Finding out you are pregnant when it is unexpected can be quite a shock. Sometimes, a wonderful, blissful shock. Other times, a scary, terrifying shock. The truth is, no reaction to an unexpected pregnancy is right or wrong. As human beings, we will judge one another and how we think others should respond. But unless we face the same set of circumstances as someone else, we need to try to keep our judgments in check and be supportive of each other.
So, if your friend who has three children and is struggling to make ends meet ecstatically announces a fourth pregnancy, be happy for and with her. She already knows she’s struggling. But she also knows that the struggle isn’t permanent. If she is feeling joy over another addition, it isn’t your job to squash her happiness.
Or, on the opposite end, if a friend unexpectedly pregnant with baby number one feels overwhelmed and insecure, don’t judge her for her insecurities. Lift her up with positivity. Validate her fears but be supportive too.
I reached out to a few friends about their own unexpected pregnancies and how they felt when they found out they were expecting.
The following are quotes from women I know regarding their feelings about pregnancy:
Regarding her three children, when asked if any were unexpected, she replied, “All of mine were. I was on birth control with [Two] and [Three]. [One] was the result of a failed pull-out method. LOL.” We had a good laugh about that failed “method.” Ah, to be young and foolishly think that would work as birth control. But when I asked how she felt when she found out, she said, “Not mad, was kinda like, ummmmm what? But I love my kids.” So, clearly, there was a level of surprise with this momma, but a pleasant surprise. This isn’t always the case, though.
Another friend has four children. All of them were unplanned, but one came as more of a shock than the others. She had just had baby number two and was at her six-week checkup after the delivery. She was hoping to get birth control and a clean bill of health. The doctor gave her the shock of her life by telling her that she was pregnant, again. “I cried. I did not want a back-to-back pregnancy. I actually hated the world. But I love him and I wouldn’t change things for anything.” She indicated that she remained anxious and uneasy throughout the entire pregnancy. That unexpected pregnancy was the most difficult for her.
While she says she felt a bit scared with the first two, that third pregnancy that happened so quickly after the second where she was parenting a new infant while being once again newly pregnant was extremely difficult. A few years later, baby four came along and with that pregnancy, she just felt joy. She felt confident in her parenting skills by then and with a few years in between, she felt ready to bring home baby four.
Another friend said, “When I first found out I was pregnant, I was with the father and he got really scared. But to be honest, I was really excited and nervous. I didn’t have a huge support system because a lot of people didn’t know, so it could be stressful at times. Now, I am as happy as ever!”
So far, these have been adult pregnancies. Here is the reaction of a younger teenage mom:
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was 14. My mom took me to a yearly checkup. At that time, I took a pregnancy test which came out positive. Two weeks later, I had an ultrasound and found out it was not one but TWO fetuses living inside of me. I felt disappointed in myself. Scared, confused, and felt like it was going to be very difficult not knowing what was going to happen from that day, that moment. Even though I was as young as I happened to be at the time, I had no second thought or doubt about taking the responsibility to raise the babies that I clearly did not expect. Even though I was scared and confused, I felt so much love and care for my growing babies.”
This little mama is a rock star in my opinion. She took the extremely shocking news of her unexpected pregnancy and decided to make changes in her life to become the best young mom possible. She graduated high school, went to a tech college, married, and recently had baby number three. Things have not been easy and she has struggled. However, she found a good support system and is doing really well.
Here is a bit of a different teen story.
“I found out I was pregnant when I was 19. It was a challenging time; my family was going through some things what with my dad being sick. I was scared to disappoint him. I decided that I would have an abortion and not tell my parents that I had ever become pregnant. When I went to get the abortion, I found out that I didn’t need to do it, that I was actually miscarrying. That brought out different emotions than I expected. I was so sad. Even though I had planned on having an abortion, I still felt incredibly sad that I miscarried. I wondered if it was some sort of punishment for deciding on the abortion or if I would be unable to have a baby in the future.”
A few years later, she had another unexpected pregnancy happen. This time, her father’s health had improved. She was in a long-term relationship with the baby’s father and while she was nervous about the pregnancy, she felt better prepared to be a mom.
Another young friend said this about her unexpected pregnancies: “I found out I was pregnant and I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I was too young and, quite honestly, still too selfish to take care of a baby. I decided to have an abortion. I told a few friends and some thought I was being selfish. But, for me, I knew it was the right choice. Now, a few years later, I became pregnant again. This time, I struggled more with what to do. The baby’s father really wanted me to have the baby. I wasn’t sure if I was ready. In the end, I did have her. It isn’t easy, but I am so in love with her.”
This unexpected pregnancy resulted in an open adoption. “I come from a pretty religious family. I always attended private schools and religion was a big part of our lives. I became pregnant as a young teenager. I was scared to death. I knew abortion was not an option and I didn’t want to do that anyway so I had to get the courage to talk to my parents. They didn’t think I was ready to try to raise a baby.
“I had an aunt who was having fertility problems. We decided that she would adopt my baby. It wasn’t easy. Some days I struggled and wished that I could try to raise her. But I was young and my aunt could provide a better situation for her. I was grateful that I would still be able to watch her grow and have a relationship with her. It was a bit hard because they lived in a different state, so visits weren’t as often as I would have liked. But I still feel lucky that it was an open adoption and we still are able to know each other and have a bond.”
These are just a few stories about unexpected pregnancy that I was able to get from acquaintances.
I looked online for quotes that applied to unexpected pregnancy as well.
Actress Patricia Heaton said, “A woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy also deserves to experience unplanned joy.” For some of the above unplanned-pregnancy stories, there certainly seems to be some unplanned joy. But joy isn’t always the case when there is an unexpected pregnancy.
Actress Jennifer Garner addressed the media unexpectedly leaking her pregnancy before she was able to share it herself with her inner circle. While we don’t know if the pregnancy itself was unexpected, the media announcement certainly was. “The news of my pregnancy got out when I was in the middle of my first trimester. I hadn’t even had a chance to tell my friends. That alone was so ugly. It made me hyper-proactive…I feel uncomfortable with people reading too much about my pregnancy or my relationship. It grosses me out. It’s too sweet to read about or dissect.”
I cannot imagine being a celebrity and having my personal moments splashed in headlines without concern for my privacy. How incredibly difficult it must be to explain to family and friends who did not yet hear the news personally that you did not intend for the media to have or share the information and that they were not left out intentionally.
Another celebrity that dealt with the media sharing their pregnancy news before they were ready was Kylie Jenner. She released this statement on her Instagram regarding her pregnancy:
“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark through all the assumptions. I understand you’re used to me bringing you along on all my journeys. My pregnancy was one I chose not to do in front of the world. I knew for myself that I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress-free, and healthy way I knew how. There was no gotcha moment, no big paid reveal I had planned. I knew my baby would feel every stress and every emotion so I chose to do it this way for my little life and our happiness.
“Pregnancy has been the most beautiful, empowering, and life-changing experience I’ve had in my entire life and I’m actually going to miss it. I appreciate my friends and especially my family for helping me make this special moment as private as we could. My beautiful and healthy baby girl arrived February 1st and I just couldn’t wait to share this blessing. I’ve never felt love and happiness like this I could burst! Thank you for understanding.”
“The best decision I ever made was keeping my baby.” This is a quote from the wonderful poet Maya Angelou. She was a young mother, having a child at the age of 16. Maya Angelou has many incredible motherhood quotes, poems, and books regarding motherhood. Her words are often inspirational and full of wisdom.
“My greatest blessing has been the birth of my son. My next greatest blessing has been my ability to turn people into children of mine.”
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” These are all quotes from Maya Angelou. I think you can find a quote to fit most of life’s occasions in her extensive writings.
In looking at unexpected pregnancies, many feelings are involved and those feelings will often change and vary. You may begin scared, only to end up feeling calm and joyful. Or, you may begin joyful, only to quickly become overwhelmed with the reality of the life changes you are about to undergo.
I think the biggest and most important thing is to have a trusted support system to lean on. Being able to talk through all of the emotions, fears, and choices you will face with someone who will be supportive of you no matter what is essential to any big, life-altering event. And no matter what you decide in the face of an unexpected pregnancy, it is life-altering. Having someone to help you through the surprise and help you grasp the situation you are in with sound advice, but also support you even if your opinions on the situation may differ is crucial to getting through such an unexpected situation. If you feel that you don’t have a support system, reach out to a counselor for help.