Guest Post by Caroline,* Birthmother
Family, friends, and fears influenced Caroline's thinking, but a thoughtful pregnancy counselor shared options while leaving the decision up to her.Sponsored Post by Bethany Christian Services
Pregnancy coaches and counselors have a front-row seat to an expectant mother’s decision-making process— first to carry the pregnancy to term and then to decide to parent or place the child for adoption. Caroline’s story shows how family, friends, and fears influenced her thinking, and how a thoughtful pregnancy counselor shared options with an expectant mother while leaving the decision up to her.
I was 19 years old when I sat in the doctor’s office waiting for the results of my pregnancy test. The doctor had lots of questions for me: “What if you are pregnant? Do you have a plan? Is the father in the picture?” I was annoyed with her questions and silently hoped the test would come back negative. I wasn’t ready for a baby.
Then the results came back. “Well, Caroline,” she said, “you’re about five weeks along.”
A sudden flood of thoughts and worries came to my mind. I could hardly imagine a human being growing and developing inside of me. I didn’t want any reminder of the man who got me pregnant. I started thinking, “I can’t have this child.”
I didn’t know what to do. I thought about getting an abortion, but I didn’t know how I’d afford it. I’d only told two people about the pregnancy, and I wasn’t sure if I should tell anyone else. The more people I told, the more I felt guilty for wanting to abort this child.
I decided to give myself a few days to gather my thoughts and think everything through.
The days of “gathering my thoughts” became more like beating myself up about all that had led to me becoming pregnant. I felt like I needed help to figure out what to do next. I searched on Google and came across Bethany Christian Services. I’d heard of Bethany because a couple from my church had done an international adoption with them. After browsing the website, I texted a Bethany pregnancy counselor who sent me more information.
A few days later, I met Gina* at my local Bethany office. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure at the time that I would choose adoption, but I thought hearing about it wouldn’t hurt.
We talked about adoption, but we also talked about other options and factors to weigh as I made my decision. Without pressuring me, she suggested I take some time and then meet again the following week. On the way home, my heart felt an overwhelming peace, and I decided to continue meeting with Gina. In time, I decided that making an adoption plan was right for me and my child.
That’s not to say it wasn’t still scary. It was hard to think about carrying my baby girl for nine months, giving birth, and then placing her in the arms of another family. That was the hardest part. I enjoyed feeling her movements and kicks. As time went by, as my stomach stretched with marks, I started falling in love with the life to come, and I knew I had to be a part of this child’s life. I wanted to pursue an open adoption plan.
This wasn’t a popular choice among my family and some of my friends. Some said abortion would be a simpler option. Others said “giving away” my baby meant I didn’t love her. Their objections brought back some of my questions and fears, and I had to work through them again. Little did they know that open adoption meant I would be part of my daughter’s life, and she would know me and how much I love her.
As the process went on, I was ready to view family profiles with Gina and narrow down my selection to a couple I hoped would be my daughter’s parents. I was so nervous and anxious to meet Jason* and Jackie,* but after we talked and asked each other a lot of questions, I knew they were the family I was looking for.
The day Eva* was born, I was in labor for about 13 hours. Even then the fear came back that my heart would break to place my baby with anyone else. But I had a great support team with me at the hospital cheering as I pushed again and as Eva came into the world.
Friends and family came to visit in the hospital, and then the time eventually came to sign the papers and prepare to leave without a baby. Placing Eva in the arms of her new family was unbelievably hard—the pain is still with me today—yet I was happy to feel at peace. My daughter has a family that loves her, and I have an open relationship with my daughter. She will always know she has two families that love her.
As a life-affirming agency, Bethany Christian Services helps expectant parents decide if parenting or making an adoption plan is right for their family. Learn more at bethany.org/Pregnancy-Support.
*Names changed to protect privacy.