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March 13, 2009

Unexpectedly Expecting: Coping with a surprise pregnancy

I found this article very, very helpful in processing this.

About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and at some point in their lives 48 percent of women in the U.S. find themselves unexpectedly expecting. Not all these pregnancies are necessarily unwanted—they’re just unintended. As a result, they are accompanied by a wide range of emotions, including disbelief, anger, fear, panic, excitement, embarrassment and resentment.

These emotions can come in any sequence and at any time, and all are valid, according to Brad Imler, Ph.D., president of the American Pregnancy Association. “I’m pretty sure I hit all the stages of grief,” Schneider recalls.

Mixed Emotions
The confusing range of emotions is normal…. “Mothers should remember to not compare their level of attachment with the gold standard,” Honos-Webb says. She adds, however, that if you find you’re unable to come to terms with the pregnancy, or if you start blaming the baby, you should ask your doctor for a referral to a mental-health professional, as this could signal a serious depression.

Your partner’s reaction is likely to encompass as many emotions as yours, but he may have more trouble putting his into words. Imler predicts a man may get that “deer in the headlights look” and counsels women not to assume the reaction signals a lack of support. “The mother will likely have to act as an ’emotion coach,’ helping him express what he is feeling,” says Honos-Webb. Men worry most about providing for the family and losing their partner to the commitments of motherhood.

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