If you are pregnant and considering parenting, it’s likely that you’ve never been faced with a decision like this before. First, know that you are not alone. Many women have been in your position before, and many will be in the future. Second, know that — while no one can make this decision for you — there are many resources dedicated to helping you along this journey.
Parenting is not for everyone. If you’re unsure whether you should pursue adoption instead of keeping the baby, or vice versa, below are four questions you can ask yourself to help you determine whether to choose to parent your child or place the child up for adoption.
Step 1: Consider your financial situation.
Financial instability is often one of the main reasons women facing an unplanned pregnancy are unsure if they are ready to parent. It’s understandable; kids aren’t cheap. The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture states the average cost for a single mother to raise a child to age 17 is $233,610. This is a large sum of money to anyone, particularly someone who hasn’t been financially preparing for it.
This does not, however, automatically mean that you should not parent your baby. Fortunately, there are many financial resources for you to use, as Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid can help relieve some of the financial strain for food and healthcare. Also remember, your financial situation may be temporary and can change quickly — so financial concerns should not be the sole determining factor in your choice of adoption instead of keeping the baby.
Here at Heartbeats, you can earn many of the items you need for your child with our Earn While You Learn program. Diapers, Wipes, Clothing, Food and Furnishings are available. You just attend education classes and earn points to spend in our beautiful on-site boutique. Most of the items available are new or like-new. So, when it comes to cost, financial support is readily available if you are willing to participate.
Step 2: Consider your support system.
One reason many women consider adoption over parenting is to provide their child with a stable, two-parent home environment. The benefits of being raised in a two-parent home are obvious. Not only is having a father important to a child’s emotional development, but it also provides a secondary income and a partner in raising a child.
Being a single mother can be challenging, however, with enough love and effort, it can be done, and is currently being done by countless single mothers across the country. Not having your child’s father around does not have to be the main factor when questioning how to decide whether to keep a baby.
Also, even if your child’s biological father is out of the picture, it doesn’t mean your child will never have a father figure in his or her life. You can surround your child with positive male role models, and could someday find yourself with a new partner who would love nothing more than to become a father to your child. These things should be considered when determining whether parenting is right for you.
Step 3: Consider the time commitment.
When you have a lot of other things currently happening in your life, like finishing high school or college, or beginning or continuing your career, it’s common to wonder: “Should I keep my baby on top of my responsibilities at school or work? Do I really have time for a child right now?” Adding a baby into your busy life would undoubtedly take precedent over those goals.
At the end of the day, you will need to determine whether you can balance life as a new mother with these other responsibilities and interests. Ask yourself:
- Will I have time and energy to be the attachment figure my baby needs during the most influential time in his or her life?
- Will my child be my top priority?
- Should I keep my baby, even if it means putting my own plans on hold?
Step 4: Consider your own readiness.
When you’re faced with an unplanned pregnancy, it is the most important question of all: “Am I ready to be a parent?”
As previously stated, if you have aspirations to attend college, pursue a career or simply just want to maintain your current lifestyle, you may find that you aren’t ready to raise a child, and that’s okay. If you decide that adoption is what’s best for you and your baby, there is another family out there who is ready to adopt and give a child the greatest life imaginable.
However, if you are ready and committed to motherhood, you can overcome any of these challenges, whether it is financial instability, no father figure in your child's life or any other obstacle in your way. If you feel that you are ready and committed to motherhood, that may be the only answer you need.
Remember, this is your baby and your decision. If you are asking, “Should I keep or adopt my baby to another family?” know that you are ultimately the only person who can answer that question. No one can tell you what is best for you and your child, nor should anyone ever try to convince you to choose adoption instead of keeping the baby or vice versa. Whatever you decide, there are resources and support available to you.
Once you have answered these four questions, if you choose to parent your child consider enrolling in our Earn While You Learn program. We offer fun, easy parenting classes and you can earn points to purchase things for your baby like diapers, clothes, and more in our beautiful Baby Boutique! You can also earn incentive gift cards while participating in the EWYL program. Contact us today or schedule an appointment.
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