Moms with an unplanned pregnancy may disregard the fetus resulting in decreased physical and mental health. Whether the pregnancy is intended or not, moms are expected to take care of their babies. If this happens to you, recognize the early signs of psychological turmoil due to an unintended pregnancy.
For many couples, pregnancy is expected, awaited, and encouraging news. But, this is not the case when the pregnancy is unexpected.
According to psychologists, an unexpected pregnancy has the potential to make you feel guilty. Your mind may take you to wonder with what-ifs.
“What if I weren’t pregnant. What if I didn’t do that. What if I had taken birth control.”
Although the expected baby boom due to the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t pan out, unplanned pregnancy still happens to many women in their 20s, according to statistics.
In 2011, nearly half of the pregnancies in the United States were unintended. It means, 1 in 2 women have had an unplanned pregnancy. With a statistic that high, you may think that this topic is well-covered.
Unplanned pregnancy is still a less-discussed topic in society. Even less, the psychological effects of an unplanned pregnancy.
What Are the Effects of an Unplanned Pregnancy?
Child and family psychologists say that an unplanned pregnancy definitely has a psychological impact on you as well as your partner.
Unplanned pregnancy is shocking and it causes confusion. Confusion creates pressure we call stress.
Talking to your partner about the unplanned pregnancy may help you navigate through the problem and come up together with a solution.
Psychological burden is not to be taken lightly. An unplanned pregnancy can exhaust your mind and body. Recognizing the early sign of psychological turmoil allows you to identify when you need help.
Refer to the explanation below to learn how unplanned pregnancy affects your psychological state and behavior as a mom.
#1. Uninterested in Maintaining Healthy Pregnancy
Something that was out of the plan is generally difficult to accept. You may reject the presence of your baby and do things resulting in harming both of you.
For example, you may keep doing bad habits such as smoking, refusing to drink folate acid, insisting on consuming alcohol, and other unwise behavior.
The reduced interest in maintaining this unplanned pregnancy is one of the psychological impacts that will adversely affect your health and the fetus’.
#2. Depression in Pregnancy
You may continually blame yourself for what happened. You may reject the reality and make poor decisions to avert your mind.
Eventually, this behavior will lead to depression during pregnancy, resulting in even poorer decisions. Your decision as a pregnant mom—albeit unplanned—affects the baby’s physical and mental development in the womb.
#3. Experiencing Difficulty Living the Roles
This may not seem like good news. After giving birth, your depression can continue.
Experts agree there is still a risk of postpartum depression after childbirth. If you have depression, you may experience various difficulties in your role as both a wife and a mother.
As a wife, you may experience feelings of resentment and guilt. This combination can ignite another problem within the relationship between you and your partner.
As a mother, you are expected to nurture and raise the kids. Your partner may be there as well to help you manage the household situation, but there are things only you can do.
You may also experience difficulty in your career as the presence of your child may prevent you to go back to work for at least 12 weeks.
#4. Mental Health Problems
Now, when all the problems are not handled properly and continue to happen, your satisfaction with yourself as a mom will be lower.
Due to various kinds of regrets, your psychological well-being has decreased. It may also lower your life quality as well as your baby’s.
Experts suggest couples with an unplanned pregnancy to accept the situation and to have a look from another point of view. Some couples see unplanned pregnancy as a surprising gift they don’t expect that turns into a blessing.
Continue to reject the pregnancy will only make things worse. Although the choice of abortion is the easiest solution you can take, it is not always the best choice.
Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortions
There is still debate among people whether or not abortions should be legal. The abortion pros and cons may vary depending on your situation.
According to Guttmacher Institute, 42% of unplanned pregnancies in 2011 ended in abortion while 58% ended in birth.
Shockingly, many women have taken the choice of abortion and feel no guilt or remorse about it.
Research with 667 women who had abortions states that 84% of women had either positive or neutral feelings about their choice. Women experience more relief at all times, even five years after the abortion.
Julia Steinberg, a researcher at the University of Maryland says that abortion does not lead to decision regret or negative emotions. Most women overwhelmingly feel the decision was the right one even if they had difficulty making it.
Should I Do Abortion Surgery?
Although abortion may seem like a good idea and the easiest solution to your current problem, it doesn’t have to be your choice. There are always risks of abortion you need to contemplate.
The people and the culture around you may push you to feel a certain way about your unplanned pregnancy. They may say you should just get an abortion and get over it.
But the emotional wreckage abortion can cause you cannot be simply be put aside. Although you think you will have a positive attitude about your upcoming abortion, it can shift into pain, guilt, and grief that leave you hopeless.
Abortions may leave you empty with a big gap within your heart. You may feel even more guilty and depressed while what you seek is actually hope, healing, and comfort.
From a physical health perspective, abortion can also be harmful to your womb, fertility, or complications in later pregnancy.
Doctors may allow you to perform an abortion when you or your baby is in danger due to this pregnancy. But when there is no harm in continuing the pregnancy, it is wiser to see this pregnancy as a gift.
You may not accept this pregnancy now. Give it time and you may change your mind.
Besides, there is no guarantee that your problem will disappear once the fetus is gone. Learn to manage your psychological stress and build a support system around you.
How Do I Deal With an Unwanted Pregnancy?
- Take care of your physical and emotional needs.
- Share with the people you feel most comfortable telling.
- Talk to other moms (either online or in-person) who have experienced a similar situation.
- Surround yourself with your support system.
- Don’t panic and make rush decisions.
- Talk to your partner about it.
- Check if your pregnancy is healthy.
- Visit healthcare providers to validate your pregnancy.
- Write down things that worry you.
An unplanned pregnancy can be scary if you are inexperienced. Everyone feels that way. No one is actually ready to be a parent, even though they plan their pregnancies.
If you are worried about supporting and nurturing a child, remember that most parents experience that. Get support and learn about parenting skills from classes, online, or this site.
Unplanned pregnancies can affect your mental health. You may be uninterested in maintaining a healthy pregnancy, feel depressed, or worrying about the future.
Make sure to recognize the early signs of psychological turmoil resulting from unintended pregnancy, and seek help from healthcare providers to help you overcome the problem.
Although abortion is an easy option, it doesn’t have to be your choice. Consider the risk factor and how it affects your physical health, mental state, and future pregnancy.
Visit your gynecologist to validate your pregnancy. Take care of your physical and emotional needs, first and foremost, to help you deal with an unintended pregnancy.
Surround yourself with people you are most comfortable sharing the story with and seek a support system for yourself.