When Parenthood Is Unplanned
Unintended pregnancy is a topic laden with stigma and often judgment. 51% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.
Let that sink in a moment.
There’s a lot of us out here. I can imagine many might not want to talk openly about the fact that their pregnancy was unplanned, as we are often taught this is shameful. We hear all kinds of unhelpful statements, from well-intended offerings like, “children are never accidents,” to typical slut shaming rhetoric. It’s clear that a basic reality we live makes other people uncomfortable.
I prefer to be open about the fact that I was not planning on becoming a parent. Was it difficult? More than difficult. Was there guilt and shame? Yes. I didn’t tell anyone outside my nuclear family until I was past the half way mark in my pregnancy. I knew I didn’t want to place my baby for adoption, but I also didn’t want to be selfish in my decision if someone else could give him a better life. I was also tormented over the fact that I didn’t want to be a mother. There were conflicting emotions. That’s an understatement.
What I can tell you four years later is this: I love my child, and I’m no longer ashamed. “Accident” is a comforting word to me because it is truthful, though I’m aware many people find it jarring. I find it judgmental when I hear others say it should be replaced by cuter or softer words. “Accident” doesn’t negate the fact that my child is beautiful and the definition of resilience. It doesn’t negate my love, or my worth.
Often, things don’t go as we plan. This goes for life, career choice, birth, parenting, and more. We move forward. Moving forward becomes easier when we remove judgment, guilt and shame.
If you have feelings of ambivalence, or ever experience anything other than joy or deliberateness in parenthood, you’ve come to the right place. There’s no judgment here.