Unplanned pregnancies trigger many feelings as you work to process the substantial information and change your body will experience. Being honest and realistic with yourself will enable you to act decisively. Your choice is difficult and each option has a large significant emotional impact, but you must make one.
Option 1: Carrying the baby and giving birth to your child. Most people that get pregnant unexpectedly choose this option. If you feel that the benefit of a child outweighs the risks, this choice is for you.
Option 2: Adoption. In adoption, you are effectively saying that you are able to manage the risks of pregnancy but not the risks of parenthood. Adoption is a complex situation with psychological and legal implications. If you are considering this option, seek out knowledgeable sources in the field and strive to have a working understanding. All adoptions are not created equally so be sure to asked pointed questions.
Option 3: Abortion. This option carries the most moral and religious weight. The goal is to find the best answer for you. Some people would choose this if their symptoms were wildly out of control currently or they fear that their symptoms would be out of control without proper medication. Perhaps, people who are chronically suicidal with medication would view abortion as the best choice given the circumstances. Other people may choose abortion if they were not financially able, lacked housing or the functional ability to care for themselves or a child. For people in this situation, birth control is even more valuable as abortion carries a high emotional toll.
Whatever your choice, work fast. Contact your OB/GYN and prescriber immediately to follow the best course of action. Your OB/GYN can schedule testing and begin prenatal care. Your prescriber may choose to stop your medication quickly to avoid risk to the baby, wean you slowly or switch you to other medications. Discuss your prescriber’s comfort with medications that may cause defects to the child and work to keep yourself involved and informed in your treatment. Paying attention to your body and noting the pregnancy early will make the process easier.
Therapy: The Common Denominator
Whether the pregnancy is planned or not, you can benefit from therapy. Whether you decided on option 1, 2 or 3, you can benefit from therapy. Pregnancies, adoptions and abortions are some of the biggest decisions that any woman will face in her life. The emotions, societal pressures and need for quick action add to the complexity.
A therapist can act as a guide or a sounding board through your decision making process. Once the decision is made, a therapist can work with you to find ways to reduce the unwanted risks and address feelings of shame, doubt and guilt that often come with difficult decisions.
Your therapist can also coordinate communication between your OB/GYN, your prescriber and yourself to ensure accurate information throughout.
Being pregnant and bringing a child into the world can be scary, exciting, overwhelming and unnerving at the same time. For many with bipolar, pregnancy, delivery and postpartum are joyous times for them and those close to them. Following the information above will help you on the path to happiness and an expanding family. Remember, there is no shame in parenthood not being a good fit for you. As long as your decision is well thought out and informed, you can make the best of it.