If your girlfriend is facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may also be dealing with some difficult emotions.
What does this mean for your relationship? How will it affect your own future?
The good news is that you can have a positive impact on this situation, and help is available. Mosaic Health offers free services to help women and men make healthy choices and access the resources they need during this challenging time.
Here are a few helpful ways for men to respond to an unplanned pregnancy.
Talk to Your Girlfriend
It’s natural to worry about how your girlfriend’s pregnancy will affect you. But remember, it’s not all about you.
After all, your baby is growing inside her body, so this pregnancy will affect her physically as well as emotionally.
- Ask how she’s feeling.
- Give her time to express her emotions to you if she wishes.
- Be open-minded and non-judgmental when talking about her pregnancy decision.
- Talk to your own parents and hers. Listen calmly to their reactions and answer all of their questions truthfully.
Understand Her Pregnancy Options
Although you cannot legally force your girlfriend to have an abortion, her pregnancy decision may involve certain rights and responsibilities on your part. It’s important for both of you to be informed about her pregnancy options.
- Parenting. If you plan to marry or live with your girlfriend, you’ll need a plan for supporting your new family financially, finding a place to live and providing other necessities. If you will be living separately, talk about how much time each parent will spend with your child, and what financial responsibilities each parent will take on.
- Adoption. In most circumstances, Illinois law requires the birth mother and birth father to consent before a child may be placed for adoption. You and your girlfriend will want to learn about different types of adoption, such as open or confidential.
- Abortion. Remember, you may not force your girlfriend to have an abortion, but she may ask for your opinion. If she is considering this option, it’s important to gather as much medically accurate information, including risks, as possible. You’ll also want to learn about how abortion can affect men.
If your girlfriend chooses to continue her pregnancy, decide how much you’ll be involved in this chapter of your lives. Will you go with her to doctor’s appointments? Do you want to be present when your child is born?
Get Tested for STDs
You and your girlfriend can both visit Mosaic for free testing and treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
We also provide a risk assessment and doctor referrals.
Untreated STIs/STDs can cause lifelong health issues for men and women. If your girlfriend has an STI, it may increase the risk of complications if she has an abortion.
Plan Ahead for Fatherhood
Research shows that fathers can have a positive influence on their kids even if they don’t live in the same household. Spending quality time with your child supports his or her academic, behavioral, emotional and social well-being. Even teen dads can be just as emotionally attached to their children as older dads.
- Create a plan. As noted above, decide whether you will continue your relationship with your child’s mother. Will you get married or live together? Or will you live separately?
- Think about how much time you’ll be able to spend with your child after your girlfriend gives birth. Would she be willing to let your child visit you on weekends or other occasions to build a relationship with you?
- Take a look at your financial situation and your ability to contribute to the cost of child-rearing. Make arrangements to finish your education and finding suitable employment if necessary. You may be required to pay child support if your child lives with his or her mom.
- Sign up for a parenting class. Mosaic Health offers free childbirth and parenting classes, and new dads are welcome to register! Our classes will let you know what to expect both during and after your girlfriend’s pregnancy. You’ll also learn important parenting topics such as feeding, safety and how to use a car seat properly.
Are you not sure how to respond to your girlfriend’s pregnancy?
Contact Mosaic right away. We’re here to provide the support you need during this time in your life.