An unplanned pregnancy can be a frightening and struggling time for women of any age. You could be now facing an unexpected pregnancy and have no idea what to do or who to talk about it with. You need someone to trust, to help you explore your options, someone who can be a listening ear, and someone who can advise you without judgment. That’s where an unplanned pregnancy counselor can come in.
Hear from an unplanned pregnancy counselor
Before I get into the informative part of this article, I’d like to share a story from a pregnancy counselor. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda, who’s a pregnancy counselor, and she has an amazing story to share. (Amanda has asked that I leave her work information and location out of the article for privacy reasons.) Amanda loves helping women facing an unplanned pregnancy and believes that having compassion is vital while working in this field.
Hello, Amanda, you work as a pregnancy counselor. How long have you been working as a pregnancy counselor?
Amanda: “I’ve been a pregnancy counselor for almost five years now and I love my job. Helping others is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and will continue to do even after retirement.”
What does it take to be a great pregnancy counselor?
Amanda: “It helps greatly if you’re a compassionate person. Women from different age groups, ethnicities, and backgrounds face an unplanned pregnancy, and they usually come feeling vulnerable and looking for help. It helps to be non-judgemental and it helps to emphasize with them. I try my best to fully help these women and I always let them know I’m here to support them in whatever decision they make.”
What are the educational requirements to become a pregnancy counselor?
Amanda: “There are many different educational paths to become a pregnancy counselor. Depending on the agency or company, you could have just a high school diploma and take classes offered at the company or you could go to college and get a degree. If this is a career you’re passionate about, go to college, study human services, social work, psychology, or nursing. I personally chose to study psychology and minored in social work to become a mental health therapist, but I fell in love with working with women and families and that’s how I became a pregnancy counselor. I think I’ll still be a pregnancy counselor, once I get my degree next year.”
What are some of the challenges that you face as a pregnancy counselor?
Amanda: “The most challenging aspect is seeing just how hard of a life that the majority of these women have. One of the challenges I face with that is figuring out the best way to help these women in their different circumstances. For example, a teenage mother came to me one day and was on the verge of being homeless. She had nowhere else to go once her parents kicked her out. So I sympathized with her and reassured her that I’d help her find a place to live and help her with anything else she needed.”
What do you love most about being a pregnancy counselor?
Amanda: “What I love most is helping make a difference in women’s lives. Not just the women but their children as well. Even if it’s a small difference, I’m helping these women change their lives for the better and it’s nice to see how far they come and what they’ve chosen to do with their lives. I like talking to the women about the goals and plans they have for their and their children’s lives, whether they’re raising their baby or placing their baby for adoption. I honestly feel happy going into work each day, knowing I’m doing something very meaningful.”
What’s a typical day look like for a pregnancy counselor?
Amanda: “No day is the same, that’s for sure. I help all kinds of different women, usually five or so a week. Whether I’m researching different adoption agencies, getting last-minute supplies for a very expectant mother, or just replying to emails for women who are looking for help, I find everything I do here meaningful. At the end of each day, I like to have some quiet time to relax and reflect on what I did great and what I can do better on.”
Now let’s get to some educational information about unplanned pregnancy counselors.
What is an unplanned pregnancy counselor and what do they do?
In simple terms, an unplanned pregnancy counselor is a professional who helps women that are going through an unplanned pregnancy. These professionals help you with your options and will ultimately let you choose whatever option you decide to do with your unplanned pregnancy. They also openly listen to you about your concerns, talk about how you’re feeling, and will always strive to do the best they can to help you.
Unplanned pregnancy counselors offer guidance, confidentiality, support, and will provide referrals to you if there’s something they can’t help you with on their own (medical assistance, housing options, career/job options, educational opportunities, etc.).
What are some things that the unplanned pregnancy counselor will talk to me about?
What you and your unplanned pregnancy counselor wish to talk about is up to you. Most likely, the pregnancy counselor will ask you questions and provide some insight on some important questions to think about that’ll have an impact on both your and your baby’s future. Some joys come with having a baby, but there are also challenges that you’ll have to be aware of.
Depending on your current situation and goals you have for your life, you could think about your family life, home, career, school, finances, and health. Your pregnancy counselor can help you figure out these questions and help you plan for the future.
Here are some great life questions to think about:
- Do I have a great support system?
- What are my goals for the future?
- What is my financial situation like?
- Is the baby’s father supportive?
- Do I plan on going to school?
- Will I have job flexibility?
- Am I good physically, mentally, and emotionally?
- What about my other children?
- What is my home situation like?
- Will I be ready to go through with an abortion?
- What financial assistance will I be eligible for?
- Will I be ready to place my child for adoption?
- Do I have the maturity to be able to raise a child?
What are my options?
Let’s discuss your options and how unplanned pregnancy counselors can help you with each one. There are three options: parenting, abortion, and adoption. An unplanned pregnancy counselor can help you navigate and learn about each option so you will feel confident about your decision.
If you choose to parent: Parenting isn’t easy and comes with its own set of challenges. If you choose to parent your baby, an unplanned pregnancy counselor will provide referrals for medical assistance, housing assistance, parenting classes, and help you with employment opportunities. The pregnancy counselor will be there for emotional support, help you plan goals, help you to establish healthy relationships, and help you find community resources to aid you with your parenting journey.
If you choose abortion: Abortion isn’t a topic that you should take lightly. If you choose to have an abortion, the pregnancy counselor will be there for emotional support and will be a compassionate ally to lean on. The pregnancy counselor will refer you to medical professionals and will be there if you’re afraid to go alone. Even after the abortion, the pregnancy counselor will be there if you need to talk about how you’re feeling.
If you choose adoption: Adoption is a courageous and selfless decision that changes you and your baby’s life for the better. Know that you’re not “giving up” your baby. There’s a lot involved in the adoption-placing process and it’s no doubt an emotional journey. Luckily, you’ll have the help of an unplanned pregnancy counselor to help you every step of the way. If you choose adoption, a pregnancy counselor will help you figure out whether you’d like to go with an open, semi-open, or closed adoption.
The pregnancy counselor can also help you after you place your baby for adoption with post-placement support and counseling.
What are all the services that an unplanned pregnancy counselor can help me with?
Services that pregnancy counselors can provide include:
- Free counseling services
- Assistance with medical bills
- Housing assistance
- Supplies for both you and baby
- Healthcare referrals
- Educational services
- Relationship advice
- Goal planning
- Parenting classes
Those are just the majority of services provided by a pregnancy counselor.
Can a pregnancy counselor help me place my baby for adoption?
Yes. The most common place that pregnancy counselors work is at an adoption agency. Sometimes known as adoption counselors or specialists, pregnancy counselors in an adoption agency will go over the adoption-placing process, help you choose a great family looking to adopt a baby, and help you after placing your baby.
Placing your baby for adoption can be a very emotional experience, but your pregnancy counselor will be with you every step of the way. Also, if you need to speak to a pregnancy counselor after office hours, many adoption agencies offer a 24/7 pregnancy hotline. If you’re having doubts or wish to change your mind about your adoption, it’s up to you to make that choice and your pregnancy counselor will support your decision.
Will the pregnancy counselor help me with my birth plan?
Yes. The pregnancy counselor can help you create a birth plan as well as facilitate your wants and needs in regards to the baby’s birth. It helps to think of the things you’d want and don’t want to happen leading up to the baby’s birth.
- Do you want someone in the room with you?
- Once he or she is born, do you want to hold the baby?
- Do you want to take photos of you and the baby?
- Do you want the adoptive parents in the room with you?
- Would you like to bond with the baby?
- Do you want to feed the baby?
- Do you want the adoptive parents to spend time with the baby with you present?
- Would you like to name the baby?
- Would you want the baby to stay in the same room as you or the hospital nursery?
Think of any other questions and you can always ask your pregnancy counselor for some important questions to consider as well.
For more information
Expectant mothers looking to place their child for adoption, read this Adoption.com article for the top 10 questions to ask an adoption agency if you’re considering adoption. Read this article for some questions to ask a hopeful adoptive family before placing. Check out Adoption.com to read about free pregnancy support and counseling.