My Girlfriend is Pregnant: What Should I Do?

Your partner is pregnant. Neither of you planned the pregnancy or the conversation you now need to have. What do you say? Are you allowed to have an opinion? Is it just her choice? How will this affect your relationship? What’s the right response?

First, understand that emotions are complicated. For you and for her. 

You might be feeling scared and thinking, No way can I take care of the three of us right now. I can’t do it. But, at the same time you might be feeling pretty good. You’ve just accomplished something that many people are having a hard time accomplishing! Some part of you might be a little excited at the thought of being a father.

As you navigate through this new moment with your girlfriend/partner, remember these principles. 

Treat her fairly.

If emotions are complicated for you, they’re complicated for your partner as well. It is possible to feel opposite things at the same time. Sometimes our hearts and our heads don’t agree. Both of you might be feeling overwhelmed, so try to be fair to each other.

Talk about it.

Although this might seem like a terrible time to talk about all the possibilities, it’s actually the best way for both of you to get rid of the fear and anxiety that you might be experiencing. Communication is key! Ask her (and yourself) some questions, such as, “If things were different, what would I want to do?” What circumstances would have to change for this to be possible? Maybe you both think, This is not a good time at all, but as you talk further about possibilities, you might find that you both are also secretly hoping you can do this.

Be patient with her emotions.

All people experience and express their emotions differently. It might be challenging for you to listen to all the emotional talk from her. But she needs you to listen. You can do it. To listen well means that as she shares, you don’t try to fix it or explain that she’s wrong for feeling that way. Just listen and ask her to tell you more about it. Try to understand her perspective and make her feel heard. 

Don’t take it personally.

Encourage her to safely talk about her feelings. Realize that if she’s feeling scared, don’t think that means she doesn’t love and care about you. She may even want to have children with you. Remember this circumstance has taken you both by surprise and be patient with each other. Don’t take her changing emotions as a rejection of you. 

Allow both of your feelings to come, acknowledge them, and then let them pass. You can be in control of your emotions; they don’t have to control you. 

Don’t say it’s her decision.

Although you may say this to be supportive, that just puts the whole weight of the decision on her shoulders alone. Yes, ultimately, she’s the one who has the power to decide, but usually, she wants to hear from you. She most likely told you because she does want to know what you think and how you feel. Many women who have had abortions later report that they would have decided to have their baby if their partner had supported them. If you’re willing to give what you can and support her so she can have the baby, tell her.

Assure her that you’re there for her.

Many women, upon finding out about an unplanned pregnancy, fear how their partner will react. Will he be angry? Will he leave? Does he still love me? Your reassurance has great value in this moment. You might not feel like you know how you’ll make this work, but even the first step of assuring her that you will figure it out together can offer her great strength. 

She is capable of more than you know—you both are! Maybe you will end up agreeing on an unexpected option, such as adoption. That’s still a brave choice, and your support through each trimester of her pregnancy will be invaluable. 

Slow down.

You both have a big decision to make and a lot to think about. That can’t be done well if you rush through it. Talk to someone that you trust. If you don’t know who you can talk to, schedule an appointment at Clearway Clinic to hear what options and resources might be available to you. Our nurses and advocates will answer your questions and connect you with the support options available to you. 

Know that you matter.

You might think your thoughts and feelings don’t matter, but they do. It took two of you to conceive this pregnancy. Her body is pregnant, but you are a key part of this too. You might even be the most important person in the world to your partner right now. Even if she doesn’t think so, your feelings and thoughts about this pregnancy are important. 

Know that you’re not alone.

Even if you put lots of time and conversation in, you and your partner may end up still seeing things differently. If it ends up that you want to have the baby, but she chooses abortion, know that it’s very normal to experience grief. Even if you both agreed that abortion was the right choice, it’s normal to grieve. According to a recent study sponsored by Support After Abortion, 71% of men reported adverse changes after their abortion experience, such as depression, guilt, regret, anxiety, anger, and substance abuse. If this applies to you, reach out and get some help. You are worthy of healing and release.  

ClearPast (the after-abortion care program of Clearway Clinic) also offers abortion recovery programs for men. Email or call (508) 438-0144 for more information.  

Clearway Clinic: Free Options Consultation

If you don’t know where to start, Clearway is here for you. Our clinics in Springfield and Worcester provide free medical services including pregnancy testing, STI testing, and a pregnancy confirmation ultrasound. These services can help provide clarity regarding where you are in your pregnancy and what options are available to you and your partner. 

We also provide a customized referrals list of available resources in your area (including prenatal care options) and will answer your questions on all the options available to you, including abortion, adoption, and parenting. After your initial consultation, you are also eligible to attend our free prenatal education classes to prepare for labor and delivery and caring for a newborn. Start your parenthood journey together in partnership, supporting one another. 

You’re not alone! Encourage your partner to schedule her appointment at Clearway, and come along to support her and learn more about the resources available for both of you.

Written by Amy G., L.I.C.S.W.

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