Abortion. Adoption. It takes just 3 syllables each to utter such life-changing words. Yet since the little red line showed up on the pregnancy test those words have circled like vultures in your mind, and each one has its own pair of angels and demons.
If you caught your pregnancy within the first 10 weeks, something called a medical abortion is available. It’s a two-pill treatment for $600 and it will end the pregnancy. “No one would know.” It comes with it’s own set of warnings, and profuse bleeding and pain is pretty much guaranteed, but then this chapter would be over. No worries about child support or daycare in 9-months, or all the check-ups and doctor bills before then. The abortion pill boasts, “1 extremely painful period and done.”
After 10 weeks surgical abortion is the only way to induce a termination. I will not write about the process because it’s dangerous and scarring for all involved. I highly, highly discourage surgical abortion. If you’re considering it, please thoroughly research the process to decide for yourself. Like the pills, surgical abortion comes with a list of warnings and possible lasting, side-effects. But what’s rarely mentioned is the psychological damage that comes later yet should not be forgotten.
The first jarring realization with abortion is understanding that the only way any abortion is prescribed, medical or surgical, is if the pregnancy is deemed “viable” aka possible of living. As with any medication, it’s dangerous to hand out meds or surgeries just because someone feels or thinks they have a condition. There has to be proof it exists.
Adoption is terrifying too. Adoption means carrying the pregnancy full term, then giving birth whether through natural means or a c-section, which come with risks and lasting effects as well. Years later you might wonder if the adoptive family is awful, or what if, even though you’re unprepared and don’t feel suited to be a parent right now, you could’ve done a better job than the family your kid ended up with?
Or what if the kid gets adopted by a great family but wants to know why their biological parent didn’t want them—which, let’s be honest, is and isn’t true.
You don’t want a child right now, but it’s not because of them. It’s because of you.
You have unfulfilled dreams, desires, and maybe even a good reputation. Having a kid right now would be like riding a bike and then jamming a branch between the wheels. You don’t want the kid because it’s bad timing, not because they’re a bad kid. You can only hope they grow to understand that.
On the extreme end whispered in the dark, abortion means they die young and don’t have to go through this pain-filled life. But why does the parent get to decide which of their kid gets a chance to live?
Around and around the birds circle.
Questions loom for everyone going through an unplanned pregnancy. But the pain and pressure behind this decision goes deeper because you are also a Christian.
You’ve heard it at least 483 times. God designed sex to bind two married people together, and they become one flesh, and yada yada. It’s great. It’s beautiful. But it’s not really an option anymore.
You f****d up, literally.
And the weight of that realization is crushing. Maybe you’ve questioned what will happen to your testimony as a pregnant, unmarried Christian. Does God love me? Does God still want me?
Christians tend to fall in two camps: very traditional (where most of the fear of judgement comes from) or very everything else. Some in the “everything else” camp are prideful that they don’t feel shame or they don’t feel convicted about choosing to stay sexually active even though they’re an unmarried Christian. They are offended when people question whether they’re a true Christian and in turn question the judgemental “purity culture” of Christians in the other camp while joking that those people “don’t know what love means.”
The short answer is both sides are wrong and a little bit right.
Shame is wrong.
You did what you did and this is where you’re at now. Maybe you thought you could escape the consequences because you escaped them for years before. Doesn’t matter. This is happening. But that shame you’re feeling is not what God wants you to feel. Please take a moment to read that again.
Shame is not from God.
You can (and should because it’s healthy) mourn and grieve over lost opportunities and dreams that have to adapt or die, but this pregnancy is not the end of the road. It’s just making a sharp turn. Consider it like a crossroads of your destinies (that’s plural for a reason). You can choose one path or the other, but you have to choose.
That’s not to say this road won’t be an uphill climb, but God is not surprised, and the only unforgivable sin is when we harden our hearts to him. If his Spirit is leading you to cry, cry. But God will never say you are worthless or the baby you made is a mistake. Instead, “He gives us the grace to do better tomorrow.”
Fear of judgement is real.
“I thought you were smarter than that.”
“How could you?”
“I didn’t know you were one of those girls.” (or guys)
Because everyone is at a different place on their walk with God, and some aren’t walking at all, and this news might surprise them, words will come and they will hurt. Hold onto the promise that God can use your pregnancy to test and teach others how to truly love under all circumstances. And for those that fail, you will get to learn about Christ-like forgiveness.
Your life will change.
No matter what, abortion, adoption, miscarriage, or if you take on the role of parent life will not look like what you planned before this surprise. It may take some time to accept that.
On the outside, it’s likely nothing will change if you choose abortion, but when enough time passes and you are ready for kids there might be this nagging voice trying to shame you, “This isn’t really your first born,” or “You gave them up.” Become aware of these attacks now so God can renew your heart so you don’t get pulled down later.
I don’t think I need to tell you about how your life will change if you decide to raise them. Let’s just picture Cheerios, tupperware, and broken crayons everywhere.
There is not an easy choice.
You’re pregnant, it should be easy to decide to keep the baby.
You’re pregnant, it should be easy to abort.
You’re pregnant, there’s always adoption.
None of these sentiments, although they might come from someone who means well, really understands the gravity of the decision behind it. And you shouldn’t let anyone decide for you. Your partner shouldn’t pressure you. Your family shouldn’t blame or guilt you. And if they do, I am so sorry. They’re jerks and they suck. They’re probably scared and angry like you are/were/will be.
If someone lashes out with hurtful words, take a breath and try to remember that they’re most likely not angry at you, they’re angry over the lost future they pictured for you. If they try to pressure you, take a breath again and step away. You’re pregnant, you don’t need to add being bullied into a decision to the list of things you wish you could take back.
You can do this.
I know, that phrase is corny and overused, but it’s scary how easy it is to forget you are strong, you are brave, and you are smart. You made a dumb—really dumb—decision and it has huge, life-altering results. But if you want to put in the time and effort, you can be a great parent or a great biological parent of an adopted child.
There is even forgiveness for abortions. There is forgiveness for everything. The danger is whether you can repent and mean it. If you can’t mean it, you can’t repent, and you can’t be forgiven. Is it possible to repent for doing something bad when you knew it was bad before, during, and after you did it? I don’t know. Maybe? Sometimes? Depends? I’m sure that’s not the answer you wanted to hear but it comes down to the state of your heart and God’s Spirit.
You’re not the first.
I knew a girl in middle school who had the same name as my mom. She was popular and gorgeous, but she came from a rough background. I don’t think she valued herself, or maybe just wanted to feel loved. It was either 7th or 8th grade when she became pregnant. I heard the rumors, you could see her bump grow. I, like many others, stared as she passed in the hall. I didn’t bully her but I didn’t reach out to her either.
She was so brave. She kept the baby. And although she dropped out of school (probably to get a job), I wish I could go back and support her now. I didn’t understand what she was going through and I was too immature to help.
I also know two other girls who are single moms now. One was married when she had her kid, the other never got married. They are both in the same boat now, and they both love their kids unconditionally.
The one who was never married posts pictures of her with her kid and, although her life changed forever, she says she is so grateful for how her life turned out. She’s not rich. I don’t know if she got a chance to go to college. But she decided to make the most out of the results from her choices.
They both reached a point where they found genuine happiness.
you won’t be the last.
Analysis from 2011 shows that almost half of all pregnancies that year were unplanned. Every year there will be more men and women facing this same decision. Whether they had sex because of love or because they thought it would be fun, having sex is the best way to guarantee reproduction. (If you want to have a baby, have sex.)
You are not alone.
If I was pregnant right now, writing this as an unmarried Christian, I would honestly be tempted to get a medical abortion. But I thought about it a lot, imagined sitting with myself afterwards, and I think the regret would be too huge for me. Even now I catch and release spiders because I know they’re valuable to society, so how much more so would a growing child be? Whether to society or me, personally.
The right choice for me would be an open adoption. Even though that includes judgement. Even though that would delay my dreams to the point where it could mean death for that goal. I could either spend the rest of my life bitter over the loss or find a new dream. Because of what I learned while in Cote d’Ivoire, I’m sure I’d find a new dream.
And a smaller voice inside says I could be an awesome, single, Christian mom.
This is a big choice. No one can make it for you. Give yourself enough time and space to fully research and commit to a decision. You won’t regret taking time to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
Resources for you:
If you know of a resource to add, please share below so it can help someone else.
Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.
Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)
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