Decision-based counselling unplanned pregnancy

Decision-based counselling helps you make a choice that is right for you

Eleonore Bridier Counselling

Discovering you are pregnant when you did not plan to be can be distressing for some women. Each pregnancy in your life is different and you often face complex factors such as your financial, emotional, physical and social wellbeing. Maybe you are not sure how to talk to a partner or spouse about your feelings, or you are facing circumstances that make it harder for you to consider your options. If you are not sure how to make a decision that is right for you, it can be useful to talk confidentially to someone who is outside of your situation about your feelings and to discuss your options. It is important you feel confident that you are making a decision that is most right for you, and for your situation.

Decision-based counselling is a model of counselling that assists women through the process of making a decision about their pregnancy: where the options of continuing or terminating a pregnancy (also known as abortion) or adoption can all be discussed. While some women can turn to their partner, friends or family for advice, others might feel that they can’t do so, for a number of reasons. These could include conflict over the decision with a partner or family members, a lack of friends and family close by, or a fear of being judged.

In such situations, women can benefit from being able to access professional, non-judgmental and confidential counselling services that identify as pro-choice, meaning they can help women think through all the options open to them, without trying to persuade them to choose one over another. Given there is a degree of urgency in coming to a decision with a pregnancy, such services need to be readily available, particularly if you live in a rural or regional area or the pregnancy is nearing the second trimester.

At Marie Stopes Australia, we provide free over-the-phone decision-based counselling services to women facing an unplanned pregnancy and/or women considering termination of pregnancy. Our counsellors are specially trained to provide confidential, non-judgmental comprehensive information about all the options available, whether you decide to terminate or continue with the pregnancy.

We also provide a ‘Three-day Decision Making Guide’, which takes you through the decision-making process over three days, asking you to write down your feelings and reasons for both termination and continuing the pregnancy. On day three we ask you to prioritise your thoughts, feelings and reasons about the options, giving you a greater sense of the reasons you would actively choose to continue or terminate a pregnancy. We then suggest you undertake a visualisation exercise, imagining what the future will be like either having had a termination, continuing the pregnancy or choosing adoption. Often, one of the imagined futures will feel more possible / realistic than the others, meaning that this might be the option that sits best with you and your situation.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or feel that you need to talk to a professional about the pregnancy options available to you, we encourage you to call us on 1300 003 707 to make an appointment to speak to one of our pregnancy counsellors.