“Help! I just got a positive pregnancy test! Being a mom wasn’t something I planned on at 19. My baby’s dad and I have been dating for two years now. I’m wondering if we are getting married for the wrong reasons. Would it be best if we just settled down and got married so we could raise the baby together?”
Maybe, just so you’re not marrying because you’re pregnant. It’s never a good idea to get married because of an unplanned pregnancy. Getting married for the wrong reasons sets you up for a higher risk of divorce than a relationship that has had time to grow without the stress of an unplanned pregnancy.
So if you’re feeling pressured right now, take a breath and think about your choices. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about getting married because you’re pregnant.
Evaluate Your Relationship – Are You Getting Married for the Wrong Reasons?
Step back from thinking about your unintended pregnancy and your baby for a moment and evaluate your relationship. Getting married should be because you are committed to one another and want to be together. It can feel like the pregnancy is pushing you to get married, but your marriage shouldn’t be about the baby.
Do You Really Know Him?
If you’ve been dating for a while, you may feel you really know your baby’s father. Ask yourself these questions about him before you make any commitments:
- Do we get along well together?
- Do we like to spend time together?
- How does he resolve conflicts? Does he yell and throw things?
- How does he act around kids? Will he help you change diapers?
- Is religion important to him? What does he believe? Is it compatible with your beliefs?
- Is he open about his spending? Does he save money? Does he have debt?
- Is he committed to you? Does he tend to flirt with other women?
As you consider these questions, it can help you decide if getting married because of unplanned pregnancy is the right decision. It’s difficult to acknowledge broken things in your relationship, but it’s important to be totally honest with yourself.
Do You Really Love Him?
Marriage is a big commitment. A shotgun wedding means marrying out of obligation, not because of love. If you ask married couples, they’ll tell you marriage can be challenging, and if you aren’t in love, it isn’t a sure bet the marriage will last. For example, statistics show marriages that occur due to an unplanned pregnancy have a 90% divorce rate within six years of getting married.
It may seem like you are doing the honorable thing by getting married because of an unplanned pregnancy, but you have to think about the long-term ramifications of your decision.
How Will Your Marriage Affect Your Child?
It’s important to consider how your marriage will affect your child. Kids need stability and a sense of security. If your marriage is stable, your child will feel it.
Marriage means a commitment to stay together through good and bad times. Think about what kind of home life you want for your child. Can you give your child a stable and safe home with your boyfriend? If not, getting married because of an unplanned pregnancy may not be a good idea.
Are You Ready to Be a Single Mom?
If, after reading this, you feel that a long-term relationship with your boyfriend isn’t in your future, what should you do? If getting married because of your unplanned pregnancy isn’t a good idea, are you ready to be a single parent?
Single mothers face challenges in supporting their children. If you’re in school, you may need to drop out. You may get a lesser-paying job due to a lack of education. Rising above all this isn’t easy unless you have a lot of support from your family. Think about what you hope for in your life. If you’re not ready to be a single mother, perhaps adoption would give your child the home life you desire.
What About Adoption?
When you choose adoption, you’re choosing your child’s future. It’s putting them first. It takes strength to come to terms with the fact you can’t provide your child all they deserve. Choosing adoption allows you to give your child opportunities in life that you can’t give them.
Lifetime Adoption is here to assist you. We provide many services for young women who consider the best decision for their children. We can answer your questions, but it’s entirely your decision. If you choose adoption, Lifetime may be able to help you with things such as:
- Finding and affording prenatal care
- Learning about hopeful adoptive parents
- Assisting you with your bills
- Maternity clothes
- Counseling before and after your baby’s birth
- 24/7 contact with your Adoption Coordinator
Adoption and Your Baby’s Father
Of course, it’s important to discuss adoption with your baby’s father. He may have questions about it, so check out these questions that birth fathers typically ask with him. It can answer his questions and help him decide if he thinks adoption is a good choice for you as a couple and your baby.
Be sure to communicate openly about your future, dreams, and desires. If you and your baby’s father aren’t ready to devote your lives to being parents, don’t put your child’s future at risk.
Getting Married Because of Unplanned Pregnancy
In the past, young couples were forced to have a shotgun wedding if they were in an unplanned pregnancy. These marriages rarely lasted because they weren’t built on love and commitment.
You don’t need to feel pressured into making any decision. An adoption is a good option if you don’t think marriage is a good idea for you and your boyfriend and you’re not ready to be a single parent.
It’s okay if you’re not ready to settle down. Being married and being a parent at a young age is very difficult. Don’t feel pressured into getting married because of an unplanned pregnancy. Think of your child’s future and the opportunities you want for them.
Talk with your boyfriend and consider whether adoption is an option. It could be the best way to give your child the happy, healthy life that you want for them and for you to have the future you hope for. Just keep in mind that getting married fo rthe wrong reasons doesn’t usually work out in the long run.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 8, 2017, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.