An Unexpected Pregnancy: Making Truly Responsible Choices

The responsibility that comes with bringing a child into the world is no small thing. It affects every aspect of life – socially, physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially. For many women the experience of falling pregnant is welcomed, planned and embraced as a joyful life event, but when pregnancy is ‘unexpected’, as 50% of them are1, it comes with a mixture of emotions from shock, dread, surprise, fear and feelings of ‘what do I do now’?

I was pregnant ‘unexpectedly’ at 24 years old. I was well aware of how to, and how not to get pregnant, so no blame of insufficient sex education rests here. For me at the time life was ticking along; I was newly in a relationship with a man I was besotted with and although his feelings for me were not fully reciprocated, you could say we, ‘enjoyed ourselves’. The result being a night of passion where caution was thrown to the wind with us knowing I was likely to be ovulating. At the time I was not taking any oral contraception and that night having no other means of contraception available the choice was made to ‘carry on regardless’ throwing caution and implications to the wind in the moment…only to have them blow right back again after the moment had gone.

In many cases falling pregnant is an ‘accident’ that comes from a lack of regard.

At no point did I consider all of this at the time. Yes, these concerns were there but the end result of being pregnant, and the new found excitement of having my own child, enabled me to push all this aside and emerge with a smile on my face at my achievement – I was pregnant and somehow it proved something about me to the world.

I was not alone in my situation – many around me were in unstable relationships and falling pregnant. Looking back, the unspoken around us all and in the heads of others was a sadness as they saw young women slipping into motherhood without care or consideration for the consequences of being pregnant and without any true support or a true relationship.

The only person that did not hold back his concerns was my father. In no uncertain terms he told me I was being a complete fool, and wasting my life as I could have a career instead. But later I understood his reaction was coming from the fact that he was still reeling from the hurt of already having seen one daughter leave home at 16 years old and head off into the world with a young baby and in an unstable relationship.

In my case the news I was pregnant was often met with smiles and congratulations, but all the time the congratulations being offered, were laced with a feeling of sadness and a judgment of ‘what are you doing?’ At the time I found out I was pregnant I was no longer in a relationship with the father, but over an Indian meal out, we decided to ‘give it a go’ as we realised we were pretty much bound together through the fact that I was choosing to have his child.

Nobody around me said they were concerned or offered any steady advice and I don’t remember anybody asking me how I thought I would manage, where I would live, how I would cope financially or even pose the question of how I would cope if I found myself alone. The Doctor offered practical support for the pregnancy but of course was not allowed (probably for fear of being biased or sued) to lay out all the pros and cons on the table.

I was still living at home and my parents were in so much reaction that there was no steady support or advice there either, just disapproval and reaction from their own hurts and broken pictures of me and my life ahead. My older grandmother loved babies and was pleased for me, along with the assumption that a marriage would follow, as would be the case for her generation, while my other older grandmother reminded me that I was about to ‘bring another bastard into the world’.

The choice to continue with pregnancy was easy for me as I had chosen to have an abortion three years previously and having another was not a desired option. Then came all the concerns about the relationship. Will I have to go it alone? This was a big concern and I even did a crash-training course whilst pregnant in a trade, which I felt could earn me enough money should I need to support myself alone. Although I pretended I was prepared; I was actually far from ready for what came along. I’m now able to see that this had an impact, not only on myself but on all those around me, but it was so easy then to put on the ‘rose-coloured glasses’ when I found myself in a tricky situation, and choose not to see it all, in the avoidance of taking true responsibility – that is caring deeply for myself and others, by honestly being able to see the full impact of such a choice.

The decision to ‘do the right thing’ by living with the long term consequences of a short term choice made in a brief moment, came with the father and myself buying a house and ticking all the boxes, including getting married two weeks before the birth. All complete and made ‘right’? I think not. The foundation of the marriage was not a loving choice and behind all the smiles the real underlying feeling was that of, ‘we are making the best of what we have.’ We managed to keep this up for ten years but eventually it all fell apart.

Not all choices have as dramatic and permanent an outcome as following through with an unplanned pregnancy, but any decision that does not come with care, love and appreciation for ourselves has the strong potential to bring complication and harm.

Building a loving, honest and caring relationship with ourselves is of paramount importance for making choices that truly support us all. From an unexpected pregnancy to the choice of whether to eat that chocolate or not, every decision has consequences that we, and those around us live with for a moment and sometimes for a lifetime. Being deeply aware, respectful and embracing of this power is a great gift we give (or withhold) to ourselves and each other.

by BB, UK

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1 Finer,LB and Joiner, MR; Shifts in intended and unintended pregnancies in the United States, 2001-2008; American Journal of Public Health; Feb 2014;

410 thoughts on “An Unexpected Pregnancy: Making Truly Responsible Choices

  1. It is interesting to read how sensitive you were to clocking other’s reactions and responses – the silent judgements and the way that people make a decision about how things are for you, when in fact we have no right to do so. It is like all these things are coming at you to stop you from having the space to feel truly supported in the approach that you take in such a situation.

  2. This is GOLD and the foundation of all our relationships – “Building a loving, honest and caring relationship with ourselves is of paramount importance for making choices that truly support us all.”

  3. BB, thank you for your sharing – there is wealth of experience and learning that we have had in life no matter what our age and this is something that can be shared in a way that allows others to be inspired by how differently things can be done. True wisdom comes from life’s lessons that we embrace fully with no regrets and have learned to live in the present moment.

  4. Thank you BB for sharing your life so openly. Making decisions comes with a certain amount of understanding and awareness and this impacts our choices. I know as I’ve grown in awareness and wisdom from life experiences I can look back and see that I did the best I could when making decisions, but there was a limitation at the time from where I was, as I can see I now know a lot more from all the learning I’ve experienced. Thankfully, the learning never stops!

    1. So beautifully said Melinda – and this wipes out the whole judegment and approach on making ‘mistakes’ for in reality there are no mistakes but they are all ‘learnings’ offered by life.

  5. Falling pregnant when not planned is simply a big reflection of the disregard we live within our life. Learn to regard ourselves in our day, the smaller details in life then we are equipped to deal with the bigger events that come our way in life.

  6. Amazing blog BB, I didn’t realise that 50% of pregnancies are unexpected. This makes sense because in general, our world is full of consequences related to the high volumes of irresponsibility. This part ‘In many cases falling pregnant is an ‘accident’ that comes from a lack of regard.’ makes a lot of sense to me too.

  7. I ended up with poisoning yesterday. My body did tell me something was not right as I walked to the checkout with my food but I dismissed it. My body knew in advance but it took the more serious consequences for me to listen.

    1. How interesting that if we are open to it and listen to the deeper wisdom we are offered we needn’t have to make the choices that have those negative repercussions. I know in my own case I have often ignored my better judgment, but with each consequence my learning grows.

  8. BB, reading your blog really brought home to me the importance of choosing all my choices, big or small, wisely.

    1. Yes, and when necessary allowing ourselves time to really feel into what is going to be a loving choice for ourselves, talk to others, and consider the different outcomes.

  9. I welcome the day we all naturally make choices that are caring, honouring, loving and appreciative.

  10. Thank you for bringing in the responsibility aspect to our choices. We can easily justify any choice we make as being the ‘right’ one, but if it isn’t based on being completely honest and truthful with where we’re at and what we’ve already committed to, is it really worth it? There are consequences to every choice we make, so in effect, every time we make a choice (which is a lot, each day), there is learning to be had, potentially. Every choice is either a confirmation of what we feel, or a straying away from that, and dealing with and learning from the consequences.

  11. There is an unspoken rule that we have to be nice to each other but sometimes this is not supportive as it makes us not ask the questions that are needed. It can be loving to ask the questions of reality and if it is really possible to have a child in that situation and to be honest about how it would be to have the baby in this situation. However much we want it there is a huge responsibility in raising a child and it is not just a case of wanting but also one of being ready ourselves in all possible ways.

  12. Building a foundation of love for ourselves is so important in many ways, ‘Building a loving, honest and caring relationship with ourselves is of paramount importance for making choices that truly support us all.’

  13. On one level reading this blog, it’s about pregnancy and the impact it has, and yet this applies to all our choices and if we deeply see the impact of those choices, being absolutely honest with ourselves about their impact, we can see that honesty is one of the foundations of deep self care; this understanding opens up a whole other world on responsibility and the choices we make.

  14. It is a sign of the irresponsibility that we have all come to accept as normal that no-one questioned your choice apart from your father who reacted from his own hurt and disappointment and was not able to support you. Thus many questionable choices are compounded when no-one asks if, for example, the woman in question has considered all the consequences of their choice on themselves and their unborn child and perhaps offered the opportunity to see that there could be another way to approach this situation.

  15. This is a great call to consider the impact of our choices, large or small, not just on ourselves but on everyone around us. Choosing to get pregnant/follow through with an unexpected pregnancy has a massive impact particularly on the mother and choosing to lovingly honour ourselves means that our unborn child has the best possible start in life.

  16. I agree that there are very few people who will offer wise counsel in times such as an unplanned pregnancy, either because they are playing nice or in reaction like your dad. In hindsight it’s easy to say that it would have been great to have the pros and cons laid out and this should be the honest support we receive from all angles in society. But when we throw caution to the wind and become pregnant with no thought or regard for ourselves or the new life, it’s not a great indicator of welcoming that honesty. And one of the biggest problems as shared in the blog is that we have been sold that pregnancy and being a mum ticks one of the big life boxes for women. This clouds our judgment when our bodies would otherwise clearly tell us what’s true for us.

  17. Making things ‘right’ by getting married or ‘giving the relationship a go’ after becoming pregnant can be a disaster for everyone involved – woman, man and child. Getting good support before the fact is essential so one is responding to the situation, not reacting.

  18. It is crazy to expose the pictures we have attached to raising a family. The fact that we have so many ideals and beliefs around what this should look like when in fact everyone’s journey is going to be different – so how can we possibly compare to the ‘ideal situation’ Ouf immediate families reactions are very telling of any needs and investments and so it shows how we can buy into something and put it before our love for each other.

    1. Yes beautifully said, in the end it is about love and whatever pictures we have that are being smashed, to have a baby there needs to be love first and foremost – that is a commitment we have to make as community around a pregnant woman.

  19. I appreciate that although in life we can stuff up and make unwise choices in a lack of awareness and connection with ourselves, that these opportunities are there for us to eventually see no matter what we can hold ourselves through it—that is the amount of love we have within ourselves.

  20. BB – it seems like you have learnt an awful lot from this experience and now are able to see it with clarity. A great read to call out the responsibility we all carry in life, and a reminder that there is a consequence for every action.

  21. Wow amazing – I too have seen so many of my friends grow up and find themselves in unstable relationships facing having a child. I remember the pressure from schools to try and drum into us the importance of safe sex and not falling pregnant accidently or too young, and whilst in many cases a lack of understanding and access is the root cause, there is also a deep root, that of a lack of worth and regard for themselves, their bodies and therefore no standard which supports them to choose not to have unprotected sex, and not to stay in a relationship that is not loving

  22. This clearly highlights the fact that every choice we make has consequences that affect ourselves and everyone around us.

    1. Yes they may not be as dramatic as though an unplanned pregnancy but any way that we choose to abuse ourselves is painful for others to observe and they often feel helpless to intervene.

  23. “I was pregnant and somehow it proved something about me to the world”. Sadly, this is not an uncommon reaction. It is the result of growing up being spoon-fed the idea that you are a real woman and only complete when you have a partner and child.

  24. ‘Building a loving, honest and caring relationship with ourselves is of paramount importance for making choices that truly support us all.’ This is great advice for men and women, if only I heard these words of wisdom when I was going through my teenage years it would have supported me far more than the pictures and ideals I subscribed to that took me further away from love and my true self.

  25. It’s amazing what we learn and understand from our choices and it is from these choices we can continue to learn and discover more of who we truly are and peel away the layers that we are not.

  26. This is a very brave admission, I have to agree that making these choices in life can often have dire consequences. I have two unplanned pregnancies and although I love my children so dearly, I cannot help but think they would have found me in a way that did not have to be such a disregard to them and me. Nobody could have told me what to do or warned me once I had made up my mind, sometimes it seems we choose to learn the hard way.

  27. I agree BB…”Building a loving, honest and caring relationship with ourselves is of paramount importance for making choices that truly support us all.” What is the quality of our reference point or foundation if we do not care for ourselves, we cannot be clear if our personal everyday choices are not supportive, not being present, aware and self caring means our thoughts exhibit these qualities and so do our decisions.

    1. Yes, I have found this. If we don’t have a daily practice of self-care, we will accept any hit of pleasure and being loved as being worth any consequences. In order to change that impulsive decision-making we have to build a relationship that sets a bar for what we accept and what we won’t that will hold us steady in those moments of spontaneity!

      1. Good point, if we are not steady in our self-worth, we can jump into stimulation and so called perceived rewards or scraps of attention, I know I have done this myself. It is something many of us do without thinking, the seeking of something from others impulsively rather than making our choices in clarity.

      2. mmm impulsive decision making – quite the norm as teenagers and yet I wonder how much they then become the patterns that we lay down later in life that lead to so many of the lifestyle illnesses?

  28. Thank you for sharing BB , its so understanding of you to share the details of your life and how ” ‘carry on regardless’ throwing caution and implications to the wind in the moment…only to have them blow right back again after the moment had gone. ” It sounds like there is a life lesson to be learned considering that 50 % are unplanned pregnancy.

  29. Thank you BB, this is such an insightful sharing for all of us as women. We can be so bound by the pressure and false pictures that are imposed on us, that we can literally ruin our own lives as a result and that of others. This all shows how hugely important and responsible it is to love ourselves first, always and forever more deeply, so that the choices we always make are self-loving and in so being, encompassing everyone else in this love that we have nurtured for ourselves, as well.

  30. Your sharing BB highlights the importance of us choosing all our choices with care and consideration for not only do all our choices impact us, they also impact those closes to us and often those much further afield as well.

  31. Once we make a mistake it may take a much bigger effort to recover from the mistake than it would have taken not to make the mistake in the first place. It is very tempting to not make that effort as we weren’t even making the original effort.

  32. I am not sure about it even though I was very unexpectedly pregnant, and there was very little care for me and I got pregnant from a man who I just got to know, my child was the biggest gift and came in my life as a gift from God to bring evolution in my life.
    I agree one way that it is important parents are loving themselves before having children but we do not know all the mysteries of God.

  33. Wow love your honesty BB. It is a great lesson for us all to remember that any choice or decision that is made without care, love and appreciation of ourselves, has a strong potential to bring complication and harm for it is founded on a lack of honouring of how we should be with ourselves and therefore void of love or truth…. anything based on this cannot but have consequences that should make you think twice about the quality of your choices.

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