You're pregnant
 
Things to think about
 
Your choice

1) Do you want to go through with your pregnancy?

If so, you can decide to keep the baby or give it up for adoption.
If not, you can choose to have an abortion.

2) You want to keep the baby

What are your educational plans? How will you pursue them if you assume responsibility for a child?
  • At the high-school level, there are specialized schools that take into account the reality of young mothers. Ask your CLSC for further information about this.

How will you meet the needs of a child? What are your financial means?
  • In Québec, The Pregnant Minors Financial Assistance Measure provided by the Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale offers help to minors who are at least 20 weeks pregnant, to support them during their pregnancy. Obtain further information at your local employment centre (CLE) or ask for a referral from a counsellor at your CLSC.
  • After the baby is born, other financial aid programs are available. A counsellor at your CLE will be able to help you determine what is applicable in your situation.
 
How will you handle your relationships with your friends? How will you maintain your friendships despite your new responsibilities?
  • The reality of being a parent is a far cry from what most teenagers are going through. A baby is a 24/7 responsibility. Because new mothers aren’t able to join in their activities, a lot of teenagers drift away from them and end up breaking off ties.
  • Many pregnant teenagers develop a whole new network of friends who are in the same situation as they are. There are various support networks for young mothers. Find out more about them from your CLSC.

Where will you live? Will your parents let you live with them with a baby?
  • A lot of young mothers assume their parents will agree to have them live at home and that their parents will look after the child when they go out. However, a lot of parents want to see their daughter stand on her own two feet and assume her responsibilities by leaving the family nest.
  • There are different resources to help young mothers set up their own home and acquire the supplies they need to care for their baby. Again, your CLSC can advise you on the resources available in your community.

Are you prepared for the 24/7 responsibility of having a child?   
  • A baby is utterly dependent on the care provided by the adults looking after him. His need to be loved, fed, cared for, reassured, etc. doesn’t stick to a 9-to-5 schedule. The person or people parenting the baby are responsible for meeting the child’s needs or for ensuring that a reliable person does so in their absence.

3) You want to give the baby up for adoption

• What options are available to you?
  • Give the baby to a member of your immediate family.
  • Give the baby to the adoption service at the Youth and Family Centre in your area.
•  No matter what option you choose, ask a social worker at your CLSC to help you with the steps involved.


4)  You want to have an abortion

Abortion is the solution for terminating an unwanted pregnancy.

Where should you go? This service is usually provided at hospitals, many CLSCs and private clinics. Ask your CLSC or family doctor for more details. You can always visit a clinic or your CLSC as a starting point, and you’ll get guidance from there.

As of when and up until when? An abortion can usually be performed as of five weeks of pregnancy. Certain places perform abortions up until many weeks into the pregnancy; it varies. The number of weeks of pregnancy is calculated based on the first day of your last period. It’s best to make an appointment as soon as you reach a decision because abortion methods are simpler at the beginning of the pregnancy. Take the time to obtain the necessary information. Clinics and CLSCs each have their own way of operating.

Costs. An abortion is free with the health insurance card.

Risks. While minimal and rare, abortion can lead to certain complications. And there are emotional consequences. Make sure you have the help and support you need.

Before the abortion. You will meet with the health professional so that your situation can be evaluated and so that you are given all the information you need. You will also be given a medical check-up.

How it works. The doctor will explain how it works in detail. You are usually put under local anaesthetic and conscious sedation, meaning that you are given a drug that allows you to tolerate the pain while maintaining a certain level of consciousness.

After the abortion. You will need to rest and practise certain preventive measures for a few days. You will be informed about this at the time of the procedure.

Emotionally.  If you feel shaken or upset, be sure to seek support from a professional, including a Tel-jeunes counsellor. Choosing to end a pregnancy is not an easy decision and it often stirs up all sorts of emotions.

 
Your partner

• Does he know you’re pregnant? Do you want to talk to him about it?

• Do you both agree on the best option?
  • In an ideal world, involving your partner in the decision allows you to see if you’ll be able to count on his support afterwards.
  • Did you know that if you’re at least 14 years old, the final decision about whether to continue or terminate your pregnancy is yours and yours alone?
• What will you do if your partner doesn’t agree with your decision?
  • Seeing as the final decision is yours, there’s a possibility that your partner won’t be in agreement. Are you prepared to deal with the consequences of disagreeing over the decision?


 
Your family

•  Does your family know you’re pregnant? Do you want to talk to them about it?

•  Do you want to talk to them about your options so they can help you make a decision?

•    What will you do if your family doesn’t support your choice? 
  • Sometimes parents who don’t agree with their daughter’s decision about a pregnancy cut ties with her. Be sure to get help from a counsellor at your CLSC if you think this might happen in your situation.
  • Give them time to absorb the shock before worrying about their reaction. They may think differently once their emotions have settled down a bit!
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