The news came out of the blue. She’s pregnant, and you didn’t plan for this. She just told you, and now that the initial shock has dissipated, you may feel conflicting and scary emotions. An unexpected pregnancy can definitely be extremely daunting for both partners, including you. But she needs you to be there for her and to take responsibility. Did you know that many women feel a lack of partner support and as a consequence, decide to have an abortion that they later regret? The thing is, a lack of support when facing an unexpected pregnancy is not necessarily something straightforward. It’s not just direct threats or violence. By your words and behavior, you have the power to show not only support but also love and respect for your partner.
Words And Behaviors That May Scare Her
- A lack of presence. Sometimes, men vanish into thin after learning about an unexpected pregnancy. Fear creeps in and they feel like they need space to process the information. The downside is that their partners may start to believe that they simply can’t count on them. As a result, it may exacerbate the partner’s own fears. If you are tempted to flee for whatever reason, you may want to ask your partner for a little bit of time to process the information, and she may very well allow you to do so. But remember that this pregnancy is about both of you.
- Telling your partner “your body, your choice, you decide”. Letting her choose for herself is not a bad thing in itself, but most women need to know that their partner cares and supports them. By asking her to choose alone, she may believe that you don’t have a preference regarding the pregnancy or that you don’t care enough to think about it too much.
- Saying “I’m not sure we will make it if you keep the baby”. An unexpected pregnancy has the potential to call everything into question concerning your life and your relationship. You might face a great deal of doubt, especially if your relationship is shaky. Will you be able to make it? Or will this baby be too much to handle? It’s perfectly normal to not know and to feel scared. However, being clear in your intentions and the way you formulate them may make a great difference in her own reaction. You may not know what the future holds, but you have the ability to decide what you want to fight for.
- Guilt-tripping her by saying things like “you must have forgotten to take your birth control pill, so it’s your fault”. She might indeed have forgotten, but in all likelihood, you both decided to have sex. Therefore, you are both responsible for this pregnancy. Saying those types of things, even jokingly, may cause great harm and add unnecessary pressure to the situation.
What She Needs From You When Facing An Unexpected Pregnancy
So how should you react to an unplanned pregnancy? First, understand that your partner probably feels the same strong emotions as you. Take the time to listen to her and show clear support. It’s not wrong to express your vulnerability, but do not say “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure” or “you choose”. Instead, say something such as “I may feel scared right now, but I make the decision to be there for you because I love you. We will do our best to make it together”.
Additionally, try to put things into perspective and to ask yourself what really scares you. Is it just the pregnancy or something deeper? In the end, you don’t have to have all the answers, and that’s alright. If you want to get support, you can reach out to us. Lifeline has a program called DadLine that is specifically designed for current and expectant dads. You can schedule an appointment right now with one of our fatherhood mentors, and we will be glad to help! You don’t have to face this alone.