One of the most common misconceptions about unplanned pregnancy is that it only happens to unwed teens. But if you are married, unplanned pregnancy is still just as much of a surprise.
Your partner can be a great source of support during this time, but you first have to make sure that you both are on the same page about how to move forward with your unplanned pregnancy and marriage in a positive, healthy way for your relationship.
To start, here are the four conversations you need to have about an unplanned pregnancy in marriage:
1. Giving the News
Before you can make any plans, you must first decide when and how to tell your spouse you are unexpectedly pregnant. This is rarely an easy topic to discuss, and you will want to consider many things when you have the talk about an unplanned pregnancy in your marriage:
- Find the right time and place – Ideally, you can have this conversation in person and alone, when neither of you are busy or distracted.
- Don’t assign blame – You two are partners in your life and your pregnancy. Focus the discussion on what you are going to do moving forward.
- Be honest about what you want – Have you talked about having children? Has your pregnancy changed your mind one way or the other? Whatever your initial reaction is about your pregnancy, don’t be afraid to voice that.
- Let him process his feelings – You’ve likely already had some time to cope with the news of your pregnancy, and your spouse will need time as well. After his initial reaction passes, you will be able to discuss how you both feel about it.
Not only will you have to give the news to your spouse, but the two of you will need to talk about how to tell other people. Will you announce the pregnancy publicly? If so, when? Do you only want to tell family and close friends? These decisions should be made with both of you involved to ensure you do the best thing for your unplanned pregnancy and your marriage.
2. Your Options
You and your spouse may or may not have different ideas about what to do about your unplanned pregnancy in marriage. If you are on the same page, then you can begin planning what to do next. Whether you choose adoption, abortion, or parenting, there are still more conversations to have and questions to figure out.
If you disagree about what to do next, you may want to seek the help of a professional. An unplanned pregnancy — especially an unplanned pregnancy in marriage — is a significant life event with a great deal of emotion involved, and a counselor can help you through a potentially tumultuous time.
As you talk about your unplanned pregnancy options, do not feel pressured to make a decision that you know is not right for you. Contact a local pregnancy center to figure out what alternatives may be available to you.
Your finances will also play a role in what you decide to do about your pregnancy. If you decide to raise your baby, you will need to make plans for the new addition to the family. Will one of you work while the other stays home with the baby? If you both work, what will your plans for childcare be? What will you need to buy before the baby arrives?
Raising a child is an investment not just physically and emotionally but financially, as well. As you prepare for your next steps, you may benefit from seeking the help of a financial consultant.
4. Your Relationship
A pregnancy, especially a first pregnancy, can dramatically change the nature of a relationship. If you decide to raise your baby, you can expect to notice differences in many areas of your life and marriage, such as:
- Time together – If you have a new baby in the home, then you will have less time to spend with just the two of you. Talk about ways you can make time for one another while prioritizing your baby’s needs.
- Lifestyle – Raising a baby leaves significantly less time for socializing, activities, and hobbies. Talk with your spouse to make sure you are both prepared for the upcoming life change.
- Responsibilities – When it comes to childcare and household chores, it is best to discuss each partner’s role in the family before the baby arrives.
You and your spouse will have plenty of conversations over the course of your unplanned pregnancy in marriage, but these four are some of the most important ones to have in the beginning stages. By talking through these important issues with your partner, you can be sure that you start this journey side by side.
Keep in mind: when you are married, unplanned pregnancy does not necessarily mean you have to raise your child. Many expectant parents decide to place their babies for adoption — either because they are not ready to be parents or because they cannot provide the life they wish for their child. Others choose to terminate the pregnancy. Whatever path you and your partner choose, it’s important that you do it together.