. At the same time, there are resources that can help in the process of making those decisions. Among her recommendations for “How to Mindfully Make Important Life Decisions,” developmental psychologist Dr. Deborah L. Davis shares these thoughts in the June 30, 2017 issue of Psychology Today:
- Slow down. – Unless immediate, emergency action is necessary, “take the time you need to reflect on your priorities, your goals, and your values. Let the options percolate in your mind as you take stock of your strengths and talents, as well as your true interests and desires. Your slow, deliberate reflection can grant you clarity.”
- Accept that making important decisions can be hard. – “Instead of wishing a big decision were easier, honor the fact that it’s not, nor should it be. Embrace the thoughts and feelings you have as a testament to the significance of this crossroads.”
- Breathe. – “If you’re faced with an opportunity that involves leaving your comfort zone, it’s normal to feel hesitant or fearful at the prospect….But how can you tell if you’re cringing because it’s requiring you to stretch and grow, or cringing because it’s truly not right for you? Here’s how: Physiologically, the difference between fear and excitement is breath. In other words, if something seems scary, by mindfully taking some deep breaths, you may transform your fear into excitement. With deep breathing comes relaxation, which can change your thoughts from ‘Danger: Do not proceed’ to ‘Thrilling: Proceed with excitement!” But what if it’s truly scary and not right for you? You’ll remain hesitant or fearful. The wisdom in your gut will see to that.’
- Ask others to tell you about hard decisions they’ve faced. “It can be immensely helpful to hear other people reflect on the choices they’ve made. Doing so can help you mindfully reflect on your options, and others’ insights may lend clarity to the choices you face.”
To these we would add:
- Remember, feelings are temporary. Decisions are permanent.
- Know your options. Get the details. Avoid the mistake of choosing a path without being aware of all that may be part of it.
- Know yourself. Hone in on your principles and core values. Ensure that what you do is consistent with who you are. Although circumstances can change, staying true to yourself is a most important component.
- Play out your options into the future. Take a long view, paying close attention to the “you” you would be in each scenario.
Changing feelings and daunting decisions are an expected part of an unexpected pregnancy. However, you need not make this journey alone. We hope you will allow us at Avenue Women’s Center to come beside you as you navigate the complex road ahead. Reach out to us by call, text, email or chat. It will be our honor to serve you!
- Psychology Today. (2017, June). How to Mindfully Make Important Life Decisions. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/laugh-cry-live/201706/how-mindfully-make-important-life-decisions
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.