Lots of people have lots of different feelings about pregnancy, of course, but if there’s one universal truth, it’s likely this: a baby changes everything.
People of faith are reminded, this time of year, about the Holy Birth, in which a pregnant and unmarried teenager in a land far away and a time long ago had a baby she wasn’t expecting. She and her “betrothed,” at the time, agreed to keep the facts of the conception to themselves, to spare her reputation, but some angels and shepherds and magi came along and the birth in the manger became one of the most famous L&D tales of all time… because truly, a baby changes everything.
Ready? A Baby Changes Everything (but not always as expected)
For couples with infertility, a positive pregnancy test can be an answer to prayer, of course. The prospective adoptive couples who come to Abrazo typically turn to adoption only after months or years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, but not because adoption is a “second-best” option (nor an afterthought.) It’s because just as a baby changes everything, the lack of the opportunity to become parents changes everything, too, including dreams for the future.
When parenthood is desired, the arrival of a child can be life’s greatest joy. Yet, the reality is that babies are agents of change, and the responsibilities of parenting inevitably change everything, from family routines to household incomes to sleep schedules to marital relationships (and that’s just for starters.) Babies don’t stay little for long, and their needs need to take precedence over everyone and everything else.
Parents who adopt, just like parents who birth, find that becoming parents is even more wonderful (and yes, stressful) than they might have expected. This is why the best adoption agencies are so diligent about trying to help them learn all they can upfront, and to be prepared for the ups and downs that will inevitably come with being new parents.
Not Ready? What Will the Baby Most Need?
For those for whom pregnancy is unexpected, it’s normal to feel upended, as if you’re in a snow globe that somebody suddenly shook without warning. The idyllic notion that babies only come along when the time is right is basically a fairy tale, as the vast majority of pregnancies across human history have been unplanned– whether or not those were wanted.
Take some time to “sit with” the new reality, because most parents-to-be need time to assess what they’re feeling and how this potentially may impact their lives. There are plenty of charities available to provide temporary handouts like free diapers or formula or CHIP for healthcare. Still, many other things that growing children most need (like safe homes and stable parents) may require some more advance planning. Parenting is optional, of course.
In Texas, females who are unexpectedly expecting have just six weeks from conception to seek alternative arrangements, if they do not want to birth a child. Yet adoption is an option that can be considered throughout pregnancy and for as long as is needed after birth, and agencies like Abrazo are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to assist anyone needing to make a safe and legal adoption plan for a baby or child already born.
Expectant moms can also opt to parent alone or with a partner, or to let the babydaddy raise the child, or to make a temporary or permanent placement plan with relatives or with a prospective, homestudy-ready adoptive couple. There are no perfect plans and no ideal solutions, so think realistically about your means and prepare for the unexpected.
Growing into Life’s Changes
While babies grow quickly in the first year of life, their needs will continue to grow, too– for the next twenty-one (and more) years to come. No parent ever gets it all right, all the time, and that’s okay, if you do your best and put your child’s needs first. always. Whatever your circumstances, just do all you can to ready yourself to be the best parent (or birthparent) you can be, knowing that a transformation is in store for your life, whatever you may decide, because truly: a baby changes everything.