Hope and Help for an Unexpected Pregnancy

What to do when a surprise baby is coming

Sherry stood by the bathroom sink, eyes locked on a pregnancy test stick. She closed her eyes tightly for one last prayer: Please, God, no! Her military husband would be leaving for the Middle East soon; her eldest daughter was in a wheelchair. Finally, when she looked, a double pink line glowed in the tiny window of the wand. Positive! She burst into tears.

Nearly three million women a year greet the news of their pregnancies as Sherry did—not with joy or a cry of glee, but with tears, shock, and worry. Surprisingly, half will abort their babies. And while teen pregnancy seizes the headlines most frequently, unplanned pregnancy among married women can trigger crisis as well. The fears of bearing and raising another child can be so overwhelming that according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 27 percent of married women with unplanned pregnancies terminate their pregnancies. Even more sobering, research shows 13 percent—more than 150,000—of women who identify themselves as "born-again or evangelical Christians"—end their baby's lives each year.

This crisis is real not only for women, but for men as well. The added financial and emotional responsibilities of another child require adjustment for the entire family. And marriages feel the strain.

I know this crisis intimately. While in my 40s, with a completed family of four energetic children between the ages of 5 to 12 and a career as a college professor, I stood before the test stick—twice. Both times, despite careful contraception, the test was positive. God, what are you doing?

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May 25

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