Pregnancy options counselling
What is pregnancy options counselling?
Pregnancy options counselling is a model of non-directive decision-making counselling. This model supports women and pregnant people as they make a decision about their pregnancy. It’s a conversation where all pregnancy outcomes are discussed including abortion, adoption, care, kinship care or parenting. The counsellor supports and listens to concerns without encouraging one option over another. While some people choose to seek advice from their partner, friends or family, others might feel that they can’t do so for a variety of reasons. These could include conflict over the decision, a lack of friends and family close by, or fear of being judged.
Decision-making can be an emotional process, whether you are working through making a decision or have made a decision. Sometimes you may face complex factors such as financial, emotional, physical or social wellbeing issues. Maybe you’re not sure how to process your thoughts or talk to a friend about it, or perhaps you’re facing circumstances that make it harder for you to consider your options. If you’re not sure how to make a decision that’s right for you, it can be useful to talk confidentially to someone outside your situation. It’s important you feel confident that you’re making a choice that is yours and is best for your situation.
In such situations, women and pregnant people can benefit from accessing professional, non-judgmental and confidential counselling services that identify as pro-choice. Pro-choice means the counsellor can help someone think through all of their options, without persuading them to choose one over another.
The importance of choice for pregnancy counselling
As with your options around pregnancy, you also have options about which counselling service to consider. It’s important to know a few facts before deciding who to call.
In Australia, counselling is not a regulated industry, which means any not-for-profit or free service provider can offer pregnancy counselling without licensing or registration.
Due to the lack of regulations, there are several national and local anti-choice organisations that claim to provide ‘non-directive’ or ‘unbiased’ counselling services. Many of these organisations are funded by anti-choice entities from Australia and overseas. They provide inaccurate medical information about pregnancy and childbirth; they misinform people about the amount of social and financial support available to them and can be deliberately misleading about symptoms, processes and side-effects of abortion.
This is why it’s essential to research the organisation or hotline you’re calling. You have the right to not be manipulated. You are entitled to receive information that is accurate and complete so that you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you.
Where can I find pro-choice, pregnancy options counselling?
There are several organisations that provide free, pro-choice pregnancy options counselling throughout Australia. If you are experiencing anxiety and/or depression and would like to speak to a counsellor, you can reach out to the national helpline, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA). PANDA is a specialist not–for-profit organisation that is dedicated to perinatal mental health. They can assist you with a long-term mental health plan and refer you to an appropriate counsellor or physician.
You can also contact us. We provide free over-the-phone pregnancy options counselling services to women and pregnant people. Our counsellors are specially trained to provide confidential, non-judgmental, comprehensive information about all available options, regardless of whether you decide to have an abortion or continue with the pregnancy.