Advice on unplanned pregnancy threads

(63 Posts)
ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 22:25:43

I fully accept maybe I ABU.

Support is nice. And there's nothing wrong with anonymous posters helping someone put the best spin on things.

But it worries me that when someone will post about an unplanned pregnancy and seek advice, someone will invariably reassure them that they'll be a great mum and love the kid etc etc. And that's it. Case closed as far as the supportive poster is concerned.

It just seems like such a bland platitude that it's unhelpful to say it. Deciding whether to have a child as a single parent is a huge decision. It concerns me that sometimes a "babies are cute" brigade will clatter in and start cheerleading and ignore that a) women have choices and b) there's invariably a complex back story and "you'll love you bubz" does not get around a lack of finance, support or enthusiasm.

I don't know, I'm just fiercely pro-choice and I fear that sometimes we risk forgetting that abortion can be the life enhancing option.

LineRunner Thu 30-Jan-14 22:27:51

I get what you are saying.

CuttedUpPear Thu 30-Jan-14 22:29:01

I also get what you are saying, thank you for saying it.
It is sad but true.

i've seen threads like this and from what i recall, most posters are quite open about the fact that there are alternatives to going ahead with a pregnancy.

Every thread like this I've seen has had posters on it offering support whatever the op chooses.

Thread about a thread?

BunnyBaby Thu 30-Jan-14 22:30:16

for who?

PansOnFire Thu 30-Jan-14 22:31:12

I kind of think YABU, but I do understand what you mean. I always get annoyed reading those threads because I feel they trivialise such a huge and significant decision, however, they would certainly give the OP food for thought. For instance, if someone tells them "you'll love the baby once it gets here" it's hard not to imagine what that would be like and some people can honestly say that they can't imagine it. For others it might just be a confidence boost that they need - they might be potentially great parents but about to make a decision based on their lack of confidence and experience.

Those threads do annoy me but I think they hold valuable help for the people who post them. Not everyone is able to speak to the people around them in RL.

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 22:31:37

Kind of a thread about a thread, but it's not a one off.

I think there is some openess about options, but it feels like everyone is initially awkward about bringing it up and it has to be done with many more caveats than people who just storm in with "congratulations xxxx"

I also don't think it's wise to push someone into making either decision. I think something along the lines of 'good luck' is more appropriate. let's face it, neither option is ideal.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 30-Jan-14 22:35:05

I know exactly the kind of posts you mean. It is not unusual for them to be prefaced with 'I just know I could never have an abortion' or some other similarly guilt-inducing comment.

The ones that I find the most unpalatable are where there is no relationship - the pregnancy is the result of a ONS or a couple of weeks of casual dating and sex. 'Oh you'll love the baby and he'll have to pay' blah blah blah. I feel like I'm in a parallel universe.

HesterShaw Thu 30-Jan-14 22:36:00


Constant responses like that are trite and insult intelligence. For some people, going ahead with a pregnancy is not the best option. Children are expensive, hard work, and not all parents automatically love them.

"All babies need is love"....not true. They need a lot more IMO.

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 22:37:53

Vampyre I'd never push anyone either way, but I think if someone is posting for support people should talk through all the options and the implications of all the options.

RhondaJean Thu 30-Jan-14 22:39:51

I see it more as people giving all the alternatives personally.

ikeaismylocal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:41:07

I am sure that abortion can be a life enhancing choice.

In my limited experience abortion has not been a life enhancing choice for my friends who have chosen it, most of my friends who have had abortions have gone on to have babies in equally, somethimes more so, difficult circumstances.

When people post advice on a forum they are giving subjective advice which is loaded with personal opinions and experience, if a Dr or counselor was advising women that "you'll love you baby and everything will be fine" that would be inappropriate but if you ask for advice from anonymous members of the general public you will get a variety of answers, there is a high chance those answers will contradict each other.

My opinion is that if you choose to have a baby in the UK regardless of your relationship status or income your baby will have education, food, healthcare, a home and a safe environment. The choice is obviously ultimately down to the individual women, but if asked for my advice I would say that in most situations I would keep the baby.

LCHammer Thu 30-Jan-14 22:41:24

Brave thread. I agree with you.

well they should, of course. when i found out years ago that i was pregnant (not planned, in shitty relationship), one response - and i didn't and still haven't told many people - was 'well, you'll have to have a baby then'. i didn't intend to go ahead with it, and didn't. but it made me feel even worse. it does worry me that some people see abortion as an easy way out though because it's a heartbreaking and deeply unpleasant experience for many sad

got to find my not telling many people comment ironic when i've just put it on an internet forum hmm

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 22:47:19

Ikea I don't think you have to be a raving lefty to think that a home and a safe environment is no longer guaranteed. But luckily we've got foodbanks now to make sure the food is there at least.

I suppose it comes down to expectations. I would not want to have a child because I'd know that worst case scenario we wouldn't be destitute.

WeddingComingUp Thu 30-Jan-14 22:47:22

I disagree.

Whenever I see threads of the sort it seems there are more posts along the lines of 'Well I've had an abortion, it was the best choice, I've moved on just fine' type posts.

Which are just as damaging.

ikeaismylocal Thu 30-Jan-14 22:47:26

Actually all babies need is love. No one can guarantee that they will love their baby, most people do love their baby.

I believe that a loved baby in scruffy 3rd hand clothes with just some plastic things from the kitchen to play with is probably happier that a baby who wears designer clothes and has every development stimulating toy available who's parents struggle to bond with it.

Abortion is an easy way out of an unwanted pregnancy, as long as it's performed safely and legally, and there is nothing wrong with that.
But it has to be the woman's own choice, no one else's. The only woman I know who really suffered after an abortion was one who would have preferred to continue the pregnancy but was persuaded to terminate by family members, which is sad.

i've heard worse comments suggesting adoption as an alternative to termination? would that not be an awful lot harder?

solid yes, it's easy to have an abortion but the feelings you might be left with aren't necessarily easy to deal with. no matter why you made the choice.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 30-Jan-14 22:50:48

Well done ikea, you have just illustrated the OP's point beautifully and saved her further explanation.

There is of course no middle ground between a designer clad baby with parents who don't really care for it, and a baby wearing the next thing up from rags with no toys but adoring parents... hmm

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 22:51:09

*Whenever I see threads of the sort it seems there are more posts along the lines of 'Well I've had an abortion, it was the best choice, I've moved on just fine' type posts.

Which are just as damaging.*

Is it? What if that is their true experience?

meditrina Thu 30-Jan-14 22:54:20

I think YABU, as the threads I've seen have (when OP appears undecided) invariably contain posts giving a range of options, opinions and experiences. There is nothing inherently wrong about a view in favour of proceeding any more than there is about a view in favour of termination.

It's not a great subject for AIBU. The Antenatal Resuts and Choices topic is supportive and posters are tactful and sensitive, whatever view they espouse.

Having a baby you didn't plan and didn't want can also be a damaging experience.

MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Thu 30-Jan-14 22:57:13

I posted on here when I found out I was pregnant, very unplanned - I'm 19 and just started second year of uni, in a 3 year relationship with my also-student boyfriend - and actually the responses I got were pretty balanced and helped me to consider all the options.

I think more needs to be made in sex ed etc about just how difficult pregnancy is. I haven't even had the baby yet and I'm finding it so difficult, more than I could imagine at the start - but the advice given means I was at least prepared for it to be difficult.

I feel happy that I made an informed choice - and that's mostly thanks to the advice I received here.

ikeaismylocal Thu 30-Jan-14 23:00:33

* There is of course no middle ground between a designer clad baby with parents who don't really care for it, and a baby wearing the next thing up from rags with no toys but adoring parents*

Ofcourse there is a middle ground. My point is that no one can guarantee that parenting will be easy or love for their child will come naturally. In my opinion a baby's needs are in order of importance are food, shelter, affection. Maybe I am naive, but a mother and baby would not be left on the street starving in the UK. All that leaves is eaffection, which I don't think is a given for anyone.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 30-Jan-14 23:03:26

They might not be left on the street starving, but that is hardly a great benchmark, is it?

If you already have children then you might feel that your resources - time, money, and everything else are already stretched thinly enough. Is it then fair to those existing children to bring another baby into the mix?

The OP's point I think, which I agree with, is that with unplanned pregnancy it is never as clear cut as 'oh it's ok I shall love the baby, hurrah'.

goodasitgets Thu 30-Jan-14 23:06:00

My medical termination was so painful I ended up ringing the helpline while crying on the floor alone. I wasn't prepared for that. Everyone else's experiences seemed to have been less painful
Mine was not my decision. I've been left suicidal, heartbroken, guilty, angry and with all these feelings I don't know how to cope with
I don't know if I will ever get the chance to have children or if that was my one shot
I wasn't prepared for the pain I feel seeing children now, it's like a physical ache
I can't watch programmes I used to enjoy because I just sob at them. Thinking you've cried hard before and then crying so hard you can't stop, howling with grief
I'm still pro choice, always. But people seem to think, have an abortion and that's it

Cabrinha Thu 30-Jan-14 23:13:41

Oh it irritates me no end, all the "oh you'll be a great mum". I mean - let's not kick people when they're down, but - how do you know?
There are some shit mums out there.

Thread about a thread, or post about a thread I suppose, but FFS, undecided people in less than ideal circumstances shouldn't be met with vomitous stuff about ickle bubba botties.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 30-Jan-14 23:14:42

good I'm so sorry that you had that experience sad No woman should be forced into having an abortion that she doesn't want.

Cabrinha Thu 30-Jan-14 23:14:45

goodasitgets xxx

Worriedthistimearound Thu 30-Jan-14 23:16:14

I have read quite a few of those types of threads over the years and I have to say I don't really recognise what you are saying.
I think the vast majority of posters make it very clear that the choice is there and needs to be made by the op alone without pressure from anyone else. I am very pro choice too but I still admit that from an emotional pov, a woman will often regret an unwanted abortion far more than she would regret going ahead so whilst termination is absolutely the right choice for many women and indeed their legal right, it is a choice they need to be sure about and to make without pressure from either the father or family. So perhaps that is why there is sometimes that slant to such threads.

Also, and again I say this as someone who is very pro choice, if a woman posts that the only reason she is considering an abortion is financial then I would pribably post encouraging her to see if there was another way. A termination may well be the right choice for many woman but if you're on here saying your only motive is financial then I think it's a reasonable assumption that emotionally, you want the baby and a termination in those circs could be very damaging to a woman's mental health.

Not sure I'd ever describe it as the 'life enhancing option' though.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 30-Jan-14 23:18:27

worried it absolutely enhanced my life, it is a perfectly valid description in many circumstances.

takingthathometomomma Thu 30-Jan-14 23:19:02

"You'll love you bubz"? Stereotyping much? Or am I reading that wrong?

AnnabelleLee Thu 30-Jan-14 23:22:37

You have to expect exactly that though, don't you? What else are people going to do, give identical empty platitudes? It's their opinion, based on their own experience. You know what you will get when you post.

I'm the same position as you, but to imagine any other response range is frankly naive.

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 23:23:19

I apologise taking, I'm sure the more articulate posters are also capable of crap advice.

Good I'm sorry to read that, it's awful circumstances to be put through.

Worried maybe a time machine or better luck would be more life enhancing, but yeah working within the options currently enabled by science and technology...

claraschu Thu 30-Jan-14 23:23:48

I hate threads where young teenagers are encouraged to continue with pregnancies, even though they have no way of understanding what they are getting into, no way of supporting the baby, and are already very unbalanced in their thinking.

We have a huge population problem, and an enormous number of children who are neglected, abused or just not particularly well cared for.

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 23:24:48

Annabelle I think responses could actually engage with the OPs' need to talk about focus on their individual circumstances, feelings and options. Populating a thread like a Facebook wall filled with "likes" is not helpful.

AnnabelleLee Thu 30-Jan-14 23:25:58

They do engage, just not in a manner you like.

ALittleStranger Thu 30-Jan-14 23:25:59

"need to talk, focused on" even

Neitheronethingortheother Thu 30-Jan-14 23:29:51

I think there are a lot of people who have been faced with an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy and who thought it was the end of the world and considered abortion but decided to keep the baby and did end up loving the baby and things worked out OK. I know this happened to me when I was 18 and I never regretted out for a minute. That is my experience so I would share that with someone as a personal experience. I have had 4 pregnancies since then with varying outcomes but I dont see the harm in sharing an actual experience as opposed to giving impartial unbiased counsel to someone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Surely the best advice is to tell them to speak to a fully trained counsellor rather than using amateur skills to try and influence them

clara that's unfair. a lot of pregnant women have no understanding of what they're getting into, not just teenagers. i appreciate that being a jobless, teenage parent isn't ideal but I had dc1 at 16 and was never any less capable of loving and looking after her as an older mother would have been.

saying to someone who is struggling to come to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, 'you'll be a great mum' is insensitive and stupid. but having a baby can be life enhancing as much as terminating an unplanned pregnancy. unless you know the person very well, it's a bad idea to advise either way. as has already been said, mention the options but that should be it.

MidniteScribbler Thu 30-Jan-14 23:37:37

I don't tend to go in to those threads, but I'm betting that for every post supporting keeping the baby, that there are just as many suggesting an abortion.

There is no law on an internet forum about having to post a completely balanced argument for your point of view. People post to ask for an opinion, and that's what they get. Like it or not, there's people out there for whom abortion is not a palatable option and as long as they aren't trotting out the "murder" line, then suggesting that the OP keep the baby is a perfectly valid option. No woman should be pressured either way, but a balance of opinions is healthy.

As we see on this board all the time, people ask for opinions and then ignore the posts that don't suit them. For some women, it may be that support they need to go ahead with an abortion, and for some women it may be the support they need to keep the baby.

MeepMeepVrooooom Thu 30-Jan-14 23:37:38

I think it depends. There are different types of these threads. There are for example 'I am pregnant how am I going to cope being a single parent? ' and 'I am pregnant and don't know what to do' the former suggests to me they have made their mind up to continue with the pregnancy and to go blundering in with pro choice posts wouldn't be appropriate unless the OP brings it up. The latter of the two I think they are looking for advice on options, in that case any advice should be given.

anothernumberone Thu 30-Jan-14 23:58:37

I do know what you mean OP however outside of extreme circumstances abortion is not something I personally would consider. So say for example say I got pregnant now it would be a huge shock since DH had a vasectomy. I would be shocked, a little disoriented and tbh probably upset but I would want the everything is going to be ok chat not the you have options chat so I guess every situation needs to be judged on its own merits. Even women without obvious support might want the everything is going to be ok chat rather than the options chat. It all depends I guess.

I don't think running in with the options chat is very necessary either since everyone knows there are options don't they? At the end of the day abortion should be a choice not something someone needs to be encouraged into. If an OP comes on asking for advice on abortion or what options are out there that is when the abortion advice is relevant not otherwise IMO.

LittleBabyPigsus Fri 31-Jan-14 02:02:51

The thing is, if you regret your abortion, that's your life impacted negatively. If you regret continuing your pregnancy, that's two lives impacted negatively. The latter definitely seems worse.

differentnameforthis Fri 31-Jan-14 03:07:48

I object SO much to people saying

'you will love it'
'you'll cope'
'you never regret having a child'

Unplanned pregnancy thread is NOT the place for this type of talk. The experiences of the posters in these situations aren't helpful. They give false hope.

Deciding to have a child within a relationship is hard too, if it is unplanned. I terminated at 9 weeks (3rd pregnancy, 4yrs ago) for a lot of reasons. I don't regret, yes it changed my life. But for the better.

I am pro choice. VERY.

I was unwanted as a baby. My father convinced my mother to have to me, telling her it would be ok, she would love me etc. She didn't love, never wanted me & it damaged our relationship, especially when dad left (no one to show me love etc). We haven't talked for 20yrs.

No, I do not wish I have never been born, but I do wish I hadn't had to suffer what I suffered.

Every thread like this I've seen has had posters on it offering support whatever the op chooses. I have seen many that have not. Posters go on to detail how they felt when in that situation, but more often than not, they have finished with 'our accident is now 4 & we love her to bits, so it does work out' or 'you never regret having a child'. And those things are said far more than 'you don't have to do this' 'you can regret a baby' and also far more than any support offered.

Then you get the pro lifers coming on & giving over their agenda.

For instance, if someone tells them "you'll love the baby once it gets here" see, this is the EXACT thing we are talking about!! How the hell can anyone know that they will love the baby once it is born? My mother was told that, and she didn't love me. It's giving false hope.

And NO ONE gives any consideration to the person in that situation at all. What if they come back on 9mths later & say 'you all told me I would love him, but I don't. I didn't want him, I regret having him" Will they all offer to help op? Adopt the baby? Of course they won't!!

It is not unusual for them to be prefaced with 'I just know I could never have an abortion' or some other similarly guilt-inducing comment. Exactly. If ever I am on a thread like that, if the poster hasn't already expressed that she will go ahead, I would advise of the options.

My opinion is that if you choose to have a baby in the UK regardless of your relationship status or income your baby will have education, food, healthcare, a home and a safe environment. Hold on a sec... Nope, sorry, I told myself that at least I got an education, good healthcare, a home & felt safe (for all is true) But sorry, it failed to fill that huge fucking void left by my mother not loving me. All that means absolutely nothing if your mother doesn't love you & regrets having you.

Actually all babies need is love. NO. I had love. Just not from my mum. Which is the only love I wanted/needed. All babies need to be WANTED.

differentnameforthis Fri 31-Jan-14 03:08:00

All that leaves is affection, which I don't think is a given for anyone. Have you experienced lack of affection from your mother? Once my dad left I had no affection. I would watch her laugh & play with my older sister & brother, smile at them, hold them. While I looked on. She looked after me. That's all she did. She left me at hospital at 9 to wake from a major op on my own. It was two days later that I saw her (was in hospital for a week). I remember another mum on the ward cuddling me as I cried for her. My sister cut her leg at 18 & my mother rushed her to hospital. My sister didn't even need stitches, but was kept in overnight (possible shock) and my mother stayed with her. Don't underestimate how important affection is.

Not sure I'd ever describe it as the 'life enhancing option' though. It enhanced my life. Honestly. While waiting for my op I was depressed. I was yelling at my 6mth old, I wanted to die. I thought about crashing my car (didn't obviously, but that was only because every time I was in it, my 6mth old was too). So yes, I would describe it as life enhancing.

Neitheronethingortheother Telling a poster that it worked out for you isn't a problem. It helps them see that it CAN work. What I object to is what I put above 'you won't regret it' etc. Because as people who do not know the poster, we can not know that!!

I don't tend to go in to those threads, but I'm betting that for every post supporting keeping the baby, that there are just as many suggesting an abortion. If you don't tend to go on them, then how can you possibly comment as to their content? Anyway. to answer ; Not in my experience. It is heavily weighed in the favour of support for keeping baby. I think it is because as soon as someone comes on to express another option, they are usually made to feel like they have to justify their choice & then berated (because I was) for terminating in those situations. I have had a few people tell me my reasons weren't good enough, that I could have found a way around them, and this was while I was trying to support an op who was thinking of termination. It is a good job that I know my reasons are valid & good enough, but I suspect others have been scared off because of this.

I have often felt like a lone voice on such threads.

The thing is, if you regret your abortion, that's your life impacted negatively. If you regret continuing your pregnancy, that's two lives impacted negatively. The latter definitely seems worse. The latter is MUCH worse.

Worriedthistimearound Fri 31-Jan-14 10:11:18

Sorry, fell asleep.
I didn't mean to suggest that it wasn't the right decision for you Ali. I meant that phrase didn't seem to fit (IMO). To me, something that is life enhancing is amazing and joyous. And of course no longer being pregnant may have felt like that but I wouldn't describe a termination in itself as that. I'm sure the vast majority of women would rather not have found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy rather than needing to opt for a termination. I can be pro choice and still see it as an unpleasant experience even if you're sure it's what you want.

Worriedthistimearound Fri 31-Jan-14 10:19:16

Differentnameforthis, I'm sorry you had such a horrid experience as a child. I'd like to think that if your mother came in here saying she was married with 2kids and facing a 3rd unplanned and unwanted pg then I and others, would suggest that perhaps a termination was right for her. If she posted that her husband was trying to convince her to keep the baby then id tell her that it wasn't his decision and that only she could make it based on how she felt.
Having said all that, I think a great many women in your mother's situation would love their child once it came along and not reject it throughout its life. That's not to say they should all go ahead and have the baby eapecially if they really didnt want it but your mother's reaction was probably extreme.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Fri 31-Jan-14 10:23:21

I think the threads on the whole usually end up being quite balanced, though I can't stand any posts that are too forceful either way. I think it's helpful to hear stories from people who've been in that situation and kept their babies and things worked out great and also the ones where terminating was absolutely the best thing to do

If someone posted that they were pregnant and unsure what to do I think it would be just as damaging to have every poster say that termination is probably for the best, they made that decision and it was the right one etc etc because then they might feel they would be irresponsible to keep the baby even if that's what they really wanted

MeepMeepVrooooom Fri 31-Jan-14 10:25:32

I can't stand any posts that are too forceful either way

^ This

HavantGuard Fri 31-Jan-14 10:30:52

I agree that it's deeply unhelpful to have posters telling an OP what they will feel.

For me, a baby before graduating would have been an utter disaster. Abortion was the best option and I don't regret it for a second.

For people who are pregnant and unsure what to do the only things that matter are their own feelings/beliefs and facing the reality that having a baby changes your life completely. I do get seriously annoyed with the 'all they need is love' brigade and the comments made to younger pregnant women that suggest they can basically stick the baby in a sling and carry on with their current lives. Continuing the pregnancy might be entirely the right thing for them, but it doesn't help them to be completely unprepared for what's to come.

Enb76 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:38:06

I was on one of those threads. I wanted to say "I think you'll be much better off not having the baby. You're young, you're single, the father wants nothing to do with you or the baby, you have no job, please get a life before you have a baby"

I didn't say that though, I said whatever decision you make will be the right one. I don't think it was true, I think keeping the baby will be an awful mistake. Of course, she will most probably love the child and do fine if she keeps it but her life will be hard and it doesn't have to be.

Callani Fri 31-Jan-14 10:50:05

The problem is, even if the overall response is balanced in responses, it only takes one person to say "I could never do that" or some other guilt enducing comment for the OP to focus in on that above all others.

MiaowTheCat Fri 31-Jan-14 10:54:45

The only advice I ever give is that which was given to me:

Whatever decision you make at this point in your life will be the right one for you.

Shufty Fri 31-Jan-14 10:58:07

I usually see equal amounts of various ways of saying 'abortion is available'

On a site full of mums who wanted children (in the main) the 'you'll be a great mum' is entirely understandable.

I am childfree so my opinion would flame me to death!

specialsubject Fri 31-Jan-14 10:59:16

somewhere on here is a thread with mothers saying the unsayable 'I regret having my kids'.

not everyone wants to be a parent. It is not realistic to say that you should never have sex if that is the case.
as someone else has said, all children should be wanted. If they are not, it is better that they are not born.

thank goodness for choice in abortion. Let's hope those who seek to stop it in the UK never succeed.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 31-Jan-14 11:23:51

YABU, IME such threads are usually fairly balanced and guilt-trippers are firmly countered. Someone usually posts the number of counselling services too.

I do think that most people who start such threads know what they want to do, so either way they'll see what they want to.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 31-Jan-14 13:07:31

posters commenting on their own experiences can be useful, but commenting that some random person on the internet will be 'a great mum' is just weird.

the parents I know do their best and are good enough parents. but great? no.

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