Television shows and commercials often show couples excited and happy when they find out they're going to be parents. However, in reality, pregnancy isn't always a happy event. When you're faced with an unplanned pregnancy, you may feel alone and afraid. You may feel unprepared and wonder what to do next. You may be experiencing feelings of guilt and shame because you're not overjoyed about having a baby.

Your feelings are normal

Many pregnancies occur that are unplanned. It's normal to feel worried and conflicted about what to do and how to prepare for the future. Don't feel guilty. Even planned pregnancies are life-changing events. Emotional ups and downs are natural in planned and unplanned pregnancies.

Face your fears

What are you really afraid of? Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Are you concerned about having adequate finances to support a child? Are you fearful about the birth process itself and the pain involved? Are you worried it will affect your career and future plans?

Once you know why you're afraid, you can dig deeper into the specific issues and see if your fears are truly justified. For instance, you may feel you're financially unable to afford a child. However, in talking with others, you may learn many parents raised children just fine on meager wages and even saved for their child's college education.

Don't make hasty decisions

When you initially learn you're pregnant, you shouldn't make any major decisions right away. Talking to supportive friends or family members is a good place to start. Be honest about your feelings. You should also contact a pregnancy counseling center (such as All Women's Clinic) and schedule an appointment. Nearly every city has a pregnancy center. They can advise you regarding the options that are available to you. They deal with many unplanned pregnancies and will understand the fears you're experiencing.

Don't let anyone make decisions for you

While seeking advice from friends, family, and professional counselors is helpful, you and the father of the child should always have the final say in how to proceed with the pregnancy. Deciding to keep your baby or choosing adoption is a decision you need to make together. It's also a decision you should take some time to think about before reaching any conclusions.

Once you take an honest look at your fears and concerns, you'll be better equipped to face the future. Gather information about pregnancy and parenting. Think about the advice your friends and family gave you and the options you learned about from your pregnancy counselor. Then take some time to discuss the issues with the baby's father before you decide what is best for you and your baby. Ultimately, it's your body, your baby, your choice.