Parenting

Should I Parent?

Parenting is a big responsibility that can feel daunting but many women feel it can be a rewarding choice.  Make an appointment today to discuss with one of our counselors your concerns about parenting. Many resources are available in the greater Boston area for single and married parents. At Boston Center for Pregnancy Choices, we can help you access these resources, such as paternity testing, legal aid, housing assistance, MassHealth application assistance.

Parenting

Single Parenting With Involved Partner

If your partner is willing to remain involved, one of you may choose to assume most day to day responsibilities of raising the child, while the other parent may offer financial support and visit on certain daysOften one single parent has sole legal custody, meaning that this parent has unilateral authority in making important decisions about the child. Some unmarried parents choose to reach an informal agreement about parenting time, decision making, and support. Other parents prefer to formalize their agreement through the Probate and Family Court or choose to seek assistance from the Court if they disagree about these issues.

Single Parenting Without Involved Partner

If your partner does not remain involved, you may be decide to assume all responsibilities of raising the child, potentially with the help of other family and friends. In this case, you would have sole legal custody (you make all the decisions involved in the child’s life) and sole physical custody (the child lives with you). You may also consider requesting assistance in obtaining child support through the Department of Revenue or by filing a case with the Probate and Family Court yourself.

Getting Married

Getting married is an option for some couples in an unplanned pregnancy. If you and your partner have been in a serious committed relationship for a while, and have talked about marriage, then this may be an option for you. While many do not want to choose marriage solely for the sake of the baby, it may be something to consider if you and your partner care about each other and desire to stay together long term.  We recommend meeting with a premarital counselor, or one of our counselors, before taking this step.

Joint Parenting or Joint Custody

Joint parenting is an option if both parents are committed to raising the child, they are able to communicate and cooperate well, and marriage is not the right choice. Joint parenting can include shared legal custody (with the child primarily living with one parent) or both shared legal custody and shared physical custody. When parents share physical custody, the child spends approximately equal time with each parent, usually on a week-to-week, two-week, or seasonal schedule. When parents share legal custody, they make important decisions about the child together.

How do I know I would be a Good Parent?

Many women whose pregnancy was planned ask themselves this question. You may have many concerns about being a parent, such as the additional financial costs, the additional responsibility, and the ability to care for another person. BCPC is here to listen to you and provide you with information that will help you address the questions you have. We also can provide services and refer you to community resources that can help you navigate parenting.

Questions You May Have About Parenting

If you're pregnant, here are some questions others have had:

  • What resources are available if I decide to parent?
  • What will my future look like?
  • How do I know I am ready to be a parent?
  • How can I afford to parent?
  • Can I still attend school?
  • How can I make it on my budget?
  • What if I already have children?
  • How can I do this alone?