Your girlfriend is pregnant. A million questions may be swirling through your mind. That is okay! Many other men have been in your same situation and have asked a lot of the questions you are probably thinking of! Below are some common questions men ask and reactions they have when they find out their girlfriend is pregnant.
My girlfriend is pregnant – is she?
The first place to start is to confirm that your girlfriend is pregnant. Pregnancy Resource Center’s or Women’s Clinics offer free pregnancy testing and free ultrasounds to confirm a pregnancy. Many people prefer to take a pregnancy test in a clinic with medical professionals who are trained to perform urine pregnancy tests. It often assures patients when a professional gives them the results instead of reading the test by themselves at home. Having an ultrasound done is also important because it will confirm that your girlfriend is pregnant. A pregnancy test detects the pregnancy hormone but only an ultrasound can confirm a pregnancy. A limited ultrasound visualizes the pregnancy and confirms if the pregnancy is viable.
Did you know a pregnancy may not be viable? According to the Mayo Clinic, ten to twenty percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. The Mayo Clinic estimates that this number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur early in pregnancy when some women do not even know they are pregnant. A limited ultrasound at a local clinic will be able to tell you if the pregnancy is viable or not. If the pregnancy is not viable, your girlfriend will need to see a doctor to make sure she stays healthy as she miscarries. If the ultrasound confirms that the pregnancy is viable, you two will be able to continue having conversations about your next steps.
An ultrasound will also be able to tell you both how far along the pregnancy is. This information is important to have because it may affect the decisions you both will make regarding the outcome of your pregnancy. You might consider asking your girlfriend if she would like you to call a center and schedule an appointment for a pregnancy test and ultrasound. She might want to call herself but you can always offer to help. Offering to call and get information or make an appointment shows her that you care about her and that you want to be involved in addressing the pregnancy.
What are my options?
There are two kinds of abortions, medication abortions and surgical abortions. How far along the pregnancy is will determine which options are available for you and your partner to choose. Your individual state laws may also factor into which abortion procedures are available for you. It is important to talk to a trusted medical provider about your abortion options. Learning about abortion procedures, risks, and side effects will empower you and your partner to make the decision that is best for your current situation. Remember, no one can force your partner to have an abortion. If someone, even a friend or family member, is pressuring or coercing your partner into having an abortion, reach out for help.
Did you know you can make an adoption plan? You and your partner can choose to have an open or closed adoption. An open adoption is where you can choose stay in contact with your baby and their adoptive family. A closed adoption is where you choose to not have any contact with the baby or their adoptive family. There are many adoption agencies that are eager to help you and empower you to create an adoption plan for your baby. You can even pick which family you place your baby with! There are millions of families waiting to adopt a baby. Talking with an adoption agency can give you answers to your questions without any commitment to creating an adoption plan.
You and your partner can choose to parent. There are extensive resources available for you including financial support, educational support, child care options, and material assistance. You can find many resources online. Additionally, you can schedule an appointment to talk with an advocate about your options. Your advocate will be able to discuss your specific needs with you and your partner and help you create an action plan to meet your needs.
What should I do?
Take some time to breathe! Setting aside time to think about the situation you are in and what your options are can bring clarity. It is important to have good information. Make sure you think through your options before making a final decision. Thinking things through and sorting them out can bring you peace of mind.
Support your partner. This is a difficult time for her too. Since your girlfriend is pregnant, there are a lot of changes already happening to her body…she may be experiencing morning sickness or mood swings. These changes are due to the hormone changes in her body. She may not understand why she feels the way she does or why she reacts the way she does. Supporting her through her feelings may help reassure her that you are there for her and want what is best for her.
Ask her what you can do for her. She may want you to grab some salty crackers from the grocery store or she may want you to call a clinic and set up an appointment. Offer to go with her to her appointment to show her that you support her and will be there for her! Ask her what you can do for her and follow through on what it is she needs.
You have a voice and an opinion. And it is okay to share that with your partner! Men are often told that it is a woman’s decision to choose. Ultimately, the woman makes the final decision about what happens to her body, however, you can still have an opinion and voice! Oftentimes, women want to know what outcome you would like for the pregnancy. You may feel like you have to tell her that whatever she decides is fine with you. While you may be fine with whatever decision she chooses, often deep down she wants you to state what outcome you would like.
Ask her if you can tell her what decision you would like. Saying “I want an abortion,” or “I want to talk about making an adoption plan,” or “I want to keep the baby” allows her to hear your opinion. Just because you say it does not mean she is going to like it! But that is okay! Having a heart-to-heart conversation about your opinion and discussing the outcomes each of you want can create an opportunity for you two to grow closer during this experience, instead of farther apart. It is a hard conversation to have, but it is important that each of you feel heard by the other. Set aside time to discuss your options. You may also want to have multiple conversations about the situation.
Take a break
The decision does not have to be made in one conversation. You can take a break and come back to the conversation in a few days. This can be a confusing and scary time for both of you and maybe you do not quite know how you feel right now. That is normal. This is a big decision and it is important for you to have good information so you can explore your options and decide how you would like to move forward.
I’m not ready to be a father!
That’s okay! You have options!
Many people do not feel ready to be a parent when they find out their girlfriend is pregnant! There are so many people ready and willing to help you no matter what outcome you choose! You may find it helpful to talk to someone who will be able to answer your questions. The trained advocates at your local pregnancy resource center can sit down with you to discuss your concerns.
Many centers have male advocates so you can talk about your concerns with another man. Some centers have free programs you can participate in where you can work with a mentor and prepare to become a father, if you and your partner decide to parent.
If you and your partner choose to make an adoption plan, your adoption agency or local pregnancy center staff will also be able to walk that journey with you. They will be there to support you and your partner as you make decisions for your baby’s future. Deciding to make an adoption plan is a courageous decision. Your advocate is there to encourage and support you as well as answer any questions you may have.
Some couples decide to terminate their pregnancy. If you and your partner chose to have an abortion, your local pregnancy center will be there to support you. The nurses will be able to answer any questions you have about abortion so that you and your girlfriend have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Some people experience strong or confusing emotions after their abortion experience. Staff members at your local center are always available for you to reach back out if you are in need of additional support. The staff understand that not everyone is comfortable reaching out for support.
Some people are concerned that they will be judged for the choice they made to have an abortion. Staff know patients may be concerned about this and they know this may be a difficult time for you. They will often schedule follow up calls and reach back out to you to see if you need anything. The staff will not judge any choice you make, they are there to support you!
You do not have to make a decision right now about the outcome of the pregnancy. You can gather all the information and facts you need so that you and your partner can be confident in the decision you make. Empower yourself and your partner by scheduling an appointment with your local women’s center to discuss your options.
You have a voice and an opinion. And it’s okay to find that voice and share it with your partner! There are so many compassionate people ready to support you! Reach out today!