How to be there for your girl and your baby.
Your heart has just stopped beating. The world has flipped off its axis. You think you may be either suffering a heart attack or hallucinating. Please let this be a dream. Your girlfriend texted that she is pregnant. Your life is about to change. Read on to find what to do if your girlfriend is pregnant.
Listen, you’re not the first man to encounter an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the United States were unintended (1). You can feel your fight or flight response kicking in. But truly, the best way to handle this is to breathe, relax, and research. You and your partner need to be calm so you can make an informed decision.
There are many different ways to respond to this situation. Your first reaction may be to consider this the end of the world. Give yourself a moment to panic; life as you know it is going to change forever, and you have big decisions to make. But also know that you have options.
Most expectant fathers experience a range of emotions. These vary from determination to be a good father, to panic and anger... sometimes within the span of a minute. As the father of the baby, you are likely reliving the past, wishing you had prevented this unexpected pregnancy. But beating yourself up about it is not going to change it. You have to be a solid support for your girl, especially in the next few days.
Fluctuating emotions aside, the very best thing you can do in this difficult time is to be supportive of the expectant mother. The first step of this process is to listen to your girlfriend. As a male, your knee-jerk reaction is going to be to offer up all kinds of solutions, but that is not your job. From the moment she missed her period, you can pretty well bet her mind has not stopped racing. The best thing for you to do in this moment is to extend a comforting hand and listen.
In the end, you both are going to have to make a decision. You cannot simply be passive, letting your girlfriend decide what to do next. You are the father of the child and you have just as much responsibility for this new life. If you want to keep the baby, man up and tell her. Even if this opinion conflicts with her own, at least you can both become aware of where you stand.
While you’re discussing your options, the first thing you should do is research. The most important thing to do is to gather accurate information.
If you decide you can’t keep the baby, abortion is not the only option. Adoption specialists will give you plenty of resources and support through the process. A simple search in Google will reveal the available adoption consultants in your area.
If your reasons for not keeping the baby are financial, it’s a good idea to consider alternate resources. It’s no secret that children are expensive, but there are many programs that exist to help (2). Visiting a pregnancy clinic will help you find these resources. “Pregnancy Resource Centers offer counseling, medical services and may be able to help you secure local financial resources in your community” (3). These community resources can help support you through your girlfriend’s early pregnancy and beyond. Pregnancy clinics are also completely confidential and do not require insurance.
Want more info about financial programs?
Check out our article about financial resources.
If nothing else, you may find that visiting a pregnancy clinic brings you peace of mind. You will have specialists there to provide you support in a time where you may feel absolutely lost.
There, your girlfriend can take one of the free urine pregnancy tests to verify her pregnancy. The pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) will register on the test, confirming the pregnancy (4). The staff there will help guide you through your pregnancy options. Their insight will help you determine the important questions to consider.
You should go to this prenatal visit with your girlfriend. Even if personal questions about your girlfriend’s last period make you squirm, your support is essential. You may find that the pregnancy clinic offers great resources for young fathers, as well.
The clinic will also provide a free ultrasound, a great resource for new parents. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time is an experience like none other. The ultrasound is an important step to take before you make your final decision. There are also classes parents can attend throughout the pregnancy. Attending these classes, either in-person or online, earns you vouchers. You then apply these vouchers to mom and baby items, like diapers, outfits, and other good things. The courses you take will help supply you with the information you need to determine your next steps with confidence.
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As you come to a final decision, consider every point of view, even that of your unborn child. You and your girlfriend have created a precious life together, a life that is now your responsibility as a couple. There are resources readily available for you to use, from financial resources to support groups.
You are not alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and you have access to that village. This may be one of the hardest things you have had to do. But it is a decision only you and your girl can make. So stand tall, take a deep breath, and get ready to be the strongest you have ever been, for your girl and for your baby.
You’ve got this.
Worried about how to break the news?
“How to tell your parents your girlfriend is pregnant”
1. Guttmacher Institute. (2019, January). Unintended Pregnancy in the United States.
2. Go Fund Me. (2021, November 9). Financial Help for Pregnant Women: Three Ways to Get Assistance. https://www.gofundme.com/c/blog/financial-help-pregnant-women
3. American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Financial Help for Pregnant Women. https://americanpregnancy.org/options-for-unplanned-pregnancy/financial-help-for-pregnant-women/
4. American Pregnancy Association. (2021). What is HCG? https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/hcg-levels/