For many women, parenting isn’t an option when it comes to an unplanned pregnancy. These women are faced with a huge decision: whether to choose abortion or adoption placement. Neither choice is easy, and there are major considerations for both.
If you are going through a difficult pregnancy decision yourself or you’re helping someone who is, it’s important to understand the effects both choices can have.
The Effects of Choosing Adoption
People often call adoption the “loving choice” for women who do not feel parenting is the right option for them. However, loving choices aren’t always easy choices. There are some important things you need to consider when choosing adoption.
It’s normal for birth mothers to go through stages of grief after placing their baby for adoption. This grief process can include denial, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. This grieving is normal, even for women who are sure of their decision.
Identity and Relationship Stress
In some women, the process of placing a baby for adoption can cause both internal and external stress. Internal stress often comes up as a conflict of identity – Am I a mother if I don’t keep my baby? Who am I to my birth child now? These stresses can often be overcome through counseling and time.
Other times, women experience external stress in their relationships with others. It could be that they are comfortable with their decision but family members were not. There could also be some stress in the open adoption relationship. Most women resolve these problems through seeking support from the adoption agency, talking to other birth parents, and open communication.
Pride and Empowerment
Women often feel a lot of positive things about their adoption plans. Many women feel a sense of pride and accomplishment after placing their child for adoption. It takes great internal strength to place a child in another family. Birth mothers often feel proud for putting their child’s needs in front of their own, and for helping to create a family.
Finally, women who place their children for adoption usually gain a sense of peace after the initial process has finished. Because so many of today’s adoptions are open, women who place a child for adoption get the opportunity to watch him or her grow, learn, and thrive. This can provide a sense of peace and reassurance that they made a healthy and loving choice despite the difficulty of the decision.
The Effects of Choosing Abortion
Just as not all women feel the same after placing a child for adoption, there is also no one way they feel after choosing abortion. Most women will feel a range of emotions and go through many stages.
Grief and Loss
Just like adoption, women who choose abortion often go through several stages of grief. Often this grief is complicated by thoughts of possible alternatives. Counseling and support from friends and family can help women deal with the grieving process, and these feelings may lessen over time.
In contrast to adoption, abortion is often an isolating experience. Adoption can sometimes feel like gaining a new family, but abortion often makes women feel alone and separate. This is compounded when women feel the need to keep their abortion a secret from family, friends, or a partner. Suppressing the natural feelings of grief and loss after an abortion can make them more difficult to process and lead to deeper depression and grief.
Post-abortion depression, or PAD, is a recognized condition in many women who have undergone an abortion. Counselors often compare the symptoms of PAD to the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Usually women who are going through some form of PAD have been unable to address their feelings in a healthy or proactive way. Counseling, support, and therapy are often the best approaches to these problems.
At Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoptions, we help women with difficult pregnancy decisions every day. Call (405) 949-4200 to schedule an appointment. We can talk with you about your pregnancy options, provide free and confidential services, and simply listen to your concerns.
Call or visit Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption today for free support, information and help. You can also visit our Facebook page to learn more about our agency and read what some of our past clients have to say.