Her Feelings, Your Needs
When you get hit with the news that you are going to be a father, it is easy to feel like you are the one with all the problems. But the truth is that the mother of your child is going through everything you are, and more. What she really needs from you is assurance that you will not abandon her. You do not have to marry her to support her through this. You simply should be there for her if she needs you.
Wow! What Do I Do Now?
Sometimes knowing that the mother has a right to choose abortion or to carry her baby to term without your consent can leave you feeling like you have no responsibility for this pregnancy. But you are equally responsible because your involvement helped create the situation.
Talking to her openly is a good idea. In fact, friendly support is important for both of you as she works toward a decision. You need to keep a calm head and concern yourself with her fears, feelings and embarrassment first. Your need to adjust to and understand your role in this pregnancy ought to be dealt with after the mother has come to a decision about what she is going to do, after she has had a chance to express her feelings. You may even want to seek some counseling, just as she has been encouraged to do. Counselors promise a good listening ear and can steer you in the right direction if you need a friend or legal advice about child support and other issues.
Do I Need to Offer Advice?
Not at first. What she needs is a real friend that she can talk to openly. However, do not be offended if that friend is not you at first. Instead, be patient, supportive and willing to help in the decision-making process if and when she needs you.
What About Abortion?
You would be making a mistake to think of abortion as a “quick fix” to your situation. Abortion is not simple. It is a surgical process with real risks.
The Other Options
If the mother decides to give birth to the baby, you will need to talk about the future. Will you help raise the child? Will you help by paying child support as the law requires? Most women do not consider pregnancy reason enough to marry, so if you consider marriage, you will need to ask yourselves if you both love each other enough to get married.
If both of you decide to create an adoption plan for your baby, how will you make it happen? Options Magazine has an excellent section on adoption that can help you answer that question. Adoption can be a positive option for everyone, as both you and your child’s mother can continue your lives and have children later when you are better prepared. There are literally thousands of thoroughly screened and qualified adoptive families in the United States that would be able to provide a good life for your baby.
It is Her Decision!
Finally, even though you may have strong feelings about how you would like to see the mother handle her pregnancy, remember that she has to make her own decision. She is the one who has to live with the consequences of whatever decision she makes. And even though you may have to live with that decision also, you must still consider her feelings and let her make her own decision without undue pressure.
Finally, Be Supportive
Support is one of the most valuable things you can offer the mother of your child. Having an unplanned pregnancy can be a tough and painful situation, but it is your opportunity to live up to your responsibility and see exactly what you are made of. Last, but not least, help her get early prenatal medical care and counseling if she has not already done so.