‘I’m pregnant’- she said. ‘She’s just pranking me’- you thought. You wanted to laugh it off, but to your utter shock, she was serious. What does she mean she’s pregnant? How did that happen? You aren’t ready to be a father yet (or yet again!). What do you do now?
Your thoughts start running wild, making you feel paralyzed by anxiety. It doesn’t really matter if it was just a fling or you’re in a committed relationship or even happily married with the expectant mother; an unplanned pregnancy might come as a shock.
The pregnancy announcement might feel like it will end your life as you know it. But the good news is even though you feel clueless and stressed at that moment. This is not the end of the world. There is more than one way to deal with an unexpected pregnancy without letting it ruin your life.
In this article, we’re going to help unprepared expectant dads like you find ways to deal with an unexpected pregnancy.
Options for Unexpected Pregnancy
According to a United Nations Population Fund report, nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. There are 3 options you can explore to deal with this unplanned pregnancy. Before you make up your mind, have an honest conversation with the baby mother.
Even though you aren’t ready for a child right now, you might feel like keeping the baby and choosing parenthood anyway. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen, right? But given the responsibilities and challenges that come with parenting, you shouldn’t take this decision lightly.
Also, the baby mama has to be okay with this decision as well. If both of you think you’re physically, mentally and financially prepared to welcome a baby, go for it.
Give The Baby Up For Adoption
The baby needs a loving, stable home to have the best possible life. If one or both of you aren’t ready to have a baby right now, there’s also the option to place the baby for adoption. There are adoption agencies that can help you make an adoption plan and find a good adoptive family for your child.
Things can get complicated if you and the mother don’t want the same thing. You might not want to give the baby up, but she does, or vice versa. Check state laws on adoption and know that you have legal rights as a father.
Say you had a one-night stand or a fling and don’t really know the baby’s mother that well. Or maybe you’re in a relationship or even married, but it’s not a good time to have a baby. Maybe you already have kids and can’t financially afford to welcome another one.
In this situation, maybe terminating the pregnancy seems like the best course of action for you. This will be a very sensitive discussion with the baby’s mom, so take it easy. She may not want a termination.
So, if she wants to keep the baby but you don’t, you shouldn’t push her to terminate the pregnancy. But what if you want her to keep the baby, but she won’t? Well, when it comes to terminating the pregnancy, there’s not much you can do. The mother can terminate the pregnancy without your consent, unfortunately.
Tips for Handling an Unplanned Pregnancy
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. The best way to deal with it is to have an open mind and see things from the mother’s perspective before making a final decision.
Let’s talk about the tips on handling an unexpected pregnancy in a way that works for the 3 of you.
Take Some Time Before You Respond
Chances are the news has caught you off guard. You’re feeling angry and worried about what this means for your future. You have no clue what to say or what to do. Even though you feel rattled to the core (and rightfully so ), blaming or taking your anger out on her should be the last thing you want to do.
It’s a good idea to take a day or two to calm yourself down and then talk to your partner or the woman who’s carrying your child. Tell her that you’d love to talk about the pregnancy, but not right now. You need some time to process the news.
Find a Way to Work as a Team
Once you’ve calmed down, it’s time to have an honest and open conversation with the mother. She’s on the same boat as you and might be panicking too. Try to be supportive and empathetic towards her.
Ask her how she’s feeling and what she wants to do about the pregnancy. You might not agree with her decision. What she wants to do might even sound downright selfish. But you have to understand that she’s dealing with the most significant reproductive choice of her life.
Give her time and let her know that she has your support. Working as a team can be really helpful when you’re trying to find a solution that would work for you and your child. Just remember that you’re in this together even if you aren’t in a committed relationship.
Discuss Your options
You need to understand what unplanned pregnancy options you have and figure out which one would work for you the best.
You can consider parenthood, adoption, or abortion based on your situation. You need to ask yourself if you can financially support the mother to raise the baby, marry her (if you aren’t married already) or co-parent the kid without getting married.
If you don’t feel ready to take on responsibility this big yet, be honest and let the expectant mother know. If she doesn’t want to terminate the pregnancy, don’t push her and respect her decision.
At the end of the day, the baby’s mother will have the ultimate decision-making power when it comes to terminating the pregnancy (as she’s the one carrying the baby, and this pregnancy will affect her more in many ways).
If you decide to give the baby up for adoption, make sure you’ve done your research and know the adoption laws in your state. Like it or not, you are a 50% parent to that baby. Try to do right by the baby and the baby’s mother.
Don’t Bottle up Your Emotions
This is a lot to take in. You are making a major life decision while trying to be supportive and involved in a pregnancy that you weren’t even expecting. Allow yourself to feel and express your emotions as they come.
Talk to a friend, your partner, or a therapist. Take as much help as you need, gather as much information as you can, learn about your options, and trust your gut. Just like the mother of your child, you need all the support you can get, too.
If you do decide to keep the baby, make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Babies are adorable, and while that’s a good enough reason to welcome them into your life, they do come with lots of challenges and responsibilities.
Only go for this option if you’re 100% certain about your commitment to raising a baby, even though it was an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. Be ready to commit and get involved in the pregnancy even if you and the mom are not in a relationship.
Make Necessary Changes
If you decide to keep the baby, be willing to step up and make the necessary changes to welcome the baby. If it means taking on extra shifts at work, taking a semester off of college, setting up a support network, or working on your relationship with the baby mama, do it for the baby.
Instead of considering the situation a disaster, try making the best of it. Let it be a learning experience for you. Take precautions and use multiple forms of birth control to avoid situations like this in the future.
An unplanned pregnancy can be pretty overwhelming and confusing for someone who wasn’t expecting to be a dad yet. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Get involved, talk to a doctor, listen to the mother, make her feel heard, and pour your heart out.
Work together to figure out what works best for you and your partner or baby’s mother.