Should I have a baby?

If you're pregnant and you're not sure how you feel about it deciding what to do next can be overwhelming. You're not alone, The Mix is here to hold your hand and help you through it.

Girl looking confused

You're not alone. There is support out there to help you decide.

You’ve taken a pregnancy test and it’s positive. So many questions are buzzing through your head: am I ready to be a mother? How will I cope? Where will we live? Can I afford it? What about my studies? Deciding whether or not to keep a baby is a big decision, but the important thing to remember is this is YOUR decision and no one else’s. Here at The Mix we can’t make this choice for you – but we can help you analyse your feelings. Here’s what you should consider asking yourself if you’re trying to decide whether to keep the baby.

How did you feel when you first found out you were pregnant?

What was your initial reaction? Was it horror? Happiness? Confusion? It’s worth coming back to this initial response when you’re making your decision as it’s easy to override your instinct with logic. So if your first thought was “I’m really pleased”, but now you’ve got bogged down with thinking about the practicalities, remind yourself you were initially happy. Yes, the practicalities of having a child needs huge consideration, but factor in your feelings too.

How do you feel about being pregnant?

It’s hardly a secret that pregnancy can be a challenge. What with morning sickness, odd cravings, and your body changing dramatically. Then, of course, there’s the birth itself which – well, let’s be honest – will be one heck of an experience. How does thinking about this make you feel? Do you feel ready to go through such a life-changing process? Also, remember that all of this is the relatively easy part compared to the challenge of bringing up a child. Of course, it’s natural for woman of any age to be nervous of the whole pregnancy/birth thing – but it’s more about whether you feel ready to take it on.

How do you feel about your relationship?

We’re assuming your pregnancy wasn’t an immaculate conception, so it’s worth examining your relationship with the father and the impact of adding a child to the equation. Is your relationship stable? Do you want to have a child with this man? Can you imagine them being a good parent? If not, how do you feel about doing all this by yourself? How do you feel about not having a father for your child? Identifying your reaction to these questions could help you make a decision.

The practicalities of having a child

So you’ve looked at how you feel. Now it might be worth looking at the actual practicalities of having a child and deciding whether it’s something you could do. Here are some things to consider:

Money

Babies aren’t cheap. You’ll be financially responsible for their food, clothes, nappies, and providing a warm roof over their head. If you want to continue working or want to study, can you afford childcare?

Your future

Still in education? Or only just got into the world of work? How will having a child affect this? How will you finish your A-levels/degree? Does your company offer good maternity leave?

Long-term

The baby phase is relatively short-lived. Consider not only if you want to take on an infant, but a toddler, a child – even a moody teenager. Because the baby will be all those things in time.

Freedom

It’s the little things that people don’t realise they’ll miss after having a child. Just a simple thing like going to the cinema isn’t doable with a child. You have to get a baby-sitter. Want a night out? You’ll need a baby-sitter. Even if you get a sitter – your baby won’t stop crying the next day just because you have a hangover.

Hard bloody work

Child-rearing is a full-time, 24-hour-job that goes on for 18 years. Think about how you’ll cope with sleepless nights, round-the-clock feeding and nappy changing, moving onto school runs, and chauffeuring them to ballet/football lessons.

Of course, this isn’t to suggest having a baby would be an awful experience. It’s likely to be quite the opposite and the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. But it’s important to consider the realities and how you feel you’ll manage.

Talk to someone

Don’t feel you have to go through this by yourself. Yes, the decision is ultimately yours, but talk through your emotions with a trusted friend or relative. If you don’t feel you have anyone to turn to, then speak to your GP, or ring you local sex clinic, Brook, FPA, or Marie Stopes.

Be aware of organisations that claim to advertise ‘impartial’ pregnancy or abortion advice, as they’re sometimes strongly anti-abortion. They may pressure you into keeping your baby even if it’s not the best decision for you. Make sure you’re seeking help from a trusted source. The Next Steps part of this article is a good place to start.

Taking your time

This is a big decision and it’s certainly not one to rush. Yet it’s worth knowing that if you’re considering an abortion, the procedure is easier the earlier you have it. Ideally, you would want to have an abortion in the first nine weeks. Also, if you’re considering having the baby you ideally need to tell your GP ASAP so they can organise your antenatal care.

Still confused? This online test by Marie Stopes may help you examine your feelings further.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • FPA give sexual health advice. For Northern Ireland helpline call 0345 122 8687.
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015