Making the Right Decision with the Birth Father
You just found out you’re pregnant. Like, today you found out you’re pregnant. You haven’t told anyone yet. But you’re dreading the reaction you might get from the first person to tell: the father. Hopefully he turns out to be a supportive friend, if not boyfriend or husband, that will help you get through the anxieties of unplanned pregnancy. But whether you’ve known your guy for years, or if this conversation will be your first real relationship “talk,” you must be completely honest with him.
Men are known to react in poor judgement, sometimes in hurtful ways, when they find out they have an unplanned baby on the way. Not all men are jerks, but it’s a natural reaction for them to withdraw or act out of character. Men see themselves as providers, and if they aren’t prepared or don’t think they can handle that responsibility, they feel guilty and dismissive. Some will step up to the plate, while others will hit the road. No, you don’t deserve a guy who can’t support you through pregnancy. But be prepared for some anxiety, or emotional retreat when you tell him.
Men like to compartmentalize their life. Women, on the other hand, see everything as it connects and like to think in abstract terms and ideas. For a man, pregnancy is very simple. If you want the baby, you become parents. If you don’t want to be parents, you place the baby for adoption. They will consider the immediate concerns – finances, family, age and stage of the relationship – but men don’t always see all the long-term factors that you may be worried about.
Some men will agree to parenthood even if they’re not ready, because they feel it is their job as protector and provider. But you have to take your feelings into consideration first and foremost. You’re the one who will carry the child, and in the end you’ll be the one who will care for him or her for the first year if you decide that is what you want. However, the father has just the same right (as long as he agrees to be present in the child’s life) to want to keep the child as you do. Be sensitive and listen to his beliefs, because they may surprise you.
If the father wants to be a part of the decision, you should ask him to 1) stay with you through the pregnancy, 2) support you emotionally and financially, 3) be open and honest with important people in your life, such as family and close friends. Regardless of whether you stay together now or after the child is born, the father should support and communicate with you if he wants to make the decision with you. However, he should never make the decision for you.
If you’re having trouble with the birth father talk, you can always ask advice from family members, close friends, or a support team if you’re feeling lost or insecure.