Whoops! 6 Tips for Dealing With An Unplanned Pregnancy
Let's face it, sometimes pregnancies are planned with every intention, and sometimes, not so much. The world is full of "surprise blessings," even in my home. According to the National Survey of Family Growth, nearly half of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) are unintended. So if you are struggling to accept an unplanned pregnancy, the greatest comfort may just be knowing that you are not alone.
Many times, a woman just worries that the timing is just all wrong! Maybe you just moved. Maybe your career is just taking off. Maybe you are having marital or other relationship problems. And in this economy, you may have the added stress of a recent job loss or reduced hours that make the prospect of having another mouth to feed or being out on maternity leave a very frightening and stressful concept.
Other moms, who already had children, just considered themselves "done" and put the thought of crying babies, late night feedings, and diaper Genies completely out of their minds. Either way, you didn't see this one coming!
Perhaps your biggest anxiety is your spouse's response. He may not be so excited about your pregnancy right now. A man's anxiety about fatherhood often stems from financial concerns and worries over how he will provide. He may even blame you and/or resent you. Do not let him play the blame game. It still takes two to make a baby so there is a shared responsibility. Take responsibility for your actions and ask him to do the same, remembering that finger pointing and wallowing in guilt are not going to change anything.
I remember when one of my girlfriends became pregnant after being married for only three months. She really struggled to feel good about her pregnancy. Even though her husband was happy and supportive, she couldn't help but feel secretly saddened. In fact, his excitement made her feel more guilty and upset. "We just got married. After investing so much time into finding a life partner, I couldn't believe that my plans for how I envisioned married life were ruined. We wanted to travel, live abroad, drive cross country," she said to me. "We had a small apartment and were financially recovering from an expensive wedding and honeymoon...I just couldn't believe it!" She faked excitement to her friends and family but she spent most of her time alone in tears.
It took several months for my firend to get over her negative thoughts. She forced herself to eat healthy meals, but was really motivated by duty. However, she really turned the corner when her belly swelled and ultimately when she got her first little kick. That was it!! From that day forward, she realized that it was time to stop whining about what didn't go as planned and focus on the beautiful experience she was missing out on.
You can get over any negative feelings too!
1. Think positive. Negative feelings can be so overwhelming we forget that we have options. You can choose to respond and act differently. The next time you're feeling negative thoughts, stop yourself and ask, "Can I respond differently this time? How can I adjust my thinking?"
2. Hype yourself up! Immerse yourself in the wonderful world of maternity and motherhood. Get the magazines, books, go online and soak up all the positive information about pregnancy you can find.
3. Be honest. Don't add more stress to the situation by keeping up a pretense of happiness. You are not the first person to have ambivalent or negative feelings about pregnancy. Try this, "It's an adjustment, but I'm getting there."
4. Do Something. When you start to feel sad, go for a stroll in a local baby store, to oooh and aaahh over all the cute baby outfits you'll be buying soon. If it works with your budget, buy a small item like booties or a bib.
5. Count your blessings. Reality check girlfriend! Think of the millions of women out there who are desperately trying to conceive. They spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments or fly across the world in search of a baby to call their own. Consider yourself blessed to have conceived.
6. Get help if you need it. If your feelings toward your pregnancy prevent you from taking care of yourself--eating properly, seeing your doctor or linger into your second trimester, then you should consider talking to a professional as soon as possible.
Are there any "surprise blessings" in your family? How did you cope?