When women face an unplanned pregnancy, there are often difficult life circumstances or trying obstacles involved. Issues such as housing concerns, lack of family or partner support, financial worries, and conflict with educational or career goals are just a few of the complicated challenges that may need to be addressed. What are some of the common hurdles women and their partners face with dealing with an unplanned pregnancy?
Caring Network is a Chicagoland faith-based non-profit that comes alongside women and their partners who are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. By providing free services and emotional support, we help remove some of the obstacles that arise, enabling more choices for life. For more information on our services or to learn how to get involved, contact us today.
UNPLANNED PREGNANCIES INCREASE
There are more than two million unplanned pregnancies in the United States each year, and that is expected to continue to increase since the pandemic began. A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report predicted seven million unplanned pregnancies in the first six months of the pandemic lock-down. More than half of those pregnancies would end in abortion due to difficulties.
SIX COMMON OBSTACLES IN AN UNPLANNED PREGNANCY
There are many barriers women confront when dealing with unplanned pregnancies. Here are six common obstacles in an unplanned pregnancy:
The Elliot Institute is an evidence-based organization supporting research on the hidden epidemic of coerced and forced abortions in the United States.
It might be stunning to learn that most abortions in America involve coercion. Coercion can be from overt force or more subtly implied, but it’s common and can lead to violence. Sadly, homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women.
According to the Elliot Institute, women reported after their abortions:
- Up to 83% of their abortions were unwanted
- 64% felt pressured by others to have an abortion
- 67% had no counseling before their abortions
- 79% were not given information about alternatives to abortion
- 84% said they could not make an informed choice because they weren’t given enough information
We have tremendous opportunities to come alongside women facing unexpected pregnancies by empowering them with education and practical resources, so they have the freedom to choose life for their babies.
2. HOUSING CONCERNS
An unplanned pregnancy can occur in any age group or cultural demographic; however, the highest percentage in the U.S. is often women under the age of 24. Therefore, stable housing is a crucial consideration.
There are familiar themes to questions women are concerned about. Will my parents kick me out if I have a baby? Is my current apartment able to hold an additional person? Would my boyfriend still want to live together if we have a child?
Instability in a housing situation can easily influence a pregnancy decision. It’s important to help women gain access to stable, secure housing options when facing a pregnancy decision.
3. RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER OF THE BABY
Relational concerns are another huge factor. An unplanned pregnancy can call into question the status of the relationship itself. It can also uncover underlying issues that were previously hidden.
What does the father of the baby think? Do we have a future together? Will that be impacted by the choice made regarding the pregnancy?
It’s common for women to be pressured or coerced into abortion by their partners. Partners commonly threaten to leave pregnant women if they continue the pregnancy. Women need support in excluding partners’ threats from their decision-making process for two reasons:
- a coercive partner is not emotionally healthy for her, and
- the chances of a relationship lasting between her and an emotionally unhealthy partner are unlikely — regardless of her decision
Sometimes, in an effort to be supportive, men may feel like their appropriate response is to say, “whatever you decide is fine,” while women may view that response as a lack of interest or concern for the situation. For pregnant women, their partner’s support (or lack thereof) can mean the difference of choosing life or abortion. A relationship’s dynamics play a significant role in the pregnancy decision, and guidance to sort those out is essential.
4. LACK OF FAMILY SUPPORT
In addition to partner involvement, family support is vital in an unplanned pregnancy. So often, women rely upon others in their lives to come alongside them during this critical time. If their parents or other significant family members are pressuring them to make a particular decision or are threatening to pull their support, that can make or break a pregnancy decision.
Women face homelessness and poverty when they choose life for their babies without family support.
5. FINANCIAL CONCERNS
Financial concerns and the inability to afford a child are important considerations in a pregnancy decision. Perhaps a woman is already facing job insecurity or underemployment. When you add an unplanned pregnancy into the mix, it may be difficult to imagine the financial feasibility of taking care of a child. The underlying fear is understandable.
For this reason, pregnancy resource centers need to have connections to agencies and organizations in the community that can offer tangible help to new moms and families (provide material goods like diapers or clothing, baby furniture, provide transportation assistance, etc.). When women know they aren’t alone, it can ease the fear of facing the financial burdens that accompany a new baby.
6. LIFE GOALS – EDUCATION, CAREER
One of the fears women face when encountered by an unplanned pregnancy is the possibility of losing their dreams. How will this pregnancy impact their ability to move forward with their goals of career or education?
Although those goals are not impossible to achieve while parenting, the reality is, there will be potential delays or setbacks. Many local community colleges, like the College of DuPage in suburban DuPage County, offer night classes, and many courses are now taught virtually, so options for flexible education schedules do exist. Simply coming alongside women to help them envision a new future as a mom is an essential step of pregnancy counseling.
Caring Network helps women overcome the obstacles of an unplanned pregnancy. Through supportive services, compassionate care, and community resources, we come alongside women and their partners in a crucial time of need. If you’d like to join in our work through partnership, volunteering, or prayer, reach out today!