27 Feb Unexpected Motherhood
By Kimberly Williams
Each year there are millions of unintended pregnancies. In 2013, I became part of that statistic, which changed my life forever. I had been casually dating a guy for 6 months. It was right before Christmas of 2012 that I decided to take a pregnancy test, never expecting it to be positive. In fact, I took the test and left my house completely forgetting about it. When I came back and saw that it was positive, my entire body went cold. This couldn’t be happening to me! After quite a bit of discussing what to do with the father, we both knew we didn’t want to raise a child together. He suggested I have an abortion. I struggled with the temptation of being able to have a quick surgery to “make it go away”. No one would know, if I had an abortion. Life would go on as normal. There would be no embarrassment from having my friends and family find out how irresponsible I had been. However, ultimately, I knew I couldn’t have an abortion.
While this was all happening in my life, I knew a wonderful couple from my job. They were in the process of an international adoption because of the lack of babies domestically to adopt. They talked to me about their excitement about adopting these two little girls. They showed me pictures of the girls and discussed how they decorated their rooms. Two days before they were scheduled to fly out to pick up the girls, they were told they couldn’t adopt them. They were devastated and heartbroken. They had tried for 10 years to have a biological child, and now had the pain of a failed adoption. There was no doubt in my mind that they were supposed to be my unborn child’s parents!
I’m not going to lie and say adoption was easy. It is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life. Right after my son was born, I questioned daily whether I made the right decision. There were many nights of crying and days of depression. However, as time went by, I began to realize the decision I made was the best one for my son. His adoptive parents are two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met! They are loving to each other and to him. I get pictures of him often. I meet up with them to see him once a year. It still hurts sometimes knowing I’m not with my son. However, it brings so much joy to my life knowing my son exists and brings love and happiness to the world!
When a woman is unintentionally pregnant, there are only three options: 1)she can have the baby and raise the child; 2) she can terminate the pregnancy; or 3) she can have the baby and choose for someone else to raise the child (adoption). I chose adoption because it was the best decision for me and my infant son. Statistics show, however, that in 2014 only 1.1% of unwanted pregnancies ended in adoption , which is about 69,350 adoptions. That same year, there were 652,639 abortions performed. That’s a large difference! Adoption was best for me, but is it the best option for most women?
Abortion may seem like an easy decision. It allows a woman to discretely be rid of an unwanted pregnancy. But is it as easy as it sounds? One of my best friends became pregnant when she was 19. She had dated the father for many years but neither of them were ready to have a child. She made the decision to have an abortion before her family found out about her pregnancy. That was 15 years ago. With abortion seeming so easy, she should be over it by now, right? Wrong! It haunts her constantly. Later in life she had fertility issues that makes it impossible for her to have a baby now. She has spent the last couple of years trying to have a child through adoption. However, there aren’t t many babies placed for adoption. She will always struggle with guilt from her decision. Thus while abortion may seem like the easy, quick fix in the moment, it has long lasting effects.
I’ve talked to quite a few women who chose abortion instead of adoption. I very much want to understand what motivates them to make that choice. It seems there are quite a few misconceptions about adoption that may sway a woman’s decision. A birth mother may think her child will hate her because of her choice. She may think she will never see her child again. She may think people will see her as a horrible, irresponsible person because of her choice. However statistics show all those statements are false. Over 90% of adopted children over the age of 5 have positive feelings about being adopted. A birth mother is in control of the openness of the adoption. In my case we have an open adoption, meaning I have contact with the adoptive parents and my son. An adoption can be semi-open, which means contact goes through the adoption agency. Or, for birth mothers who don’t want any contact, they can choose a closed adoption. Mothers who choose to place their child for adoption statistically are more likely to finish school, less likely to live in poverty, more likely to get married, and less likely to get divorced. Studies also show they are no more likely to suffer from negative psychological consequences.
While adoption may not be perfect for everyone, it is a much better option than abortion. Both options have a lasting effect on the woman, but adoption comes with a lot of joy. Placing my child for adoption wasn’t consequence free. However, there is now a wonderful, smart little boy in the world who deserved life. He had the right to live! I urge you to remember my story when faced with an unintended pregnancy or helping a friend deal with one. Adoption is not the easy choice, but it is the right choice when the alternative is abortion
Kimberly Williams is the mother of five biological children and three step children. She has been married to her husband, Andrew, for two years. She will finish her bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies in the summer of 2019.