I just found out I'm pregnant and I'm not married. What should I do?
When I'm teaching the subjects of dating and sex, I like to use the line, “If you play with the instruments, you'll get music.” Sexually speaking, many teenagers are playing with the instruments, but the music they're getting is the blues. It's a sad, sad song that most of them never expected to hear. The statistics speak for themselves:
Over 1 million teenagers will get pregnant this year; that's an average of roughly three thousand each day.
One of every nine teenage women will become pregnant this year.
Nearly 50 percent of these girls will end their pregnancies through abortion.
This is one of the most dreadful feelings a teenager can experience—the terror of finding out you're pregnant or that you've gotten someone pregnant. It is terrifying because there is no easy way out of the problem. There are some mistakes students make where they suffer few consequences, but teenage pregnancy is not one of them.
I am convinced that, outside of sexual abuse, there is nothing that frustrates a youth counselor more than having to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. There is very little a counselor, friend, or parent can do to ease the pain. However, one bad decision does not mean a student has to make another. In this ChristianAnswers.Net Answer you'll see a letter from a girl, Ginger, who is painfully aware that she has made a mistake. Her greatest desire is to face that mistake and fix it. As you will see, I am painfully honest with her, but do my best not to condemn.
I don't even know where to begin. See, my parents split up a long time ago—both of them have remarried now. My, natural father has never cared for me. My stepmom and I hate each other. My natural mother and I didn't talk much, and my stepdad only says anything when he wants to yell at me.
Well, I got involved with a guy that I thought loved me as much as I loved him. Well, I got pregnant and the love wasn't there, neither was he. I told my natural father and all he said was “get support from the father, not me.” The news hit my stepmom and she said, “You made your bed, sleep in it.” My stepdad wouldn't talk for weeks, then he said, “I'll adopt it.” My natural mother responded with, “I'll set a doctor's appointment, we'll fix the problem before the whole town knows.”
I wouldn't go get an abortion, and now people tell me how stupid and low I am. My principal at school thinks I ought to drop out because it's not right for a girl to be pregnant and go to school. Would I have been a better person if I had an abortion? Well, my problems just started. I'm having a baby, the father won't look at me and my parents won't help me unless I sign papers for them to adopt the baby.
I was going to over-dose, while everyone was asleep so nobody could take me to the hospital. I turned your show, “Too Young to Die” on accidentally. It wasn't planned. In fact, that was the night I planned to do the overdose—obviously I didn't do it. But now I am going to work out my problems—not run from them. But I do have one major problem ahead of me, this baby. I can't support it, but I don't want to give it up. I can't look for help in the father—he's too unstable. I guess I'll have to sign papers and live with that.
I just really wrote to say “Thank You” for that show. Not only did it cause me to stop and think about my life, but my baby's life too. I gave myself another chance, and my baby a chance to know that life has its ups and downs—the ups are yet to come.
Thank you for taking the time to write me your letter, Ginger. You definitely have some serious problems. Getting pregnant outside of marriage can create a lot of complications, and you have your share of them. You face a number of very hard decisions.
As you face these decisions, I want you to repeat this statement to yourself:
Even though I made one mistake, it doesn't mean I have to keep making other mistakes.
You have already had to face some incredibly tough choices. And based on what you have told me in your letter, you have made good choices. I can't begin to tell you how proud of you I am for this.
For example, you did not make the horrible mistake of committing suicide. Suicide is never a right choice. It is always wrong. I hope you can see that God was showing His love for you when He lead you to watch our television show, “Too Young to Die.” He kept you from killing yourself because He knew that, with His help, you could face your problems.
Of course, killing yourself would have also meant killing your baby. That would have been a double disaster. God knew that Satan would like nothing better than to destroy both you and your baby in one blow. And, Jesus warns us about Satan's destructiveness.
A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.
The Bible calls Satan a thief. He wanted to take something from you that didn't belong to him--the lives of you and your baby. He knows how special both of you are to God. However, God's gift to you was Jesus Christ. He loves you and wants both you and your child to have a life that is full of meaning, love, and purpose. Thus, He has done two things for you. He has stepped in and kept you from killing yourself, and He has offered you a life worth living.
You could have also made another terrible mistake. You could have listened to your natural mother and gone ahead and had an abortion. You wisely understood that an abortion might “fix” some problems, like temporary embarrassment, but cause many, many more. God hates abortion. Down deep you clearly understood that it is taking the life of an innocent baby. It's not the baby's fault that you got pregnant. To kill an innocent child because its mother made a wrong choice is an even worse choice.
I am very proud of you. Even though you faced a lot of pressure to have an abortion, you still made the right choice.
Your choice must have also pleased God. In Psalm 139, the Bible clearly teaches that He is actively involved in creating a person even before that person is born.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mothers womb.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the Earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
—Psalm 139:13,15-16 (NIV)
Ginger, I know it's hard to carry a baby to full term when so few people are supporting you. However, you should be encouraged in a couple of ways.
Be encouraged that you have done what is right.
In addition, be encouraged that God has already made good plans for you and your baby. He loves to do good things for us when we are obedient. The people that tell you how stupid you are for not getting an abortion are wrong.
They are only showing you how troubled, confused, selfish, and cold they have become toward life and toward God.
You, on the other hand, have already shown that you care about what is right, and that you know how to make good decisions.
Having an abortion may very well have crushed you emotionally. You would have to live with the knowledge that you murdered your own baby. For some people, these thoughts haunt them for years and years. Thank God that you did not choose abortion as a quick fix for your problem. You will never have to live with horrible memories like those.
Ginger, I'm sorry that you got yourself pregnant. That was obviously a bad mistake. But then you stopped to think. You stopped making mistakes. You started making wise decisions. I couldn't be more proud of you.
As I say to teenage women across America,
“If you ever get pregnant out of wedlock, suicide and abortion are never an option.”
When you got pregnant, you were afraid, you felt unloved, and you were being pressured to do the wrong thing. Nevertheless, you said no to suicide and no to abortion. So far you have made the very best of a bad situation. The question is, where do you go from here?
Whether to keep the baby
Your next decision is whether to keep the baby and raise it yourself, or give it to someone else to raise. After reading your letter, I'm not sure that keeping your child is a good idea. I can think of four things that are working against you.
You are very young. Raising a baby is a tremendous responsibility and is not easy, even when you are older.
You have your own deep emotional needs working against you. Right now you are barely able to function as a teenager from a severely broken home. Adding the pressure of providing for and taking care of the baby would probably be too much for you to bear. If you get overstressed you will eventually take it out on your child. This would make you feel guilty and only add pain for both of you.
In order to raise a baby at your age you would need a tremendous amount of support from your family. Obviously, the members of your family are not providing that support.
You have said that your baby's father is “too unstable.” If he is unstable, he could wind up causing you and the baby all kinds of problems.
You need to do your best to provide your child with a good home to grow up in.
It is difficult for me to say this, and even more difficult for you to hear it, but I don't think it would be fair to either you or the baby to keep and raise the baby yourself.
Your second choice is to allow the baby to be raised by your stepfather and your real mom. You must ask yourself, “Do they really want the baby?” Your real mother is the one who wanted you to have an abortion. It doesn't sound as if she really wants the baby.
You said in your letter that your stepdad wouldn't talk for weeks, then he said, “I'll adopt it.” The fact that he wouldn't talk to you for weeks indicates that he made a decision to adopt the baby out of desperation rather than out of love and commitment.
It doesn't sound to me like your stepfather and natural mom really want this baby. In my opinion, at the present time, your mom and stepfather would not be able to provide the healthy, loving environment your child needs. And believe me, your child deserves a healthy, loving environment.
Your best choice is to give the baby up for adoption to a Christian couple. There are thousands of Christian couples who, for whatever reason, can't have children and are waiting to adopt a baby like yours. They would provide your child with the kind of love and support that it needs and deserves.
I think you also have one more choice concerning yourself. You need to get out of your chaotic home and into a Christian home for unwed mothers. You need to do this soon. There are many of these homes that would be willing to take you in. A home like this would provide you with physical, emotional, and spiritual support during this trying time and would help you locate a strong Christian family who would be willing to adopt your baby.
I know it will be very difficult to give up your baby for adoption. However, you have already made some hard decisions, and you have made them well. Giving up your child to be raised by a godly family is an ultimate act of love. Your reward will be to know that your child is being greatly loved and well cared for.
Ginger, it's time for you to get on with your life. It was a miracle that you watched our television special “Too Young to Die” at just the right time. It was a miracle that God, through that show, kept you from killing yourself. But I think it's also miraculous that you wrote this letter and that you waited for this response. I know that everything seems dark now, but that darkness will pass. God loves you and your unborn child. He wants to give both of you a great future. He said, in Psalm 34,
The LORD hears good people when they cry out to him,
and he saves them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,
and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
I will be praying that your decisions will be the right ones, and that they will bring honor to you, to your baby, and to God.
If you are pregnant and are having some doubt or question about whether what is growing inside you is already a human being, visit the beautiful ChristianAnswers.Net ANSWERS ON LIFE BEFORE BIRTH home page. It provides accurate, thoughtful answers (scientific and medical) to many difficult questions related to this topic and lists valuable resources for those considering having an abortion. Click here.
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