You never expected to be here. Perhaps you are in the midst of overcoming some personal challenges in your life, or maybe you are thriving and working toward personal goals you have for yourself. Whatever your circumstances may be, an unplanned pregnancy in Virginia can stop you in your tracks.
Like most women facing an unintended pregnancy in Virginia, your mind is probably flooded with a rush of questions at this point: How did this happen? Why me? And, most importantly, What are my options if I’m pregnant in Virginia?
If this describes your current feelings about your unexpected pregnancy, take a deep breath. You are not alone, you have options, and there are many people and professionals who can help. You can learn more about all of your unplanned pregnancy options in Virginia at any time by contacting us to speak with a professional. In the meantime, the following guide may help to answer the questions you have about your options for unplanned pregnancy in VA.
What Are My Options if I’m Pregnant in Virginia?
Once you have come to terms with your unplanned pregnancy, your next thought might be, “Okay, so I’m pregnant. What are my options in Virginia?”
Generally speaking, every woman facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy in Virginia has three options: parenting, abortion and adoption. It is important to understand that you are the only person who can decide which of these options is best for you; you are the only person qualified to make any decisions about your unexpected pregnancy in Virginia.
However, that doesn’t mean you are alone in your decision-making process. Options counselors are always available to discuss your Virginia pregnancy options with you so you can make a well-informed decision for yourself and your baby. In the meantime, we’ve outlined some important facts about each of your options for unplanned pregnancy in Virginia below.
Option 1: Parenting
Before you decide to raise the baby of your unplanned pregnancy, you will need to ask yourself one of the most important questions of your lifetime: Am I ready to be a parent?
For many women facing an unplanned pregnancy in Virginia or elsewhere in the U.S., the answer is yes. Even if the timing is unexpected, a large number of women choose to carry the pregnancy to term and raise their baby.
However, for many other women, this question is a little more difficult to answer. Before you decide to raise your baby, it’s important to consider:
- The financial commitment of parenting. On average, it costs $245,000 to raise a child to age 18, and the cost of pregnancy and childbirth alone is around $8,800. As a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy in Virginia, you may not be prepared for costs like these. However, financial concerns should not keep you from parenting if that’s what you want to do. If you think that you are emotionally ready for parenthood but need some help making financial ends meet, you may qualify for certain state-funded programs in Virginia.
- Your current circumstances. What type of environment do you want your child to grow up in? Is that an environment you can provide right now? If not, are there steps you can take to improve your situation? It’s important to objectively evaluate your current living situation to determine whether you can provide the life you want your child to have. For example, if your baby’s father is not actively involved in your life in a positive way, are you prepared for all of the challenges of being a single parent?
- Your future goals. Becoming a parent is a lifelong commitment. Raising your child will not just change your life in the short-term; it can also drastically alter your future. While it is absolutely possible to juggle motherhood with other goals, like continuing your education or advancing in your career, those dreams may become much more difficult to reach when your child becomes the number-one priority in your life. Some women find that they need to postpone their future plans or let go of them altogether to focus on being the parent their child needs.
So, after thinking through all of these factors, what if you’re unsure that parenting is right for you? What are your options if you’re pregnant in Virginia and not ready for a baby right now?
You have two: abortion and adoption.
Option 2: Abortion
Abortion is one of the most common early pregnancy options in Virginia — and it’s also the most controversial. If you are considering abortion, it is important to make sure you are getting your information only from reputable, unbiased sources. Your first step should always be to make an appointment with your doctor; he or she can determine how far along you are in your pregnancy and help you understand whether abortion is still an option for you.
Some women assume abortion is the quickest and easiest of their Virginia unwanted pregnancy options, but it’s important not to rush into an abortion decision without fully examining all of the pros and cons. Additionally, abortion is not always an option for every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. According to the Guttmacher Institute, these restrictions on abortion were in effect as of May 1, 2018:
- Women seeking abortion services must receive state-directed counseling designed to discourage her from having an abortion
- Women must undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before obtaining an abortion, and the technician must offer her the option to view the image
- There is a minimum 24-hour waiting period between receiving the required counseling and obtaining the abortion procedure
- Abortion can only be covered under the Affordable Care Act in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest
- Abortion is covered in insurance for public employees only in cases of life endangerment, rape, incest or fetal impairment
- Public funding is only available for abortions in the case of life endangerment, rape, incest or fetal impairment
- Minors cannot obtain an abortion without the consent of a parent
Because of these restrictions, abortion is not always the quick and easy solution many women believe it to be. If abortion is not one of your unplanned pregnancy options in Virginia, you do have another choice: adoption.
Option 3: Adoption
Of all your options for pregnancy in Virginia, adoption is often the most misunderstood — but it can also be the most rewarding. If adoption is right for you, it can be an amazing way to give your child a life full of love and opportunity while you continue working toward your personal goals and dreams.
But with so many myths about adoption and how it works today, how do you know if adoption is right for you and your baby?
Here are a few facts to set the record straight about this less-common option for unplanned pregnancy in Virginia:
- It’s never too late to choose adoption. Unlike abortion, which must be completed early in the pregnancy, adoption is a choice for all women, regardless of their stage of pregnancy or even if their baby has already been born.
- You are in charge of the process. As a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy in Virginia, you would be in charge of every decision in your adoption process. You create your own adoption plan, you choose the adoptive parents for your baby, you decide how you want the hospital stay to go, and more.
- You don’t pay any fees for adoption. While abortion and parenting can be cost-prohibitive for many women facing an unplanned pregnancy in Virginia, adoption services are always 100 percent free to prospective birth mothers. Plus, many women are also eligible to receive financial help with their living expenses during their unintended pregnancy in Virginia.
- Adoption is not the end of your relationship with your baby. It is up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your child and the adoptive family after the adoption. Through open adoption, you can choose to stay in touch through pictures and letters, phone calls, in-person visits and more. You will never have to wonder how your baby is doing, and he or she will know about the adoption from the very beginning.
These are just a few of the many benefits of adoption for women facing an unplanned pregnancy in Virginia. However, adoption is not right for everyone, and you are the only person who can decide which of your Virginia pregnancy options is truly right for you.
Moving forward with your unplanned pregnancy can be scary, but you are not alone. If you would like someone to talk to, or if you need more information about any of your options if you are pregnant in Virginia, contact a professional here.