Getting the news that your girlfriend is pregnant can be shocking and scary. The first reaction is often one of doubt. Maybe you feel like this can’t be real. As the father of the baby, you may be thinking to yourself, “My girlfriend is pregnant! I don’t know what to do.” Although you feel overwhelmed, there are some things you can do.
Here are some tips that will help you face the nerve-wracking situation of an unplanned pregnancy.
Try to stay calm
You may not feel calm, but you must try to get your emotions under control so you can focus on what to do. Getting angry won’t help you or your girlfriend during this difficult time. Remember, this isn’t the end of the world.
Take a day to process the news by yourself before you sit down to talk with your girlfriend. Don’t panic. There are always choices you and your girlfriend can make. Of course, she may make the final decision, but staying calm will help both of you come up with the best plan.
Talk with your girlfriend
The second thing you should do is spend some time talking with your girlfriend about her plans. She is probably feeling more scared and overwhelmed than you right now. So, she’s going to need your emotional support.
Often, when guys hear that their girlfriend might be pregnant, their first reaction isn’t always positive. If you said things that hurt her feelings, you may have to begin your conversation by apologizing. After the initial shock of “my girlfriend is pregnant!” wears off, you’ll be better able to communicate and think clearly.
You’ll both need time to think, so be sure that you continue to communicate with each other over the following days and weeks. In the meantime, show your support for your girlfriend as long as she needs and wants it.
Look at your options
Ultimately, your girlfriend will make the decision that is best for her and her baby, but you must understand your options as the father. Of course, you can express your opinions about the pregnancy and how you would or would not like to be involved. But you must not force her into any decision.
Take some time to understand all of the pregnancy options — parenting, abortion, and adoption. That way, you can have a productive discussion with your girlfriend. As you take a look at your options, here are some important questions you should think about:
- Are you willing (and able) to co-parent your baby?
- Do you have the time and resources to become a parent?
- Can you provide financial support for your baby?
- Do you know the abortion laws in your state?
- What do you know about adoption? Have you heard about open adoption?
- Would you be willing to be involved in an adoption?
Before any decisions are made, be sure you have done as much research as possible. Take your time and consider all your options.
It’s important that you understand you have a right to share your honest thoughts with your girlfriend. Many people feel anger, guilt, fear, and resentment when facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Be sure to communicate your honest and open desires. Share your concerns and how you think the pregnancy will affect each of you. Be sure to listen to your girlfriend during these conversations. It’s natural to focus on how this will affect you, but now isn’t the time to be selfish.
If you are sure that you’re ready to parent your child, she must know this. You don’t want to live with future regrets because you didn’t speak up. Maybe you worry about what she’ll say or do if you are totally honest with her, but she may want to hear what you have to say. She may be glad to know you have this much interest in parenting or choosing adoption. This could help both of you agree upon a plan you hadn’t anticipated.
Show support for her decision
In the end, although you need to stay calm, talk to your girlfriend, and understand your options, the ultimate decision will be hers. Find ways to help her if she asks for your help.
Some women prefer to make this decision on their own. It can be difficult if her choice is not the same as yours, but you should take responsibility and ask how you can help. She may or may not want you involved, but offer help either way. If she decides to parent her child, you will probably be legally required to pay child support if you don’t want to be involved in your child’s life.
Take your time
Since this will be one of the biggest decisions of your lives, you don’t have to rush things. You have time to consider all your options. As you talk with your girlfriend, let her know she is not in this alone. You are stepping up and taking responsibility. So if you’re wondering, “My girlfriend is pregnant, what should I do?” remember, there are many things you can do.
If you are interested in working with your child’s mother to create an adoption plan or would like to learn more about your options, you can call or text Lifetime Adoption 24/7 at 1-800-923-6784.
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.