If your girlfriend tells you she’s pregnant, it might be quite a shock for you. One night stands and sex-with-the-ex aside, these steps should help you to cope with a potentially overwhelming situation while supporting your girlfriend through a tough time.
How to React When Your Girlfriend is Pregnant
- Stay calm. This is the most important step. She’s probably just as confused as you are. Your freaking out about this won’t help at all.
- Listen to her. Try not to jump to any conclusions. When she’s finished telling you, summarize the whole thing so that you both know and understand the whole situation.
- Be certain. If it’s gotten to the stage that she’s telling you, she’s probably sure. As a potential parent, it’s also acceptable for you to ask her how she knew, and if she’s taken a test or seen a doctor.
- Take responsibility. In a romantic relationship, the woman has to deal with pregnancy and she also deals with huge emotional and social disturbance depending upon her situation in life. Your support is valuable.
- Consider your position. Are you ready to bring up a child? Is she? Do you love her enough to be with her long-term and raise a child? If she gives you time to think about how involved you want to be, use it. If you have doubts, express them.
- Support her. Whatever she decides to do, don’t make her do it alone. No one should be going through pregnancy, abortion, or adoption alone. This is especially true in cultures where pregnancy can be a social embarrassment for the woman and may lead to extreme action, such as self-harm.
- Know the legalities. Whether you decide to be romantically involved with the mother or not, your legal options and responsibilities will still apply. Familiarize yourself with your rights as a father. A lawyer or a father’s rights organization can help you.
- Ask for help if you need to. Many others have gone through similar situations, and you don’t have to go it alone. Find support among your friends and family. If your girlfriend has sworn you to secrecy, find a confidential service that can provide advice, counseling and support. (See the external links below.)
- Make rational decisions. For example, in some cultures pre-marital pregnancy is frowned upon – peer pressure affects a lot of people’s judgments. Pregnancy is not a good reason to get married.
- Be sensitive to her feelings.
- Realize that this is a big deal – you are taking part in the miracle of creating life.
- Tell your parents, and let her tell her parents – they’ll be pleased to know you’re thinking about it sensibly and that you value their input and trust. They may even be able to give good advice!
- Having a child means a great change in your way of life, don’t take it too lightly.
- Use extreme caution if your family situation or hers is unstable or abusive. In such cases, find another adult you can trust and confide in him or her.
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