Pregnant with IUD
I can only share a personal experience :) I became very unexpectedly pregnant when I was 22 with my first daughter, and even though I had just graduated college and was engaged, was NOT ready- it was the worst news ever to me at the time. I had NO health insurance, and I seriously considered abortion. As I was researching things tearfully over my keyboard, a friend's IM popped up (yes, AOL Instant Messenger, this was 8 years ago, lol) and in her profile read the quote: "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." I decided to then keep and raise my daughter, and it changed my life for the better. I became a better person, my life took a completely new and meaningful direction, and I am so, so grateful every single day that I chose to keep her. I am now pregnant with Baby 4, and to think that at one point I never even wanted children! That quote now resides on my wall in black cursive writing, because it meant so much to me. Good luck with your decision :)
As the poster above me, all I can do is share my personal experience. I was the exact same story as you. My son's first birthday is today and all I can say is that it is without a doubt the best decision I ever made. I never even really wanted children, I'm still not much interested in other people's babies but I'm begging my husband (although we're not really married) for another baby already. I can't believe how much having a child has changed my life. I consider myself an atheist but by getting my son in the way that I did makes me question some higher power just a little bit ;)
I'm very much pro choice, but when I think back to when I found out I was pregnant and consider what my life would be like without him, now that I know him, rips my heart out.
Also, I know all babies are different but I have found raising a baby to be not nearly as difficult as people make you think it is. I have found that society bends over backwards in ways that are way beyond my expectations to pregnant women and new moms. My life up until getting pregnant was a lot of hard work and independence, now it's a bunch of people offering me their place in lines, holding doors for me and people offering me seats! I don't take advantage of it, but my faith in humanity is definitely restored and I don't regret having a baby for one second. Having a baby doesn't make anything easier but it doesn't make it that much harder that you'll think you've ruined your life.
What is your BA in? You might even find that having a baby opens your mind up to a whole world you never knew existed and might change your focus and will thank yourself you didn't waste all that time for what wasn't even really your "true calling" in life.
Hey OP. What a crazy experience! I just wanted to encourage you to make the right decision for yourself, no matter what it might be. I will say that having a child (not just a baby- they grow quickly!) will change your life in ways that are hard to imagine. Your own personal and career goals take a back seat to the person you've brought into the world; you have to think of their best interest first. Every kid is owed that, in my opinion. Yes, people open doors for you when you're carrying a baby and a diaper bag (and grocery bags, and on and on), but child care when you're trying to work or be a student is often kind of a nightmare, unless you've got family with free time on their hands nearby. This is not to say people don't make it happen, because they do. They will definitely post in threads like these! But let's be honest, having a kid can force you to put your goals on hold for a looooong time, and take some of them out of the running altogether.
All I can say is, for myself, I was very glad to delay childbearing until I was done with my education. I love my son beyond all belief, but I am glad I didn't have him when I was 22.
I found ou I was pregnant the summer after HS graduation, I had been forced into two abortions even though I had wanted to keep and raise the children, and I told my parents I was going to keep my son. I didn't feel ready and I knew in theory what I signed up for, but reality is so much more different. I'm going to be 21 in Oct, my son just turned one. I love him so much and I'd never trade him for anything. But I'm unable to work or go to college currently because of the lack of childcare opportunities. I lost almost all of my social life, and I'm happy to say I don't really miss it. Every time I get cuddles and snuggles from my DS everything is worth it.
There are definitely people who have had abortions in situations like yours and feel that they made the right decision. And, as you see from posts in this thread, there are people who haven't had abortions and feel that they made the right decision, or who had abortions and feel that they made the wrong decision. Everyone's experiences are different. I don't think there is an easy way to know which category you will fit into 10 years from now. It is a hard decision for sure.
I have two comments, one, your parents are right, no one is ready to be a mom! I had no idea about anything until I was pregnant with my first ( but she was planned, actually, she was conceived after 5 months of trying after taking out my paragaurd IUD, I had mine in for three years) and then I started reading and reading and talking to mothers I admired. The fact that you are on mothering.com tells me you are already way ahead of where I was! That being said, the biggest part of being a mom is putting yourself second all the time, and only you know if you are ready to do that.
Second, adoption is a wonderful, amazing, beautiful thing. There is a women out there who really, really wants to be a mom and is at a place in her life where she can give 100% to a baby. Maybe you are an answer to her prayers.
Best wishes and lots of hugs.
Just to touch on the adoption subject, you might want to read the Steve Jobs biography... to make a long story short, his biological parents were in university, went on to earn PhDs, and ran a restaurant. When they gave their son up for adoption, they insisted he be given to a well-educated family. He wasn't...
It's kind of relevant to your situation and puts things into perspective... might help with a decision.
Now that I have two children (5 &7) and am pregnant with my third (surprise!) I can honestly say that yes, your life goes on hold, but not for as long as you think. If you love something it will come back or change form or you will change your priorities and you will not mind. I didnt mind putting things on hold because life is so very short and childhood goes by remarkably fast and everything is richer and crazier for it. I planned to start my own business this year (but surprise!), and went back to school part time two years ago without too much trouble, yes it was a crazy juggle but I was happy doing it. But what I wanted to say is that life becomes richer with children and life can become more meaningful if you decide not to carry and raise another human. All paths can lead to a deepening of meaning and purpose in your own path, depending on how honestly you make your decision and how you carry it with you into the future.
That is my long way of saying trust yourself. You already know what your decision is, you just aren't fully comfortable with it yet. You will get there.
Sorry for the novel.