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Must-read for women in unplanned pregnancies
on June 22, 2006
This is a truly fantastic book for women in unplanned pregnancies.
Whether you consider yourself too young, too old, too poor, too sick, or too overburdened to welcome a child right now, or you have some other special circumstance (such as rape) that makes you doubt your ability to be a good mother, you will certainly find a story you can relate to in this book. It's one of the few resources I've found that encourages women to look at an unplanned pregnancy as an opportunity rather than as a problem to be solved.
Fields acknowledges how easily pregnancy can seem like an inconvenience, a stumbling block, or even a tragedy. She knows, from personal experience, the deep anguish women feel when they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. And she understands the feeling of fear and depression that accompany unsupported pregnancies, or those that occur in less-than-ideal circumstances.
I only wish more people would acknowledge how common this type of pregnancy is. (According to the National Institutes of Health, about 60% of all pregnancies are unplanned--that's three million women a year.) We can safely assume that not all of those three million women were overjoyed to learn of their pregnancy. But that's not something we talk about much in our society, is it? That's why it's wonderful to hear Fields and the women profiled in this book being utterly and completely honest about how they were anything but happy to find out they were expecting.
Fields' main point is that what initially seems like a crisis and the worst thing in the world can ultimately transform into a blessing, as you come to realize you can handle what you have been given, and that you actually do want and love the child you are carrying. She believes that the transformation happens at different times and in different ways, but almost always happens. Sometimes the transformation means embracing parenthood, and other times it means choosing adoption (which is given a small amount of attention here--but the real emphasis is on parenting.) In both cases, the ambivalence felt early on begins to change as a woman struggles through the solitude and difficulty of the pregnancy. Eventually, it turns into an acceptance of motherhood and love for the unplanned baby.
Some readers with different beliefs may be a little uncomfortable with the Christian viewpoint espoused in the book ("the Maker of life doesn't make mistakes," etc.), but Fields is essentially gentle in her writing and doesn't force her faith on others.
I applaud this book for talking about a topic that we as women don't talk about enough.
We don't always get to choose the circumstances of our motherhood, but we can and should inspire each other to rise to the occasion. As Field notes, unplanned pregnancies can feel like a kind of death, but they have the possibility, and the probability, of changing into something joyful.