In December of 2014, I took a positive pregnancy test and my life was forever changed. I had not planned to get pregnant and had no idea what I was now supposed to do. Sure, there are tons of heart-warming flicks in the world that made me think an unplanned pregnancy was no big deal and the whole cast would team up to save the day. But this was real life, and I sat in my bathroom at 1 a.m., absolutely terrified. That fear and shock would stay with me over the next few months as we created an adoption plan and placed our son for adoption. But, looking back on all of it now, I can relay three things that my crisis pregnancy taught me.
- Trust your gut feeling.
Your body’s instincts are more powerful than you normally give them credit for. At multiple times throughout my pregnancy, my body was able to give a better answer than my head. I went with my gut on seeking out adoption, even when the fear in my head and my heart tried to convince me it was too much. I again went with my gut feeling when I first talked to Liam’s parents, knowing within hours that they were going to be his parents and that we were going to have a good relationship. My gut told me how sick I was when my body was riddled with preeclampsia and my doctor thought I was overreacting and there was nothing wrong with me. On the day that Liam was born six weeks early, I texted his new parents without thinking about it, even though the birth plan hadn’t originally included them, because I wanted them to meet their son. All along the way, my gut knew what I needed before I ever did. It’s important to follow your instincts.
- Take care of your well-being, especially mentally/emotionally.
When you’re pregnant and you didn’t plan to be, it can feel hard to take care of yourself to the level that you need. In an instant, if you didn’t already eat right, exercise, sleep well, etc. you must do so for the sake of the human life growing inside you.
Your doctor and all the books will tell you to reduce your stress level, but how can you when you have big decisions to make and little time to do it? But, as someone who has been where you are, take it from me that you need to take care of you, especially for your mental and emotional well-being. When I found out I was pregnant, I told myself I needed to do what I could to survive and get through. It was a blur of work and trying to sleep and doctor’s appointments and stress. I can’t think of a single thing I did for my mental and emotional health. I was merely trying to survive.
After Liam was born though, it was like the lid blew off the container and there were all these feelings and emotions and issues I had to deal with that I had buried away and now had to face. Moral of the story: take care of yourself. Say no to people when you need to. Read books. Take naps. See a counselor. Take up a new hobby. Talk to your friends about how you feel, even when you think they won’t understand. Find a group of people to talk to who will understand. Just take care of you because you will be so much better off for it.
- The things you never expect can be the most incredible things of your life.
I never expected my crisis pregnancy to result in such a beautiful little boy who continues to teach me about the depths of love and pride. I never expected the wonderful open adoption relationship I share with his parents, brother, and him. I love them to the moon and back and am forever grateful that they came into my life when they did and that they have accepted me for who I am. I never expected that a crisis pregnancy would test my relationship with my boyfriend and bring us out on the other side stronger; I’m now preparing to be his wife. There is so much I never expected: to find adoption to be a blessing in my life, to find such joy and healing in writing about it, and to make such incredible friends along this journey.
Having a crisis pregnancy was one of the scariest experiences I think I’ll ever have in life. It tested me and showed me I was stronger than I ever thought. I am truly sorry if you find yourself in this position, but hope you find this in your time of need and know that someone wants to help ease your journey.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.