I am 18 and pregnant and pretty much freaking out! I haven’t finished high school, I have no job, and I am still living with my parents. How am I going to take care of a child when I can’t even take care of myself?
Where am I going to live? How am I going to finish school? How am I going to pay for a doctor? How am I going to buy diapers and all the other things that a baby needs? What does a baby need? Should I tell the father of this baby? Should I get an abortion? Should I give it up for adoption? Should I keep it?
These questions and many others is what I was thinking when I found out I was pregnant and I bet these are some of the questions going through your mind right now, but the biggest one is, “I am 18 and pregnant, what should I do?”.
The First Step.
Well the first thing you should do is go see a doctor (which you can do without your parents present) to confirm you really are pregnant because home tests are not always accurate and having a period or not is not 100% either. If you don’t have health insurance or you’re on your parent’s insurance and don’t want them knowing yet, you can locate a free clinic like the health department and have them do a blood test.
Now that you have confirmed you are definitely pregnant, try to calm down so that you can think straight and figure some things out.
When I found out I was pregnant I was almost 2 months along already and I was freaking out so I went to the one person I knew that wasn’t going to judge me, berate me, or make me feel any worse than I already felt and in my case that happened to be my mother. I had to tell someone else so I didn’t feel so alone and confused, someone that would allow me to get it all off my chest and help me calm down so I could make a decision.
This is a huge decision that you have to make so you definitely don’t want to make it on the whim and out of fear, anxiety, and with an unclear head. It doesn’t have to be your mother if you feel that she is just going to get upset at you instead of helping you.
If your parents are those kinds of parents I would suggest waiting to talk to them about it until after you have thought about everything and have a clear plan in your mind and please don’t let them make up your mind for you or talk you out of what you want to do. This is your decision, your body, your responsibility, not theirs, and if you let someone else make the decision for you then you will grow to resent them. You are young but you are still an adult.
I know that is scary because you live under their roof which means you have to follow their rules and they may not like your decision and tell you to get out.
Even though you love your parents do you really want that kind of love in your life or your baby’s life? Remember a parent’s love is supposed to be unconditional and they may eventually come around to accept it and regret their decision because most of the time they end up doing what I just recommended you don’t do, make a decision out of fear, anger, disappointment, and with an unclear mind. Just give them some time, you have to do what is best for you.
What Should You Do?
I can’t tell you what to do but I can give you some things to think about to help make your decision a little easier to make and I can be your friend if you have yet to find someone you can talk to.
In order to figure out what you should do there are some things that you will need to ask yourself.
- How do you feel about abortion? For me I couldn’t see myself being able to do this without feeling like I was doing something bad. I just felt too guilty and I hadn’t even done anything yet. I don’t judge those that choose this option because I believe that people have a right to make their own decisions and it is not my place to judge them for that decision. So, please don’t worry about what others think about you if this is the decision you make because I am sure that they have done things in their life that others have thought was wrong too.
- Do you think you can carry this child for 9 months and give it to someone else? This was another option that was not in the cards for me because I knew that after 9 months of growing this precious gift in my belly, feeling it move around, going through everything that a pregnancy makes you go through, that I could not give it to someone else. However, I am a big believer in giving a child up for adoption instead of terminating the pregnancy because there are so many women out there who can’t have a child of their own. There is nothing wrong with giving your child up for adoption and making sure they have a better life than what you can provide. That makes you a good person, not a bad one. I just couldn’t do it myself because I am a very sentimental and emotional person and I knew deep down in my heart that it would destroy me seeing someone walk off with my baby.
- Do you think you can give up just about everything to make sure your baby has everything they need? This one here is a really hard one. I was a person who loved to go out and loved my freedom to do whatever I wanted to do because I had only me to worry about. I chose to have my baby and raise her myself but I didn’t learn the consequences of continuing to live my life the way I was before I got pregnant until I almost lost my baby. So you have to think about this for awhile, I mean really think about this because you will have to give up quite a lot so that your child has everything they need including you.
These questions are the main ones, in my opinion, that you need to ask yourself before deciding on whether you are going to keep the baby or not. There are other questions to ask yourself as well but these are the biggest ones you need to ask yourself because the other questions are ones that can be solved fairly easily, like financial questions, father questions, living arrangements, school, etc. You can also find out more information from one of my other articles here.
Should You Tell The Father?
ABSOLUTELY!! Yes, it is your body and your decision to make whether you want to keep the baby or not, but I do believe that a father has the right to know that there is a possibility that he may be a father. I believe that he has a right to way in on the decision because it affects his life as well. He can’t make the decision for you, but he has a right to know and let you know his feelings about it.
There are men out there who are complete you know whats and will make it difficult on you, deny that he is the father, and try to make you look bad, but if you are absolutely sure he is the father than you have nothing to worry about and don’t need to pay attention to his fearful decision-making and jerkiness because the truth will come out in the end.
I told the father of my daughter right away and we weren’t together anymore, but I felt he had the right to know especially since I had already decided that I was keeping her. I recommend that you do the same, wait until you have made a decision and have a plan in place and then tell him so you can give him all the details and he can see that you have thought about this long and hard. Reassure him that you are not looking for him to marry you or be with you again if you decide to keep the baby. Give him details on why you are making the decision you are making.
If you decide not to keep the baby then ask him for his support whether emotionally or financially but that you have decided you are not ready to be a parent and think that this is best. Try to be civil about it and listen to his concerns or feelings as well, he may surprise you and be okay with it or he may ask if you would let him raise the baby instead. If he becomes a jerk about it, walk away and never look back.
My experience was not so great when I told the father of my daughter on what I was planning on doing, but I put my foot down and grabbed whatever strength I had and told him that I wanted to keep my baby and it was his decision on whether he wanted to be a part of her life or not, but I wasn’t going to force him to be. In the beginning he wasn’t there, but after he had calmed down and met our daughter he was okay. Unfortunately he didn’t remain in her life consistently, but I made up for that and my daughter was okay.
I Decided To Keep The Baby, Now What?
So I made the biggest decision of my life, to keep my baby and raise her on my own, but how was I going to do this? I had no job, no high school diploma, and I was still living with my parents. It wasn’t their responsibility and I shouldn’t be putting this on them, but I had no way to get my own place and I had no idea on how to raise a child.
So, the first thing I needed to do was figure out how I was going to financially handle all of this. I stayed with my parents throughout the pregnancy and my mother helped me through it all, but you may not have this option and that is okay because there may be other options for you.
Do you have a friend that you may be able to stay with until you find your own place? Ask around. I know this may be hard to do, but remind yourself that you have a responsibility now and you have to do what is best for this child and that means sucking up your pride and asking who ever you can ask. By the way, this is also an opportunity to weed out the real friends from the fakers because your real friends are going to be there for you and stick by you, where the fakers are suddenly not available.
If you have no one that is able to help you with a temporary place to stay than reach out to your state agencies, call them all, because they will be able to help you during and after your pregnancy. They will give you all the resources you need to get on your feet and raise this baby. That is what I did and I made sure to use all of my resources until I could do it all on my own.
I remained on state aid until I got my GED, got a decent job, and my income based apartment. Once I had all of those things I got off of state aid and proceeded to handle everything on my own.
I know people look down on others who are on state aid, but I didn’t care because I was doing what was best for my baby and they helped give me the skills I needed to raise a child and the skills I needed to land that decent job. That is what they are there for, to help us be self-sufficient. So take advantage of that, but make sure to get off of it when you don’t need it anymore because they are there to help, not to take care of you for the rest of your life.
It Isn’t Going To Be Easy.
This decision isn’t going to be an easy one and may take you longer than a day or two to make it, but I promise it isn’t the end of the world.
I hope you choose to keep the baby but if you don’t please make sure that you find someone to talk to because you will be emotionally drained and your decision may bring up some underlying issues of depression, guilt, self-hatred, etc. It is a hard and stressful decision to make, but remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, it only matters what you think. It is your decision to make.
There is no right or wrong decision to make when you are 18 and pregnant, but there is a time limit on making this decision. So, after you have gotten through your initial panic, sit down and answer all of those questions because only you can answer them.
It is okay to be scared, just don’t let that fear control you and don’t let your pride take over and refuse to get help. You are not alone. So keep calm and reach out for help if you need it.
Remember, you are not a bad person because you got yourself knocked up. People make mistakes, that is what makes us human.
If you feel that you are still having a hard time after reading this article or have any questions at all please reach out to me in the comments below or you can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a mother 4 children and have done it alone for most of their lives so I know how it feels and I will always be here for anyone that is looking for advice and I will not judge you.