Pregnant and Unsure


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Abort or Keep the Baby? — When Heart and Mind Collide

  • Especially if their pregnancy came as a surprise, many women feel conflicted and unsure of how to proceed. Sometimes, a change in circumstances can lead to second-guessing the pregnancy.
  • Additionally to the external circumstances, the coinciding emotional turmoil can be particularly challenging to deal with. Pregnancy hormones often intensify this emotional struggle. Sometimes, they may even be the sole trigger for having second thoughts.
  • When considering abortion, it often feels as if one’s heart and mind were having a tug-of-war. This article explains why many women share this experience and reveals possible solutions.

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Effect of Hormones on Thoughts and Emotions

If you have never experienced it, you will find it hard to believe the immense influence hormones can have on a woman’s mind and emotions. Anyone who has experienced (pregnancy) hormone chaos can confirm: Hormones strongly affect our thoughts, feelings, and our bodies as a whole.

At the beginning of a pregnancy, the entire female body prepares for this new task: providing an environment where the baby can thrive. Now, hormone production ramps up in order to bring about the necessary physical transitions. This enormous change within the woman’s body also impacts her emotionally. Moments filled with hope, confidence, and joyful anticipation alternate with times of doubt, sadness, and concern…

As exhausting as this constant teeter-totter of emotions can be, it is also a sure sign that your body is doing its job well. Knowing this may help you, and those around you, understand why the world seems so bleak at times or why you are much more tearful than usual. This does not necessarily mean that everything is really as hopeless as it seems!

There is also no need to fear that these emotions are here to stay. Think of the emotional battle as part of being pregnant, just as thorns are part of a rose. While thorns are in no way pleasant — they do not diminish the rose’s beauty. 🌹

Heart and Mind

Perhaps the following scenario feels familiar: Yesterday, you were firmly convinced that you wanted to have the baby and that you could do it. Today, tears streaming down your face, you doubt yesterday's decision as fear begins to mount inside of you...

In addition to the purely physical, biological processes, another dimension also affects a woman’s decision-making capabilities, making her unable to make up her mind on whether to keep the baby or not: the internal conflict between her heart and mind.

1. Our Mind 💡

Our mind is an amazing tool! It enables us to make plans, weigh dangers, and work on and solve all rational concerns of life. Our thoughts are our constant companions. We usually hear them loud and clear, even when we would rather shut them out.

Usually, any conclusions drawn by our intellect are based on two pillars:

  • The past, i.e., any previous experiences
  • The present, i.e., today’s circumstances or current information

Based on these aspects, our mind then evaluates the present and the anticipated future.

The challenge: Some things in life cannot be planned or anticipated — like an unexpected pregnancy. Since we had never needed to consider what life could look like under these new circumstances, our mind quickly turns to counter-arguments. These are often chiefly characterized by fear of the unknown.

Many outside voices may be added to the mix: Public opinions or statements by your parents, partner, best friend, etc. Maybe someone who is important to you once voiced an opinion that is now shaping yours. Or perhaps someone’s recent reaction to this pregnancy is causing you to feel unsure.

Therefore, it can be helpful to put pen to paper, writing down any rational concerns, while carefully and methodically seeking solutions. Putting your concerns into words has a disarming effect. Now you have made room for your heart to be heard while your mind does what it is meant to do: illuminate different aspects, recognize dangers, and seek solutions.

2. Our Heart ❤️

There is another entity within us: our heart. It is the center of our conscience and deepest emotions.

Our heart is an essential part of who we are. It reflects our desires, likes, and dislikes. When coupled with our values and convictions, it serves as an inner compass, guiding us in the direction that concurs with who we truly are in the depth of our being.

Our heart is also the seat of our conscience. Listening to what our heart is telling us helps align our plans and actions with our core beliefs. Acting in accordance with these principles gives a sense of inner peace.

The challenge: Unfortunately, our heart isn’t always as audible as the voice of reason. The heart’s nudges come much more gently and slowly. Again and again, this soft voice is drowned out by the noisy, insistent voice of the mind or the opinion of others.

In order to pay attention to what your heart is telling you, take time to yourself and allow yourself to calm down. Do something you find relaxing, peaceful, and rejuvenating.

3. In Alignment With One Another

If you engage in the interplay between heart and mind, you will probably repeatedly switch back and forth between the two; from the rational to the emotional and vice versa.

Give yourself time for the pendulum to slow its swinging and find its middle. Ideally, a good and balanced decision calls for an alignment of heart and mind.

This means that we follow a path that aligns with our convictions and values, reflecting who we are in the depth of our being (discerning your heart's quiet whisper). We also take into account the expected challenges and, step by step, discern satisfying solutions (paying attention to the mind).

Here is another way to look at it: The mind supports the heart and paves the way for it, while the heart provides the mind with the necessary strength and drive to face any problems and work on possible solutions. If you want to include both heart and mind but are unsure how to go about it, you may benefit from taking the Solutions Finder Test.

Scary and Appealing: Change

A pregnancy can turn your world upside down, causing your life to take some unexpected turns.

Many plans have to be revised, postponed, or perhaps revoked while new opportunities open up. This brings about a clash of interests between:

  • the openness toward change (perhaps prompted by hope for a better future)
  • and the power of habit, wanting to maintain the status quo.

Most (but by no means all) people initially find change scary. We are all creatures of habit. Any sudden change, such as an unexpected pregnancy, is definitely disruptive.

You may also wonder, “What might change? What would it feel like to be called ‘mom’ for the first time? What would the baby look like? Boy or girl?" These kinds of thoughts can (temporarily) ignite positive anticipation.

Besides the possible anxiety, the prospect of change may also spark curiosity and excitement. When considering delightful ideas, perhaps you may glean a sense of your innermost desire.

Taking Care of Yourself – 4 Tips

Hormones, heart, mind, dealing with immense changes... Now, you may understand more clearly why this is such an intense struggle and why you feel so conflicted. Many women have walked this road before you. How can you use this new information to gradually discern which path is right for you?

1. Time Is Key 🕰

Our counseling experience shows that taking time is a crucial element in discovering your own path. It is essential to give yourself time to regain a sense of stability and clarity. This may take a while and requires you to be patient with yourself. What you may perceive as hesitation or indecisiveness is actually very wise caution and mindfulness of yourself.

2. Permitting Yourself to Be Still 🛋

No woman should feel forced to make such an important decision while feeling unsure and still in a state of ever-shifting emotions. Calmness, a sense of peacefulness, and feeling at ease are a much better recipe for making good decisions. Consider what you usually find helpful when you feel upset: What helps you calm down? — Going to your favorite place, doing something outdoors, listening to music, meditating...?

3. What Is of Chief Importance? 💎

Maybe you can also utilize this moment to help you realize what really matters to you. Picture someone else in your shoes. What kind of response would you find admirable? What decision could you look back on with no regrets and take pride in?

You can also write down which values matter most to you: Courage and trust, emotional security and love, or freedom and hopefulness ...?

4. Don't Keep Your Worries to Yourself!

Our thoughts often take us in circles when we try to deal with them alone. Keeping our emotions to ourselves also continually retraces the same idea, like a broken record. Instead, can you think of someone you would like to confide in? Someone who is for you and does not judge, who would be there for you right now?

We are also there for you as you navigate this time of uncertainty. Our judgment-free resources were made by caring experts with the goal of seeing you thrive. We want you to find the path that is right for you.

You are invited to sign up for our weeklong decision coaching journey! You would receive a daily e-mail for seven days packed with real-life stories, tips, tests, and food for thought to guide your decision-making process.

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