Pregnancy Options Values Exercise

This simply activity helps individuals think about their own personal values as it relates to an unexpected pregnancy and pregnancy options counseling.
As we’ve written about many times before, Adoption STAR was the New York State project lead for the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Project, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-funded initiative that trained health care and helping professionals on a variety of topics related to infant adoption awareness and education. We were subcontractors on the project under the guidance of Spaulding for Children, a child welfare organization in suburban Detroit, Michigan.

The following is an exercise that was commonly used during the full day training option that was a part of the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Project. FYI – If a male trainee was present at a training, the exercise was adapted to include the male perspective.

The trainer says the following:

“It is important to be aware of how our values can impact our work with patient/clients. Close your eyes and imagine when you were 18 years old. Who were your friends? Put yourself back into that time. You just found out that you are pregnant. The father of the baby left town to attend college, and you have no relationship with him. Think about what you are feeling. Don’t speak, just think about it.”

“Who do you want to tell?”

“Were you planning to have a baby?”

“What choice about the pregnancy are you thinking of making? Parenting? Abortion? Adoption?

“I will not be asking you to share this information with the group. With your eyes still closed, raise your hand when you have decided what you will do.”

“Now let’s assume the option is no longer available to you. What is your second choice? With your eyes still closed, raise your hand when you have decided what you will do.”

“Now imagine that your 18-year old daughter is pregnant. What do you hope/want her to decide? With your eyes still closed, raise your hand when you have decided.”

“ It is okay to open your eyes now”

The exercise is designed to increase the awareness of each trainee’s values as it relates to adoption. We all have our own biases and values and the more aware of them that we are, the more we can separate our own opinions form the process of helping a patient/client determine what is the best decision for them. Interestingly, sometimes what we think is best for us or for one person is not what we think is best for another person. It is a constant challenge to keep our own personal biases from influencing our professional responsibilities. However, the first step in managing the influence of personal biases is to recognize that they exist and to actively monitor our conversations and actions with patient/clients to ensure that you give accurate information that does not reflect your personal biases.