I’m 17, going to be a senior and I just found out my girlfriend thinks she’s pregnant. She hasn’t taken a test yet but she’s late for her period and is planning to take a test this week. I’m not sure what to do if she’s pregnant. Can you help me?
Dear Not Ready,
Hearing the news that your girlfriend is pregnant can be shocking and scary. The first reaction is often one of disbelief. Maybe you’re feeling that this just can’t be real… at least not for you. Getting confirmation of the pregnancy is the first step. We offer free testing here at Pregnancy Resource Clinic and would love for her to come in for a test to make sure she is pregnant. You can even come with her if that would make her feel better.
If your girlfriend is pregnant, it’s going to be important for the two of you to spend some time talking. Often, when guys hear the news that their girlfriend might be pregnant their first reaction isn’t always the best. If you said things or acted in a way that hurt her feelings you may have to begin by apologizing. After that you need to talk and you both need to be honest about how you are feeling. Anger, fear, guilt, and resentment are common emotions many feel when facing an unplanned pregnancy. You should also begin to talk about your concerns and how you think the pregnancy will impact each of you. Be sure to listen to her during these conversations. It’s natural to focus on your feelings and how this impacts you, but now isn’t the time to be selfish. As you talk, this shouldn’t be a one-time conversation. You’ll need time to think, so be sure that you continue to communicate with each other over the next days and weeks. This will be one of the biggest decisions of your life and you don’t have to rush things. You have time to consider all your options. And as you talk, let her know she is not in this alone, that you are stepping up and taking responsibility.
Once you’ve had some time to talk and share your concerns, it’s time to start coming up with a plan. Often young couples aren’t aware of all the options available to them.
As the father you have 6 options when your girlfriend is pregnant.
1. Help Parent –
Taking responsibility for your actions and supporting both mother and child is honorable. This may mean you have to pick up a part-time job or adjust your school schedule. You’re not the first teen father and this is doable. We can even help talk through options with you.
2. Get Married and Raise Child Together –
For some couples, getting married is the best option. They love each other and are committed to working together as a family. Sometimes they just need a little help. At PRC we offer classes that can help you learn to be a good parent as well as provide some material help such as diapers and baby clothes.
3. Temporary Foster Care –
If you just aren’t able to care for a child, sometimes placing your baby in temporary care while you get it together is the best option. This allows you to make the final decision of whether or not to parent without all the pressure you are feeling now.
4. Help Place the Baby for Adoption –
This can be a loving, unselfish choice and, depending on the circumstances, this can be the best option for the child. There are a few types of adoption available if this is the option you and your girlfriend choose. We have resources and staff that can help you navigate the process if this is the best option for you.
5. Abandon the mother and child –
While this is always an option, it’s one we hope you wouldn’t consider. While it may seem like the easy way out, you should consider the long-term consequences. Will you feel proud of this decision in 10 or 20 years? Whether you want this baby, whether you love this girl, you’re still a father and you have a responsibility to your child.
6. Abortion –
This is also an option and often seems like the easy choice, a way to just make it all go away. As you consider this option you should be aware that there might be long lasting emotional consequences for the mother and yourself as well as possible physical issues.
As you process all your options, sometimes it’s helpful to sit down with someone who isn’t involved to talk about how you’re feeling and what option is best for you. Our team at PRC is available and would love to listen and help in any way we can.
Once you’ve had some time to come up with a plan you will need to have a conversation with both your parents and hers. Here are 5 tips on how to prepare for that conversation.
If it turns out your girlfriend isn’t pregnant, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. We would encourage you both to have a free STI test to make sure you aren’t infected, even if you’ve only been with each other. And we’d love to talk about how you can avoid finding yourself in this situation again.
If we can help, please give us a call at 814-234-7340 or visit scprc.com.