Why did I get pregnant when I did?

For many women, becoming pregnant when they didn't want to is the most difficult part about having an abortion.  Recognizing that you got pregnant in circumstances in which many women have unintended pregnancies can help you let go of the shame and self-blame you may be experiencing.

The following checklist can help you start to look at the factors that may have been at work when you got pregnant.  A "yes" to any of these statements is worth paying attention to.  Understanding and acknowledging why you got pregnant can help lower your risk for a future unwanted pregnancy.

Try to read and respond to these statements with an open mind.  Be attentive to the tiniest whispers in your heart.  If you feel yourself getting angry at a statement or rushing past it, give yourself a minute to breathe and relax, and then go back to it again.

Note the statements that apply to you:

Knowledge about anatomy, physiology, birth control

***I got pregnant within six months of first becoming sexually active.

***When I got pregnant, I didn't know much (or anything) about birth control.

***I thought I was not fertile because I was too young.

***I thought that I couldn't get pregnant at certain times of the month, or by having sex in certain positions.

***My boyfriend said if I didn't have sex with him it showed I didn't love him.

***My boyfriend said that he'd go out with someone else if I didn't have sex with him.

***My boyfriend said I was cold and unfeminine if I didn't have sex with him.

Life Transitions: Beginning Sexuality

***I felt that sex had to be a spontaneous expression of love, and birth control would have made it seem planned.

***I felt it was not really OK to be having sex, and if I had gotten birth control it would have been admitting I was doing something wrong.

Life Transitions: In Relationships

***I got pregnant within a few months of starting to see my boyfriend because it was difficult or embarrassing to talk about birth control.

***I got pregnant within a few months of starting to see my boyfriend because we had different ideas about how much protection we needed.

***My boyfriend and I were arguing a lot when I got pregnant.

***We were thinking about breaking up when I got pregnant.

***I had broken up with my boyfriend, but then we got back together and I got pregnant.

Life Transitions: After Pregnancies

***I was breastfeeding and thought I wouldn't get pregnant.

***I hadn't gotten my period yet and thought I couldn't get pregnant.

***I had an abortion a few months before becoming pregnant again.

Life Transitions: Perimenopause or Menopause

***I had recently decided not to have more (or any) children.

***I had started having irregular periods or other signs of menopause, and thought I was less fertile.

Life Transitions: Moving

***I had gone on vacation and forgotten to take my method of birth control.

***I was moving and lost track of my method of birth control.

Death of Loved One

***One of my parents, or a sibling, or close friend died shortly before I became pregnant.