My girlfriend is pregnant and I don’t know what to do.
I’m scared, overwhelmed, and a little ashamed that this happened. I’m not ready to be a dad, and I don’t think my girlfriend is ready to be a mom. We don’t have any money, we’re both about to graduate and are planning to go to different colleges, and we don’t have any experience with kids. What are we going to do? Is our only option other than keeping the baby to have an abortion? I don’t know if I could live with myself if we did that. I’m afraid to even mention it to my girlfriend. Does she even want to hear what I’m feeling? I know she must have way more going through her mind than I do, but shouldn’t I be able to talk about how I feel about everything?
Many expectant fathers have very similar trains of thought when they first hear that they are going to be a dad. It is completely understandable to be afraid, nervous, overwhelmed, and hesitant. It is important to think of your girlfriend’s feelings, but it is also important to remember that you do have the right to talk about the things you are feeling.
The first thing you should try to do is to show support for your girlfriend (or even ex-girlfriend), because she is probably even more scared than you are. She is going to need someone to lean on while she goes through the initial emotions and steps she needs to go through. You will most likely need some time to process the news alone before you have a conversation with your girlfriend, and that is fine. It is probably best to filter what you want to say before you actually speak to your girlfriend, just to make sure you don’t say anything you might regret later. Once you have talked to your girlfriend and discussed how she is feeling and shown that you are supportive of her, you can talk about what is going through your head.
You absolutely have a say in the decision that is made regarding your child, but it is important to remember to be sensitive to how your girlfriend is feeling. After first hearing the news, your initial reaction might be to run. While this is a normal reaction, it must be acknowledged as a negative way to handle the news. Many women who are abandoned by their boyfriends after sharing the news of the pregnancy end up making rash decision regarding the baby because they feel scared and alone. These rash decisions could be avoided if the expectant fathers were brave enough to face the situation and discuss what would be best for all three involved parties.
You should never feel like you have no right to tell your girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend) that you either want to parent or want to make an adoption plan. If you feel certain that you are not ready to be a parent, you need to make that clear to the mother of your child. If you feel certain that you are ready to parent, you need to discuss that with your girlfriend. You both need to be open and honest about the way you want to approach parenting. It is not a good idea to say things simply because you think she might want to hear them. If you give her the wrong idea about your level of interest in either choosing to parent yourselves or choosing an adoption plan, there is the possibility of having to agree to something you didn’t want to agree tom in the first place.
You might feel like you need to talk to someone who knows more about the process of pregnancy and what parenting would look like. Getting expert opinions is an excellent idea, because it is so important that you fully understand what parenting entails. If you are leaning more toward making an adoption plan, it is vital that you and your girlfriend meet with an options counselor from an agency who can explain to you what the adoption process might look like.
Before any decisions are made, be sure you have done as much research as possible. It is an overwhelming situation, but you and your girlfriend do not have to go through it alone. You have as much right as the expectant mother to ask for help and guidance when deciding how to approach the pregnancy. There is no need for you to feel like you are not part of the equation. You must be sensitive to your girlfriend’s (or ex-girlfriend’s) needs, but you don’t need to tiptoe around the issue. Many women crave input from the birth father, but never get it. Try to find the balance between walking away because you think she doesn’t need/want your help and pushing her into making a certain decision.
The options counselors at Legacy Adoptions are willing and able to help you discuss the options available to you and your girlfriend. Your counselor will be there for both of you as you sort through every emotion you are feeling. Contact a Legacy options counselor today by phone, chat, or email to begin the discussion.