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Navigating Anger in an Unplanned Pregnancy

Pregnancy was not your plan at this time. But here you are. The test showed positive. And you’re angry.

First of all, please know you’re not alone – either in your unplanned pregnancy or in your anger about it. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 45% of all pregnancies are unintended (27% of those are identified as “mistimed”; 18% are “unwanted”, meaning that the woman did not want to be pregnant currently or in the future). Whether mistimed or unwanted, anger can be a common response to an unintended pregnancy. Before we continue with this article and some suggestions for navigating anger in an unplanned pregnancy, we also want you to know another way in which you are not alone. Avenue Women’s Center is here to walk with you through this very difficult time.

Avenue Women’s Center has been in operation in the Chicagoland area for over thirty-five years as the first step for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. We understand that every woman’s situation is not the same; we are committed to serve you as a unique individual, with privacy, compassion, and nonjudgmental care. To discuss how we may be able to help you, please contact us today.

Successfully navigating anger begins with identifying what’s behind your emotion and then determining how to move forward with the decisions facing you. When you’re trying to accomplish that, and it feels overwhelming, it is helpful to talk through your options with someone. Having someone who’s a bit further removed from the situation than a close friend or family member can feel priceless. We are prepared to assist you in this way, and through the other services we offer!

What’s behind your anger?

In a blog entitled “What Causes You to Get Angry?” Aaron Karmin calls out some of the sources and causes of anger:

  • Frustration – This happens when you can’t control a situation. You have goals in mind for where you want to go. Instead, you feel helpless and blocked from your preferred path.
  • Disappointment – You have expectations. Sometimes a situation arises that will prevent you from achieving them in the way or in the timeframe you had anticipated. Other times, it’s a person who’s letting you down.
  • Threat to sense of security – It’s normal to want to feel safe, whether with a job, school, relationship, finances, transportation or anything else. When a problem presses in that threatens your safety, you can feel vulnerable and angry.

Karmin suggests that a common thread through all these responses is fear. In his words:

“Anger is an emotion of fear. It is a defensive response to the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability that fear produces… Some people get angry because they fear being powerless… some use anger to displace their feelings of guilt.”

Any unplanned pregnancy can certainly result in these feelings.

Many of our clients experience additional, painful reasons for being angry about the pregnancy. Maybe they were lied to by a boyfriend or husband, causing them to feel hurt or betrayed. Perhaps they survived an unwanted sexual experience. They may have already been through tremendous health or life challenges, and now pregnancy dumps in on top of everything else.

So even more than simply identifying and working through what may be behind it, how do you actually get through your anger and through your challenging situation? Earlier in this article we promised we would share some thoughts for navigating your feelings in a healthy, productive way.

How can you move forward?

  1. Survive the moment. When anger is rising and threatening to overwhelm you, consider the suggestions provided by Mayo Clinic. Our favorite of their tips include… Staying quiet until you’ve collected your thoughts, rather than lashing out at others. Utilizing “grown-up time outs” is a thing; everyone benefits when you move into some quiet time and prepare how to face what’s next. Practicing relaxation techniques can be powerful – meditation, yoga, prayer, deep breathing, listening to music – whatever helps you to get through those times where anger and fear are pressing in on you.
  2. Intentionally research and craft your best possible plan. Please contact us for a free, private, confidential pregnancy consultation. We will help you identify possible solutions. We will provide information about your pregnancy options. We will listen to you as you clarify for yourself the path that will be best for you. We will answer the questions that must be going through your mind at this highly emotional time, and we will ask you questions to help you discover things that you may not have thought of yourself.

That’s what we’re here for—for you! Please contact us by phone, text, email or chat. If you are in the Chicagoland area, we hope you will allow us to serve you.


References:

  • Guttmacher Institute. (2016, September). Unintended Pregnancy in the United States. Retrieved from: https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states?gclid=CPPyv7mgsdQCFQeBaQodVkQNqQ
  • PyschCentral. What Causes You to Get Angry?. Retrieved from: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/anger/2016/02/what-causes-you-to-get-angry/
  • Mayo Clinic. (2017, March). Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/anger-management/art-20045434?pg=1
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.

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