Your period is late.
Your hands shake as you tear open the home pregnancy test and your heart pounds in your chest while you wait for the results.
Two lines appear.
To be sure, you take another test with the same results.
Just as your stomach takes a flying leap into your throat, your eyes refocus on the two blue lines. Blood rushes to your head, making you feel a little dizzy, as you try to grasp the reality that Yes, you are pregnant.
Is abortion your first response?
If you said yes, and abortion is your go to strategy because you are panic stricken about your pregnancy, you should probably take some time to calm down before you move on that abortion decision. It’s likely that you are not thinking clearly while you are in a state of emotional crisis.
Research shows that when we are under extreme stress or anxiety our “thinking power” is impaired because blood and oxygen flow to other parts of the brain instead of our problem solving center (the prefrontal cortex). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907136/
In short, when we experience overwhelming emotional stress our IQ goes down about 15 points and we can’t think straight. At this point disastrous thinking takes over and causes more pressure on our psyche, weakening our decision making power and our creativity. Our logic is clouded and we are vulnerable to making a choice we will most likely regret.
While the quick decision made under extreme stress may provide short term relief, it is usually not the decision that will bring us the best possible outcome, especially if that quick decision results in abortion. Many women experience intense emotional suffering long after a panic driven abortion decision and wish they had taken more time to consider their options.
So instead of heading to the abortion clinic as your first response to an unplanned pregnancy, retreat from crisis mode and cool down. The brain, like any machine, can’t function when it is overheated.
Here are some tips to follow when you feel overwhelmed with making a pregnancy decision:
Give yourself a time out to recharge.
Breathe deeply and take inventory of how and what you are feeling.
Stop overthinking and imagining the worst.
Get out of your environment and away from external pressures. Go to a quiet place that is peaceful and where you can relax.
Talk to someone who is objective and who doesn’t have a stake in your situation.
Don’t assume how you are feeling at the moment is how you will always feel in the future.
Stay open to new information. Get all the facts before acting on impulse.
Ask for help if you need it.
Believe in yourself and trust that you have the courage to do what is right.
Giving yourself time and distance from crisis thinking can make all the difference in your pregnancy decision.
Remember, just because abortion was your first response doesn’t mean it has to be your final one.