It’s a jarring shift to go from processing an intimate relationship to trying to figure out what to do about a newly conceived life. It can feel completely overwhelming. You may find that it’s more complex than just a yes or no decision. So what should you consider as you try to decide the best options for both you and your baby?
The Gift of Life
Where does life come from? The answer is, of course, God. Every human life comes from God. God gives and constantly sustains all living things. The Psalmist prays, “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Regardless of the circumstances of your child’s conception, your life is good, and your child’s life is good. You are both infinitely precious to God’s heart, and nothing can separate you from his love (Romans 8.38–39). The struggles of an unplanned pregnancy are monumental, and sometimes the decision for life can be excruciatingly difficult. No one really knows the difficulty of such a decision unless they’ve been in that circumstance themselves. Know that we are here for you as a church to do all that we can to support you in the days, weeks, and years to come. Even though we don’t know our future or the future of our children’s lives, our decisions affect both. Pray that God will help you make choices that preserve his best for both of you—to allow you both to experience the life and love that he offers to all.
The Responsibilities Ahead
Choosing life is a heroic first step, but it’s just the beginning. Your next decision will be whether to raise the child yourself or to consider adoption. Of course, there is great responsibility involved in caring for a child in both the short and long term. Being a parent means learning to lay down your life as a servant (Philippians 2:3–7). Many choose to take on this responsibility. Others choose adoption. As impossible as this decision may seem, adoption is also an incredible act of love. It can be an answer to prayer for the couple who hopes to adopt children and is unable to have their own. Whatever choice you make, we as a church are here to support and care for you in both the short and long term.
Caring for Yourself
God is in the business of turning situations that feel like a huge mess into stories of redemption. The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners. We believe that you are not unique in your need for forgiveness and redemption. We all need it, every single one of us. One author calls it, “the universal democracy of sinners.” Seeking God’s forgiveness is the first step to caring for yourself. The next is to forgive yourself. This is crucial. Forgiving yourself is the cornerstone of building a God-honoring family in your future. The Bible says that God’s forgiveness separates us from our past sins, “as far as the East is from the West” (Psalm 103:12). You must silence the voices of guilt in your head with the double-edged sword of God’s truth. He does love you, he does love your child, and he will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).
Whether you choose adoption or to raise the child yourself, you must be intentional about surrounding yourself with loving family and friends to support your heroic efforts. You will also need to think about if and how the father fits in. With a lot of work and good counsel, it is possible to make an unplanned family work, and even thrive. You need to know that there are single parents, both moms and dads, flourishing in our church right now.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 828
For the Care of Children
Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 829
- I’m Pregnant—Now What? By Ruth Graham
Daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, speaks from her experience helping two daughters through teen pregnancies. Co-author Sara Dormon, Ph.D., brings a broad range of insights to help women develop an informed, workable plan for getting through an unplanned pregnancy.
- The White Rose Women’s Center
Located just a couple blocks north of our church, is a ministry which exists specifically to help women with unexpected pregnancies. They have caring and compassionate counsellors and helpful staff. Or find them online at WhiteRoseWomensCenter.org .
A Dallas-based pro-adoption movement dedicated to changing the perception of adoption by acknowledging birth moms for their brave decision. BraveLove.org
Offers trained consultants who can provide direction as well as connections to local pregnancy centers staffed to give you Biblical and confidential care. Optionline.org
Offers an exhaustive collection of articles and links regarding your pregnancy, adoption issues, and support for each step. CrisisPregnancy.com
- The Book of Common Prayer
The BCP contains all of our services, prayers, and many resources for private devotions. It can be purchased on Amazon or at the Incarnation Bookstore. See especially pages 301–308 for insight into how our tradition thinks about children and parenting. bcponline.org
- Get Connected.
Join with other parents and families from our church who are meeting together to study and connect and pray. Go to the Growth Groups web page for more information.
- Get Involved.
Use your gifts! Take our Spiritual Gifts Assessment to discern ways to get plugged into the life of Incarnation.
- Serve the Poor Together.
Visit our local outreach page to find out how your gifts can change lives.
- Talk with a priest.
If you would like to talk about anything related to your situation: unexpected pregnancy, abortion, reconciliation, anything at all, please feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our clergy. Any of the priests on staff at Incarnation are happy to meet with you for direction, counsel, or simply just to talk. Email a priest to set up a meeting. Or call the parish office at 214-521-5101.