We hear a lot about “adulting” these days. For many, one of the most challenging aspects of adulting is making decisions, especially the hard ones; the “changing the course of my life” kind of decisions.
For some, the idea of making a decision is so difficult, they push it off to the deep corners of their mind. Occasionally, procrastinating means you lost your chance, because life will dictate the answer (missing deadlines etc.), even if you never decide. This often ends in regret.
For many women, discerning what is best when they are faced with an unexpected pregnancy is very challenging. Many women isolate themselves from others because they do not want to share the news of their pregnancy until they have decided what will happen next. This isolation can feel very dark and lonely during a time when what is really needed is support and understanding.
Lutheran Family Service is here to support women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in their decision making. We provide necessary counseling to help determine the best course of action for each person; and that does not mean we pressure women to make an adoption decision just because we happen to be an adoption agency. We are licensed in adoption because some of our clients need that help.
The first step is to define the decision to be made. Our next step is to assess what knowledge the client has about each possible option she is exploring. What does she know already and what information needs to be provided? Exploring and learning fully about an option does not obligate her to choose that option; it is simply learning all she can, so the decision becomes easier to make.
It is important to identify when the decision must be made. For some, there is no pressure to rush into a decision and identifying the time frame really helps relieve some pressure. But for others, the decision has been looming for quite some time and they must move more quickly towards a decision.
A list of reasons to choose each option should be identified. Along with each reason, should be a rating on how much each reason really matters to you. Use A- B- C or a five-star rating system. The method does not matter, but the ratings are important!
Now, think of reasons to avoid each of the options and rate that reason as well.
Identifying other people in your life that have a stake in the decision is also important. If they have a preference, make note of that. Think about that person’s behavior and actions towards you; are they pressuring you or supporting you?
At some point, you will need to determine how much control you want over the decision. Do you what to share the decision-making power with someone else? Do you want to decide yourself or let someone else decide?
Once the risks and benefits of each option are known and feelings about other’s influence on your decision are assessed, you are well on your way to making a decision.
The process described came from the Ottawa Person Decision Making Guide, a trademarked work in 2015 by O’Connor, Stacy, and Jacobson in Ottawa, Canada.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and need support, Lutheran Family Service Pregnancy Counselors are trained to help walk through this uncertainty in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental, no pressure, and no-cost counseling session(s). Simply text “PregnancyHelp” to 555888, call 877-510-2229 or reach out through our website at: https://lutheranfamilyservice.org/contact/
Kim Laube – Director of Life Ministries at Lutheran Family Service