Unplanned pregnancy - The alternatives to abortion
By Charlotte Fantelli - Mental Healthy
And Julia Acott - CareConfidential
Finding out you are pregnant can be scary, especially if it was not planned. A lot of women in this situation consider abortion, but many of these women are unaware of the alternatives. These are some options you may want to consider if you are facing a 'crisis pregnancy'.
Fostering is not often considered as an alternative to abortion, but there is a lot to be said for having this help in some situations.
Some women may find they need a little time to make changes in their lives in order to become suitable parents. It may be that they need extra help to find appropriate housing or financial support. It may be that they do not want an abortion but need time to decide if adoption is the right path for them and their baby.
Fostering involves the social services, who will place the child with suitable foster parents for a period of up to six months. This can give women vital time, the time they need to sort out obstacles with the help of social services.
It is a myth that social services are child snatchers who take children from loving parents. There is nothing more wonderful than enabling parents to care for their own children, and equipping them with the support they need to do this is one of the roles social services plays.
During this time the mother (and father if appropriate) will be encouraged to access the child and bond as much as possible with the intention of creating a stable environment for that child to enter as soon as it is possible for this to happen.
There are many preconceived ideas about adoption and many myths that cause great concern amongst women who find themselves in an unwanted pregnancy situation. You may think adoption will prohibit you from having children living at home in the future, or that social services will be involved in your future pregnancies, deeming you an unfit parent.
This is simply not the case. There are also more open adoptions taking place, meaning some contact can still be made by the birth parents if appropriate.
What is the adoption procedure?
When you are ready, a social worker will visit you to talk about it. You don't need to decide now. You have plenty of time to find out what's best for you and your baby.
The baby goes to foster parents for about six weeks. You can visit during this time to be sure that you are making the right decision. The baby then goes to live with the adoptive family. After three months with them, the adoption order can go through.
You do not have to go to court – a social worker will visit you and ask you to sign a legal document. You can still change your mind after the baby's born at any time until the adoption order is made.
Keeping the baby with you
For women who choose to keep their babies in difficult situations, there is limited support, and it is largely down to the mother to source the support she needs. My own local pregnancy crisis centre Alternatives (see www.altel.org.uk – affiliated to CareConfidential) gives considerable support in such situations, far more than the NHS and social services who frequently refer their clients to Alternatives. The abortion providers have no support services for those who choose not to abort.
Crisis pregnancy help
Please see our abortion information below:
- Abortion - the full story
- Abortion - the right to chose
- Why might women consider abortion?
- What is abortion and what are my treatment options?
- Unplanned pregnancy - The alternatives to abortion
- Crisis pregnancy and abortion - real life experiences
- Further help and information for those considering abortion
- Post abortion stress
- Mental health worker sacked after asking for better abortion awareness