Unplanned pregnancies are very common. In Australia, there are around 200,000 each year.1
|Women will face the following options:|
- continuing the pregnancy
- alternative care-arrangements (like adoption).
|Lots of women tell us they can talk to friends, family or partners about their decision. Some women may not have spoken to anyone about what they’re going through.|
While each woman’s situation is unique, it can be useful to hear stories from women who have been in similar situations, like those below.
Making a decision
|‘ When you have made your decision, stay strong. If you start letting people make you doubt your decision, it can confuse you all over again. If people don’t respect your decision, they’re not worthy of your friendship.’1|
|‘ Because all my friends knew I was pregnant, it worried me stupid that if I didn’t have the baby everyone would know I’d had an abortion. Having a baby doesn’t have the same judgment and stigma attached to it. I wanted to know if my friends were going to be there for me or not. I rathered that people knew so that I knew what support I had. Even if I’d made the decision not to have the baby, then I might have someone say down the track “It would have been great” and that they’d have given me support, and I wouldn’t have known that.|
I would have loved to say “I’m pregnant” and be really happy about it. That’s what I really wanted. It’s an added stress when you’ve got everyone’s opinions flying at you. If you’re going to tell anyone make sure your secret is safe.’
|To read more stories download PDF version attached above|
|‘I had 3 children already and the 4th pregnancy was an accident. My relationship with my husband wasn’t very stable and he felt another baby would jeopardise the family we already had and further destabilise our relationship. Although part of me would’ve been ok about having another child I was scared about coping and perhaps not having the support from my husband, and even the possibility of my marriage ending if I had continued with the pregnancy. Although not without its emotional difficulties, I don’t regret having had an abortion. It was the right decision for my family at the time and now I can look back and see it was the right decision for me too.’|
|‘It just wasn’t right for me and my partner at the time… Having a kid would have been awesome but it just would have been too hard… Like if we had have been together longer and like we weren’t in uni and things, it might have been different, but just debt, debt. It wasn’t really an option… 7|
|To read more of Fenella's story download PDF attached above|
|‘ Before I talked to my family I’d already been down to the health clinic to find out about having an abortion. The last thing the counsellor said to me is “Is this what you really want to do?” I cried and said “Not really”. Mum and dad organised a woman from an adoption agency to talk to me. Adoption wasn’t even an option for me, but I went to see her to know I’d looked at every option. I didn’t want anyone to convince me of what I should do, but I wanted people to make me feel better about having a baby.’13|
|‘I sometimes look at other people’s lives and think how lucky they are. I am the mother of a precious daughter. A daughter I love with all my heart, but a daughter I didn’t feel I could bring up myself. When I look at her photo I can’t imagine her not being alive even though her life and mine are very complicated and not easy.|
I gave up my daughter for adoption when she was four months old. I knew I was pregnant that I probably wouldn’t keep her, but every day I wondered what she’d be like. I also tried to block my feelings and not get too close to this little being growing inside me. I’ve met other mothers who’ve adopted their babies out. They said it was easier if you blank out the feelings. I can’t do that – and even though it’s hard, very hard – I’d rather be me.
Having my baby but giving her away was made easier when I found out I could get letters from her family and even see her if I wanted to...12
|To read more of Karen's story download PDF attached above|
Continuing the pregnancy
|‘My mum was all right, but my dad is old-fashioned. I knew for a couple of weeks that I was pregnant before I told them. I wanted to be sure what I was going to do before I told them. My dad is very persuasive. I didn’t want to be disowned.|
I went to them with a strong mind. The things that were going against keeping the baby were that I was scared of where my relationship with my boyfriend was at. And I loved my life – I was working and having fun. Was my life going to come to a sudden halt?
I didn’t want to tell mum and dad, but I was so confused. I went to see mum and told her I was pregnant. Then I cried and cried. I said I don’t know if I could cope. My dad was due home and I didn’t want to tell him until I was sure what I was going to do. But I wanted to know what support I had.
Mum told me to stop and look at the situation. She knew that I wanted to keep the baby, but I was scared to tell dad. When dad came home, mum went outside with him. About five minutes later he came in and said “congratulations”. This helped me make up mind.’14
|‘I don’t have a relationship with my parents. They don’t want to know me. After I met my partner I moved in with him. I was in Year 12. He was my way out… My dad was violent and he drank. I used to hate coming home from school. I used to hate seeing him hit my mum… When I fell pregnant, my partner was fine in the beginning and then he started getting violent. I called my parents, and dad said “Get lost; we don’t want to know you. To us you are dead and we have no daughter”.|
Because my parents didn’t want to know me, they heard I was pregnant from rumour. I never got to tell them. To make them feel better I would have listened to their concerns but in the end the decision was mine… I wish I had my mum’s support. I went to the hospital by myself when I was pregnant. I wanted my mum with me when I was having the baby and when I was having the ultrasound… I have regrets. If I knew this was going to happen I wouldn’t have done this. But you can’t read the future.’15
|To read more stories download PDF version attached above|
|These stories show the diversity of women’s experiences in making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy. You may find you relate to some of these stories and want to talk more about them. It can be helpful to talk things through with someone you know and trust, and/or a counsellor at Pregnancy Advisory Service: 03 8345 3063.|
|See downloadable PDF for a full list of sources|