Finding yourself 16 and pregnant can be a terrifying experience. One of the first questions to come to mind is usually “what are my options?” While you do have several different options, deciding on the best one is a very personal choice, and one you’ll really need to think over before making a final decision. Do not let anyone pressure you into any decision. Just remember, you are the one that is 16 and pregnant, not your boyfriend, not your best friend, not even your parents. It is okay to take advice from others, but ultimately, you need to decide what is best for you.
16 and Pregnant: Your Options
- Keeping and raising the baby with support.
You can keep and raise your baby with the help of the baby’s father, or with the help of your parents. A strong support system, especially from those closest to you, is the most ideal environment in which to cope with being 16 and pregnant. Your parents or the father’s parents may be willing to help with child care while you finish school, help provide financial support until you can get on your feet, and offer parenting advice when you find yourself frustrated because your baby won’t stop crying at 3am.
- Keeping and raising the baby on your own.
If your parents through you out or you feel you have no other option but to raise the baby on your own, keep in mind that you’ll face significant challenges and will still need a support system of some type. In the eyes of the law in some states, being 16 and pregnant is a little different than being 15 or younger and pregnant, as you may be eligible to become an emancipated minor. This means that you will be responsible for all your own finances, and will effectively live as an adult. This is definitely one of the hardest options, but despite all the horror stories out there, many young mothers went on to raise healthy, happy children, so it can be done.
- Giving the baby up for adoption.
If you’re 16 and pregnant, and do not feel ready to raise a baby, adoption may be the best choice for you. You have several different options regarding adoption. If you want to know who will be getting your baby, you can opt for open adoption. You may even be able to interview potential parents and decide for yourself who would give your child the best life. If you want to keep up with your baby’s life, many adoptive parents will send pictures, letters, and even eventually introduce you to the child as his or her birth mother, allowing you to form a relationship with your baby. On the other hand, if you feel this will be too painful, you can opt for closed adoption. An agency will place your baby with parents of their choosing (don’t worry, there is usually a rigorous application process and the parents need to prove they can care for a baby to get on the list) and you will have no knowledge of your baby’s placement or contact with the parents.
- Having an abortion.
If you do not want to carry the baby to term and your personal beliefs do not forbid it, you can opt to have an abortion. This may be one of the hardest choices to make, as it is the one choice that can’t be undone. Counseling prior to the procedure is recommended so that you can make the most informed choice possible. If you do opt to have an abortion, don’t go alone. Take you mom, boyfriend, best friend, counselor, or anyone else that you can trust to make sure you get home safely afterward, as excessive bleeding and fainting is always a risk after the procedure.
Remember, ultimately, the decision must be yours. This statement bears repeating because when you’re 16 and pregnant, it is too easy to let someone else step in and make the decision for you.