If You Don't Want a Child

 

You may never have wanted to have a child. If so, you have your reasons, but do you know what they are? These questions will help you discover them. Write down what is bothering you and discuss it with a counselor, confidant, or member of the clergy. Once you know why having a child seems so upsetting, you may be able to confront your emotions logically. Do your feelings reflect the truth in every situation or is your past coloring your views? Perhaps you need to talk to some parents or receive some psychological counseling. With guidance, it is possible to work through your negative emotions and give birth to your baby.

 

CHILDREN AND PARENTING

 

* Do I dislike children? Why?

* What bad experiences have I had with children?

* What have I read, heard, or observed that has formed my views?

* Do I think that I will ever change my views about children?

* What do I think of people who love children?

* Do I understand that nearly every person's view of children has some basis? What is my view of children? The view of those who love children?

* How was my relationship with my mother? Father? Why was it like that? Did I hate one or both parents?

* How am I different from either parent? Which parent do I see myself becoming if I parent a child? How do I feel about that?

* Can I change my personal parenting image?

Understand Your Childhood

* Did I know my parents?

* Was I in foster care or adopted?

* Did I grow up in a group home or facility for children?

* What attitudes do I have toward my upbringing? How do these attitudes affect me and my views of parenting?

* Was I treated badly as a child? Neglected? Abused, either physically, sexually, or emotionally?

* Did I have trouble living up to someone else's expectations? Was I never good enough?

* Did my parents treat me as if I were, or should have been, a miniature adult?

* Do I fear that I (or others) will treat my child as I was treated?

* Did I feel unwanted as a child? Unplanned? Did I seem a burden?

* Am I afraid that my child would be a burden? Be unwanted?

* Is it I or someone else who doesn't want my child?

* Am I embarrassed to admit that I don't want my baby? Do I feel guilty?

* Am I afraid that my child would hate or reject me? Would rebel? Would cause me emotional pain? Would be a financial drain?

* How do I see my unborn baby? As a glob? As a non-person? Is this how I really feel or am I trying to cover up or ignore my deepest knowledge that I have a child, small, not fully formed, but still a child, within me?

* Am I convincing myself that my child is a formless mass so that I can get an abortion without any regrets? Would I have any regrets? Now? Five years from now? When I'm old?

 

Fears of Parenting Options

 

* Do I feel incapable of parenting? Am I insecure?

* Why doesn't parenting fit into my view of myself?

* Would parenting interfere with my career, education, lifestyle, world view?

* Would I ever change my views about being a parent? How do I feel about that?

* Am I afraid that I will want to raise my baby if I give birth? Does that frighten me?

* What is it about motherhood that frightens or repels me? Can talking to other mothers relieve some of my fears?

* Would I want to leave my job to care for my child? Does this frighten me? Why?

* Do I know about day care or babysitting? How do I feel about these options? What about a live-in nanny, arrangements with relatives, or sharing child care with my partner?

* What are my feelings about adoption? Why do I feel this way? Can I change? Do I need more information about adoption?

* Do I think I would be foolish to go through pregnancy and then make an adoption plan? Why do I feel this way?

* Do I realize that nine months of my life can give a baby decades to live, either with me or with someone else?

* Do I know that I can keep in touch with my child if I make certain adoption plans? Is this an option for me?

 

MEN AND WOMEN

 

* What is my view of women? Of men? Do I see women as servants, men as masters? Is this just? Accurate?

* Does my value come from my sexuality? Do I feel that I must always be sexually available, always attractive?

* Do men give me a sense of worth? What is my worth without a man in my life?

* Is sex fun?

* Am I afraid this pregnancy will ruin my dating or sexual relationship? How much do I really know about sex during pregnancy? Can a doctor give me the facts?

Body Beautiful?

* How do I feel about pregnant women? What do I think pregnant women look like? How does pregnancy change my view of myself and my sex appeal?

* What is unjust in the way some men perceive pregnant women?

* Have I always feared weight gain? Do I have a thin ideal of myself? Do I think fat people are ugly?

Why do I feel the way I do about my body? Is this a just viewpoint?

* Does the weight gain of pregnancy worry me more than anything else? How will pregnancy really affect my weight over a year's time?

* Can I tolerate being heavy for a brief time to give my baby a chance at a future?

* Am I afraid that pregnancy will permanently disfigure my body? Am I concerned about sagging breasts and stretch marks? Do I know that doctors can suggest exercises and creams to prevent the problems that disgust me?

* Does my lover want a perfect-looking, always-available woman? Am I afraid of losing him if I am pregnant?

* Have I ever thought of how I will keep a man like this when I get old and am no longer perfect-looking or always available?

* Should this man and I have a good discussion about my body and our baby? Can we agree that a less-than-perfect me might be fine for a while in order to give our baby a future?

 

You and Men

 

* Is it really my lover who never, ever wanted to have a baby? Have I been accepting his ideas without thinking for myself? How will I feel if I get an abortion because my lover wants it?

* Has physical, emotional, or sexual abuse colored my views of men and of myself?

* Is this pregnancy a result of sexual abuse?

* Do I hate men?

* Do I think that my baby is a boy and that I would hate him for being male? Why do I have these feelings? Do I want to overcome these feelings? What can I do to overcome them? Might a psychologist help?

* Do I hate myself? Have I ever thought of suicide? Do I wish I were dead sometimes? Do I wish I had never been born?

* Am I afraid that my child will have the same negative feelings that I have? How do I know what my child will feel?

* How can I change my feelings about myself and life? Do I want to change them?

* Do I need counseling?

 

Feminist Fears

 

* Do I think that pregnancy controls a woman's destiny? Does it have to?

* Do I believe that my freedom rests in controlling my childbearing? What does "control" mean?

* Do I think that going through one pregnancy will mean that I will go through many more?

* Do I believe that society wants to keep women "poor, barefoot, and pregnant"? Is it possible to be pregnant while rejecting the second-class role of women?

* Am I a feminist? How do I define feminism?

* Does a feminist bow to society's pressure or strive to change society?

* Can a true feminist give birth to her baby while working to make her own future into what she wants it to be? Will such a woman's actions pave the way for other women to have their babies without ruining their futures?

* How liberated or equal am I if I can have a good future only by denying my pregnancy? Is this liberation? Or am I still enslaved to the double standard that says a man can sow his wild oats but a woman better not get caught?

* Will I, by having my baby and refusing to compromise my future, help end the double standard?

 

CHANGES

 

* What do I think of changes? Do I hate or fear change? Do I like the excitement of change?

* What would be my reaction if I were fired from my job? Suppose I were evicted from my home? How would I feel if a 10-ton truck ran over my car while I was shopping? What do my answers tell me about my attitude toward change?

Fears for Yourself

* What changes are bothering me, in addition to those discussed earlier?

* Am I afraid of nausea, exhaustion, or other pregnancy discomforts? Do I know that a doctor can help alleviate these common problems?

* Am I afraid that pregnancy will change my lifestyle? Do I know that pregnancy need not stop me from doing just about anything that I am doing now?

* Do I think that pregnancy will make me ugly, sluggish, or dull? Can I break my stereotype of the pregnant, dowdy woman sitting around doing nothing, waiting for her baby to be born?

* Have I ever seen a vibrant, energetic, beautiful pregnant woman? Do I think that such a woman could exist? How can I be one?

* Do I think that giving birth requires a long recuperation? Do I know that most women need only a few weeks at most to recover from giving birth?

* What is my company's maternity leave?

* Am I afraid of giving birth? Why? Did I hear or read horror stories about childbirth? Did I hear stories about what my parents "went through" to have me?

* Can I read some books or take a hospital course and confront my fears?

 

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR BABY

 

* Am I repulsed by the thought of a baby growing in my body? Do I feel like a host to a parasite? Why do I have this repulsion? Would a counselor or psychologist help me uncover the basis of my disgust?

* Did my mother (or someone else) tell me that I was a "mistake" or the result of failed birth control? Have her words influenced me against this baby I didn't plan?

* Do I see the world as spinning toward destruction?

* Do I think I am foolish for having a child now?

* What good things am I missing in the world?

* Do I think my child might help improve the world?

* Would I want my child to experience no change, no suffering in life? Since I know that every life experiences both, have I decided not to have a child to spare that child pain?

* Have I felt that the pain in my own life far overshadowed the joy?

* How can I change my own future into something

brighter than the past? Can I do the same for my baby?

 

UNEASE ABOUT OTHERS

 

* Do I know the phone number and address of my local PREGNANCY AIDgency?

* Am I afraid a volunteer will persuade me to do something I don't want to do?

* Am I embarrassed to seek help?

* Do I hate revealing my intimate thoughts and concerns? Do I fear being hurt should I do so?

* Why do I think a PREGNANCY AIDgency would misunderstand me when its primary work is with women in pregnancy crisis?

* Am I too proud to admit that someone else may offer new insights into my problems?

* Do I have any prejudices against PREGNANCY AIDgencies? Against other counselors? What are these prejudices? Are they valid?

* What is keeping me from having my baby?

* Am I experiencing any crisis other than the pregnancy?

* Is some person or some ideal pressuring me to abort?

* Do I think that my lifestyle is in jeopardy if I continue my pregnancy?

* If I think that my pregnancy will destroy my future, what does that tell me about the control I have over my life?

* How will this pregnancy redirect my life? What barriers do I see? Are these barriers mainly in my mind? Can they be overcome? Am I a strong enough person to overcome them?

 

EVALUATING YOUR ANSWERS

 

* Perhaps you learned something by answering these questions. How do you feel about yourself now? About your answers?

* Have you surprised yourself, uncovered hidden motives, relived painful memories?

 

* How can what you have learned help you to have your baby? To plan for your own future? For your baby's future?