Facing an unexpected pregnancy can bring about many emotional and psychological changes. It truly can seem like a crisis. Many women never thought they would experience an unexpected pregnancy, and are now forced to wrestle with the implications on their own life, their relationships, and their goals. Understanding the unique reality of an unexpected pregnancy can help us address individual concerns to promote choices for life.
Caring Network operates six pregnancy resource centers in the Chicagoland area. Since 1981, we have been reaching women and their partners right where they are, providing them with tailored resources and support to last throughout their unexpected pregnancy. To learn more about our ministry and how to get involved, contact us today.
Pregnancy as a Crisis: Everything is Changing
Imagine having a plan for the future and suddenly, in the few minutes it takes to administer a pregnancy test, you realize everything may change. The relationship you were so excited about may not survive the shocking news. The job you just accepted may not provide enough income for an additional family member. The plans to graduate, relocate, start a business, or finally pursue a life goal are threatened. Your family or friends may not understand or be supportive. On top of all this, your body is already changing, adapting to the fluctuations of hormones with fatigue, nausea, and other physical symptoms. You can’t help but feel that EVERYTHING has suddenly changed.
By placing ourselves in the shoes of the women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, we are better able to sympathize with their thoughts and feelings. What is it like to navigate a pregnancy decision when it feels like so much is at risk? Women coming into our centers often report feeling scared, overwhelmed, stressed, and alone.
Pregnancy as a Crisis: Death to Self
On top of the potential changes to life circumstances, there are unique mental stressors that present themselves. Psychologically, an unexpected pregnancy can represent a “death to self” to the woman experiencing it. Not only does she have the potential to lose relationships or a change in her life status, she has the potential to lose her identity. Who she is at her core may not be congruent with her current situation (facing an unplanned pregnancy with all of its implications). The Vitae Foundation, a pro-life organization dedicated to research-based messaging for pregnancy centers, puts it this way:
“Unplanned motherhood, according to the study, represents a threat so great to modern women that it is perceived as equivalent to a “death of self.” While the woman may rationally understand this is not her own literal death, her emotional, subconscious reaction to carrying the child to term is that her life will be “over.” This is because many young women of today have developed a self-identity that simply does not include being a mother. It may include going through college, getting a degree, obtaining a good job, even getting married someday; but the sudden intrusion of motherhood is perceived as a complete loss of control over their present and future selves. It shatters their sense of who they are and will become, and thereby paralyzes their ability to think more rationally or realistically.”
By understanding the unique fears and grief involved with an unexpected pregnancy, barriers to choosing life can be addressed directly. Creating a safe, welcoming environment where women can discuss their unique concerns is a first step. Pregnancy centers all across the country strive to be a refuge for women to turn to in times of chaos to find a place to decompress. In a season of life where so much is up in the air, it’s important to have a safe, welcoming place to turn.
For almost 40 years, Caring Network has been a refuge for women facing the crisis of an unexpected pregnancy. Our pregnancy centers provide a safe, comfortable place where clients can address their individual questions and concerns, while receiving information and support. To learn more about our organization or to partner in fulfilling our mission and vision, check out our Get Involved page.
Vitae Foundation. Abortion: A Failure to Communicate. Retrieved from: https://vitaefoundation.org/abortion-a-failure-to-communicate