10 Tips For Coping With A Surprise Pregnancy

It’s 2017, so why do we still get surprised about pregnancies? 

Many of Us Still Lack Access to Birth Control

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, in 2017, over 19 million women of childbearing age lived in areas of US where they lacked access to a public clinic where they could get access to contraception. That’s half the women of childbearing age in the US. Insurers don’t always cover birth control, or only cover a limited one-month supply.

We Often Forget To Use Birth Control or It’s Not Convenient

According to the CDC’s survey in 2012, 60% of women who give birth to unplanned babies did not use contraception when they became pregnant. Birth control pills have to be taken daily or at the same time every day. Couples are uncomfortable discussing whose responsibility it is to use contraception and often assume the other partner is using contraception without asking.

Sometimes we were ambivalent about becoming pregnant, but maybe not quite ready just yet? 


Here Are 5 Helpful Tips On Handling The News.

1. Don’t Panic. Your life is not over. This is 2017, pregnant women and mothers can go to school, work, breastfeed wherever they want. You can still do all the things you planned to do. Some things (like your trip to that amazing beach in Thailand) may need to wait a bit), but you will find many amazing moments in parenting that will quickly beat anything you think you’ve missed out on.

2. It’s OK to Not Feel Excited. If you find that all aspects of being pregnant or being a mother are giving you hives right now—that’s fine. Give yourself some time to adjust to the idea. Feel free to hate the thought and be mad about it. Grieve the independent carefree life you thought you’d have for a few weeks. You are not a bad parent if you have mixed feelings. Some parents don’t fall in love with parenthood until their child starts walking around. Just keep your doctors’ appointments.

3. Don’t Expect Your Partner to Act a Certain Way. If you were surprised, so was your partner. Don’t expect immediate excitement, planning, happiness, and support. It may take your partner some time to get used to the idea of the pregnancy and parenthood. Give it some time and don’t interpret surprise as a disappointment. Don’t get into an argument of blaming each other for the pregnancy. It’s not helpful and it’s too late. You need to switch to supporting each other.

4. Remember You Are Still In Charge. Yes, you may have to constantly think of the new life you are about to be responsible for, but you are still in charge of your life and your decisions. Make plans and decisions the same way you made before. Take your time, plan for the future, consult experts only if you need them. Don’t think that you are now helpless just because you are a parent. Don’t let everyone in the world tell you what the right thing to do is. There is no right or wrong way to parent.

5. Seek Support. Connect with as many people as you can. You need to talk to everyone about your feelings and get people on board with your decisions and choices. Have family and friends ready to help you when the child is born. If you don’t have support available, ask your doctor for support groups or mothers’ groups in the area.

If your child is nearing birth and you are still struggling to come to terms with the pregnancy or your partner or family are not being supportive, ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist. Don’t try to handle your stress alone as you are getting ready to become a parent. Parenthood is challenging for everyone and additional support will put you ahead of the game.



Published by Dr. Elena Mikalsen

I am a Clinical Psychologist and a novelist.

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