unplanned pregnancy = abortion?


After failed contraception about 5 weeks ago, and taking a "90%+ effective" emergency contraceptive pill within 20 hours of the event, I am pregnant.

I have also been recently diagnosed with "moderate depression & low mood", after having had copious counselling since January this year to (try to) help with the bereavement of losing my dad unexpectedly just over a year ago. Within a month of his death, and just a week after scattering his ashes, I moved away to start at uni. I made good progress academically and am back for year 2 of an undergraduate course- feeling less numb this time around and therefore, seemingly, more tear-y and just as exhausted!

Because of negative associations with medication, antidepressants in particular (as my dad was taking until he died, and his death was due to an overdose of another prescribed drug), I am opting to see if CBT sessions help before thinking of starting with antidepressants.

My partner has also been diagnosed with "depression" and he feels we are both too unstable at this time to bring a child into the world.

I have yet to book an abortion, but have had the consultation appointment.

Reading this back, it seems I'm set to have this termination.

But I'm not,

I am hesitant to induce another "medicated death" as I'm still deeply bereft from my dad's passing. All of my thoughts are for having this child (i.e. "so-and-so has old baby grows","my room is big enough for a cot", "at least I wouldn't be heavily pregnant in the summer!", "I could go part time at uni".... etc ) are for this pregnancy, but my partner is advising that we are both too "emotionally unstable" to be able to do the right thing by bringing a life into the world. When, as you can probably tell, I've been struggling to fully support myself this past year.

Would having a child motivate me to be more well for myself? Could I focus my efforts on its upbringing? Or is this all wishful thinking? I know having kids is a drain on resources, exhausting (as if I'm not already) etc....

If this was in a few years I'd be delighted. I am really, but it's bitter-sweet as I don't feel like I could fully "give it a life" whether the pregnancy was terminated or not.

I guess what I'm really seeking is some advice, and perhaps a reality check - I can't talk to anyone other than my partner and this annonymous online thing appealed at this time of confusion to reach out and ask for some help.

This is very long, but for those who have, thanks for taking the time to read this.

love to all x

18 Replies

  • Gosh that is very difficult for you. I don't think I can offer advice other than discussing it all with your counselor. If you have a termination and your not 200% then that is with you forever. Difficult when you tried to deal with the failed conception. Good luck, I hope you get some answers and peace soon

  • A baby won't motivate you to be well for yourself, depression isn't something you'll snap out of cause you now need to think of someone else first. A baby could make it all worse, if your exhausted now least you have your time to sleep during the day if you need to, but a baby won't sleep through the night for a little while (unless you're very lucky!) won't sleep during the day much so it's just completely exhausting. I don't think it's something you should do unless you and your partner are well or at least getting help to make every effort towards getting well. Then there's money, if you're in uni and is your partner? How will you provide a life for this child. I don't in any way condone abortions, someone would care for that baby, but sometimes quality of a child's life needs to come first and precautions were taken its not like you left it to chance. It's a huge and hard decision when you already have so much emotional turmoil in your life but imagine what life you could give to a baby in a few years when you are feeling better, when you have finished uni.

    I had postnatal depression after having my son at 21yrs. And I know I could never have another child cause I wasn't mentally or emotionally mature enough personally. And I didn't cope well. And now I'm currently doing the college then uni but and my god it's hard with a now 2yr old!

    I'd personally give yourself a break and allow yourself some time to concentrate on you! Your no good to anyone least of all a baby if your not happy or emotionally stable. X

  • Hi! Firstly I'm sorry your in such a difficult situation. Secondly I've had depression previously and understand where you are, its not a nice place to be. There are no "right" answers to your question as I'm sure you're aware. I know people who have had babies when v depressed, with no money, it was hard, v hard. As has been stated a baby will probably not help your mood, hormones are everywhere and it is a difficult time....but! It can also b a v rewarding time and make u see the world in a different although sleep deprived way. You would hopefully be given alot of support by midwives, counsellors etc, as one of the first questions they ask is about your mental health. You can also take antidepressants whilst pregnant, not ideal, but u can. This doesn't mean I'm advocating u keep the baby, I'm not, I'm just telling you there are options. I also know people who have had abortions, for some it was completely the right decision and at least publicly they never looked back. Others regretted it for months or years until they came to terms with the decision they made.

    Speak to someone as you plan to, be fully informed. If you must write a list of pros and cons, yes its clinical but this is a decision which will change your life. Good luck, whichever path u decide on xxx

  • Get yourself sorted and stable first and foremost, but don't leave it too long to make a decision as babies develop quicker than you think! Abortion isn't a form of contraception but we are all allowed a mistake in life, if you know what I mean, good luck in your choice thinking of u x

  • Seems like this baby is meant to be :-) when I was 20 I accidentally fell pregnant, I was a complete state I didn't want a baby and didn't want to terminate . I suffered terribly with anxiety and have ocd . I decided I had made this life and would have to muddle through I spent the whole 9 months wondering how on earth I would cope , guess whAt ? I did and it was the best thing I ever did - no regret. 29 now 3rd on the way ;-) . Even with anxiety and depression you find a way xxx

  • It seems u have a lot going on. But try to simplify things - you are pregnant - - whether u keep it or not - u will lose sleep - so why not embrace the fact this baby was meant to be. Accept all the help the health professionals can offer u. Take parenting classes and meet other worried mums to be. It is OK to take medication for depression when pregnant so take it if u need it. Uni will help u sort childcare if u want to continue with studies. Embrace parenthood and I am sure a while along the road u will stop doubting yourself and be glad u are a parent. It is hard work but brings rewards too. Take care and gud luck.

  • CBT was life changing for me. It helps you to look at each moment as it arises, rather than dwelling in the past or catastrophising about the future. Talk to your counsellor and listen to your heart. You and others can talk your brain into believing most things, good or bad, but if you sit somewhere quiet and visualise yourself in a few months time and really concentrate on that image, are you cuddling a baby and does your heart lift or are you still independent attending lectures and making your own way in the world and feeling excited about that? Having a baby changes everything. It is hard but the most rewarding thing you can do in life. Nothing compares to it. That said, I had my first at 35 and wouldn't have been ready before. A friend had her two in her early 20s and she now has the joy of being able to go to uni and start her career in her late 30s without having the interruption or health worries of having kids at a later age. There is no right answer, and I wish you all the best in making your extremely difficult decision. You will have some regrets whichever way you choose, but you will find happiness too. You have many years ahead to have babies or study, so good luck and go with your heart, then embrace your decision. Write down why you made that decision and put it somewhere safe, so you have something to look back on if you ever doubt yourself in the future. The brain has a way of focusing on bad things in our past rather then good, so if you make a positive decision for yourself, make sure you always remember it as that.

  • This is a really hard decision to make, I am sure. When pregnant with my first (planned pregnancy) I was also faced with having to think about a termination (for reasons Id rather not go into), and it was the toughest couple of weeks ever! Deep down I knew I could never terminate but I still had to think it all through and discuss the issues. This pregnancy has now resulted in my almost two year old (and I have a three months old) and I can't imagine not having either of my children in my life! Now that in itself is quite different to your situation, I had a stable partner, a job and planned pregnancy. But be very sure about your decision, either way it cannot be undone. And that's probably what your biggest concern is right now, to be honest, so I don't envy you for having to make that decision!

    Ultimately, if neither your partner or you are mentally healthy enough to look after a child, then this could have a huge impact on your child's life. As someone pointed out, financially things could become tricky depending on what your partner does for a living/uni. Sleep will be a thing of the past for a while - my son had terrible colic and screamed through every aingle night for three months! It can be an incredibly exhausting time and it's something no one can understand until they've been through, I think.

    However, it can also be an incredibly rewarding and life changing time, life changing for the better! A child, albeit exhausting, gives you so much love and might make you see the joy in life again, help you get out of your depression. You might make a completely new circle of friends and find comfort in all the little things he/she and you do together! That's not to say have the baby to help you overcome depression though!! That, I don't think would work. But having the baby will change your life, it will make you realise that you are now responsible for this tiny being and might change your outlook on life completely. Or, if you are very unwell, it might be the reason for you to totally spiral out of control... That's hard to say without knowing you and ultimately without you trying it - although you can't 'try this out' for a while.

    When my son was three months old, I flew aboard with him to introduce him to my family abroad. During our flight my dad was found dead in his flat, so he never got to meet his grandson. Like with your dad, my dad passed away unexpectedly and far too soon and I was heart-broken. In addition, my grandad passed away just two weeks later as well. Having my son at the time was what pulled me through this difficult time - again, this is not a reason to have a child!!, but his smiles and cuddles made it all a lot more bearable and there was a reason, a necessity, for me to keep going, if only for him. The danger with having a child during such a time is that we end up burdening our children with our worries and upsets, so you need to bear in mind that you are the adult and your child needs your love and care, they cannot be the ones 'sorting out' your happiness. But they can be brilliant at making you see the joy in life and to see life more positively again.

    I'd written something else but my phone played up and it's gone now :-(

    Ultimately, only you and your partner can make this very difficult decision. But do bear in mind that if you decide against the child, it might not make life easier or better, I know people who decided against their child and we're confident with their decision until it was done, until they had in their heads "now the child would have their first birthday" etc. A termination is something you need to be 'happy about' and live with for the rest of your life. And there is help, emotionally and financially. When thjngs happened with my dad, the health visitors team was fabulous and came to see me regularly to make sure we're doing ok. I'd also had post-traumatic stress disorder previously, so they were keeping an eye on me from the start anyway and made sure I was ok, they would definitely do that with you as well.

    I'm happy to chat more privately if you like and talk about things in more details.

    Otherwise, all the best with your decision!

  • You poor thing :( my baby was unplanned too and I had her whilst at Uni, right in the middle of doing my dissertation!, and she's the best thing that ever happened to me: but that said, I've never suffered with depression.

    This is only my opinion, but it sounds to me like you would regret it. I'm not saying it would be easy (although it sounds like you already know that) but I think you really do want this baby, and killing it (sorry for the harsh word but it's the truth) would be something you'd have to live with for the rest of your life. I have a relative who's had children whilst bipolar and she received so much wonderful support; it can be done. Don't abort your baby just because your partner isn't ready, that could be the biggest mistake of your life. There is rarely a 'right' time to have a baby, there's always something in life that's in the way.

    However, you definitely do have your own health to take into account in all this, but it's hard to comment on that because I don't know you personally. I really would seek plenty of counselling and professional help on this one so you are sure you're making the right decision. You know yourself better than anyone else, so I think you may know the answer already, but it's great to talk it through with an objective professional. If you can say, hand on heart, that you've done the right thing, then you'll have handled it well.

    I really want to wish you the best of luck with this, if you need to talk any more (about being pregnant at uni, etc) then please feel free to message me in confidence :)


  • Aww Hun, what a difficult situation. I'm so sorry you lost you dad, death of a loved one is always difficult to come to terms but time does help, it doesn't heal as many would say but you adjust and find alternative ways to cope. your doing what you can and your doing the right thing getting help now.

    I appreciate that now is not the best time for a baby to come along and you have certainly done everything in your power to avoid this situation but sometimes things just happen, and often happen for a reason.

    I think there are three big questions you should ask yourself, 1) will terminating the baby set your progress back? 2) if you carried on with your pregnancy where would that leave your relationship? 3) if you partner does not believe he is stable enough would you be ok being a single mum?

    Ultimately you have to do what is right for you, it's a decision only you can make as it is you that has to live with that decision one way or another. But do not be pushed into something that you do not want to do!

    Parenthood can be very overwhelming. Babies are exhausting but it can also be very rewarding. There is plenty of support for new mums if you decide to go ahead and your doing everything you can now to getting the help you need. Have a chat with your councillor to gain some perspective.

  • As always the replies are so insightful and warm. I can only echo what's already been said. It's a decision that is really difficult to make. I feel for you- you're thinking about all the options and that's all you can do. I too had a baby while at uni and struggled but wouldn't change it - he's 23!

    I now have a 6 and a 2 year old!! Babies are draining and overwhelming but can make you extremely happy too. Uni will always be there. Talk to your counsellor and take whatever help you can get. It'll be hard Whatever you decide. Good luck and God bless.

  • And there was me thinking no one would take the time to read such a long post!

    Thanks so much EVERYONE for the opinions, advice and supportive comments - different perspectives are helpful :)

    Unfortunately, I stopped my regular counselling just under a month ago because I was advised not to have counselling AND CBT at the same time, and I've only just had my first session of CBT... so bad timing all round really! But there is a telephone counsellor through the abortion service thingy (and I'm definitely talking to them before booking any appointments!). I feel I need to make this decision soon either way (why is "morning" *cough* ALL DAY *cough* sickness a thing?!) as I don't want any complications with abortions if that's what I decide, or this ongoing stress of "what to do" (not helping with the tiredness thing).

    Quite a few of my friends at uni have kids, but personal circumstances and views are different for everyone. Looking at my own circumstances from an outsider's point of view, I would probably advise myself not to go through with it, but it's amazing what maternal instinct does - and how difficult it can be to match it with rational "head" thoughts.

    My partner is being very supportive (and doesn't feel like he can tell anyone but me - why isn't there services for him too? seems unfair) but it's a massive emotional stress on the both of us. And I feel like he's mostly prepared to support an abortion, rather than become a dad, as he's worried for my own health (and his) primarily - as much as a foetus is arguably not a "potential human" but a "human with potential", he also highlighted that we are also both "humans with potential" and both trying to get better for ourselves and build our futures etc. by being at uni. I also feel that having a child could damage our relationship which is something I want to avoid, but then I don't know if that's swaying me to want a termination of pregnancy. So confused.

    It's all swings and roundabouts... Sorry this has become more of an emotional splurge and not a question post. Best wishes and good evenings to all.x

  • I hope things have become a little clearer for you and hope you come to the right decision for yourself!

  • Hi, i am so sorry you are in this situation and for the loss of your father, i too was taking a contraceptive and managed to get pregnant. i had just come out of a long term relationship and got into another one and got pregnant pretty quick am now 33 weeks. I also went through the can we afford this, is it too soon, am i ready how will this go with work/ college etc i thought long and hard about having a termination and was planning on one but then became hesitant and realised that i don't think i could of gone through with it, the truth is there is never a right time to have a baby or a time were you will ever be financially or emotionally stable enough, i don't think having a baby to motivate yourself or giving you something to focus on as a way of trying to help with your depression would be the right way to look at things, as you are the only person that can help yourself, you are in a very difficult position and i don't blame you for being hesitant as it is completely your decision. Your partner is swaying and says that he thinks the both of you are too unstable but i think that fact you have come onto a website and wrote to ask for some advice shows that you do care and are really weighing up options, what i will say to you is that if you do decide you want to keep the baby but your partner isn't favourable to do what you think is best and don't let anyone force you into a decision you don't want to make! you're a human being at the end of the day, we all make mistakes sometimes, try not to beat yourself up about it, i hope whatever you decide you find peace in xx

  • There's always adoption if you were to continue with the pregnancy and felt you couldn't raise the baby yourself.

    Not to sound crass, but healthy newborns are in demand.

  • I want to be a mum, but I don't feel ready right now. The one thing I could never forgive myself for is if I couldn't bring up a child to the best of my abilities. I am going through a particularly tough period of life currently. I know there will never be an ideal time, but there will - I'm sure - be more suitable moments to bring a new life into the world than now for me (and the child!). I couldn't go through with a pregnancy and let my child go.

    Also not to sound crass, but there are plenty of humans on this planet already. I understand the devastation to someone who wants to be a parent but can't for whatever reason (this is my biggest fear personally - that something will go wrong in later pregnancies if I terminate this one) but I have thought about this a lot and I can't go through with the pregnancy. I feel it's the least-worst option in the long term.

  • I'm glad you've been able to make a decision I know it must have been hard. Please take any counselling etc that was offered to you after the termination. I hope life treats you kindly so u can get over this tough period. There is light at the end of the tunnel with depression, take all help offered and u will get there. Xxxx

  • I once read a quote that sid "would you rather be an unprepared parent or never be a parent at all?". It perfectly summed up the situation my hubby and I were in at the time. The nature of life means the timing will never be 'right'. But we realised we wanted to be parents and we went for it. These things have a habit of working themselves out!

    My only advice would be to explore all your options (including support available and adoption) and don't rush into making a decision.

    Take care of yourself.

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