Heavenly Father loves all of His children and shows mercy to each one regardless of their circumstances (Exodus 20:6). He “is rich in mercy” and will support us in our trials, troubles, and afflictions (see Ephesians 2:4 and Alma 36:3). Being pregnant and unmarried can be a difficult time in a person’s life. Each individual experiences unique circumstances when faced with unwed pregnancy. In deciding how to proceed, remember that Heavenly Father will never abandon you or your child (1 Chronicles 28:20). He loves your child as much as, if not more than, you love the child, and He desires to help you both. He cares about and has a plan for both of you and He “will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18).
First, remember that your Heavenly Father loves you and wants to help you as you move forward. It is never too late to seek His counsel or feel of His Spirit as you seek divine direction. The health of your child is important. Seek prenatal care where available, and seek information on prenatal health.
As you make decisions for your future, seek Heavenly Father’s guidance through prayer and counsel with your parents, bishop, medical provider, and other trusted individuals who seek to support you. Remember you are not alone; many people care about you and want to support you as you move forward with your life. In addition, your bishop can provide counsel to you as your priesthood leader and can also help you begin the process of repentance, as appropriate (see General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 38.6.19, “Single Expectant Parents”).
When you experience unwed pregnancy, you will have to choose one of four options: marriage, adoption, single parenting, or abortion (see General Handbook, 38.6.1, “Abortion,” for an explanation of why the Church does not support abortions except in rare circumstances). What you choose will depend on your unique circumstances.
Remember that whatever you decide for you and your child, some people will agree with your decisions and others will not. Every individual’s situation is different, so the answer for one person may not work for another. One thing you can be sure of is that no one will have given as much time, effort, and thought to the unique circumstances of your situation as you and the Lord. Trust in the divine counsel you receive from Heavenly Father as you make your decision.
The scriptures teach us how to make decisions through study and prayer: “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–8).
Studying a decision out in your mind includes researching the information available for each of the challenges you face. Consider the following questions:
What direction are your parents, bishop, and other trusted individuals giving you?
What are the rewards and challenges for both you and your child associated with each decision?
If I were to place the needs of the child above the needs of everyone else (including my own), how might this influence my decision?
These are just a few of the questions you may want to explore prior to taking your decision to the Lord for His counsel. Remember, He cannot assist you in making your decisions unless you invite Him to be part of them.
Regardless of your decisions, the Lord is mindful of you. He wants you and your child to be successful and happy. Though you may be discouraged at times, remember to learn from the past and then let it go so you can move forward into the future. If you move forward today, resolving to keep the Lord ever present in your decisions, you will surely succeed.
If you are seeking advice on how to minister to a family member or friend, know that Heavenly Father loves you and values your desire to help. Ministering to an unwed parent in a positive manner will require knowledge and inspiration. Seek knowledge from numerous resources, including Church handbooks, magazines, and conference talks, as well as academic books and articles. Seek spiritual knowledge through prayer and priesthood blessings. You may also consider counseling with your bishop as you explore ways that you might be able to help. Maybe the most important gift you can give is your continued friendship and nonjudgmental listening ear.
“Single Expectant Parents,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 38.6.19
“How Could She Let Him Go?” Provident Living
“The Gift of Adoption,” Ensign, February 2009
Rebecca M. Taylor, “Why Adoption?” Ensign, January 2008
Vicki F. Matsumori, “Sharing Time: Ye Are the Temple of God,” Friend, May 2002
Family Services, “Adoption and the Unwed Mother,” Ensign, February 2002
“Prayer—A Merging of Wills—Scott Robley,” For the Youth, episode 27
“Teaching Children and Youth to Live Virtuous and Chaste Lives—Part 1,” Gospel Solutions for Families, episode 42
“Teaching Children and Youth to Live Virtuous and Chaste Lives—Part 2,” Gospel Solutions for Families, episode 43