When you are in a committed relationship, planning your pregnancy announcement can be exciting and fun. However, if you were not planning to become pregnant, this moment can turn into a nerve-wracking experience. We understand that it can be scary to find out you are pregnant unexpectedly – and even scarier to discuss it with your partner. Here is some advice to help you through the days ahead as well as some ways that Your Choices Randolph can provide both you and your partner or support person with helpful resources.
You just discovered you are pregnant. It is totally normal to go through a rollercoaster ride of emotions. You may be excited, fearful, surprised, anxious, angry…
Before you start planning all the different ways to break the news of your pregnancy, it is a good idea to get confirmation that you are pregnant and that it is a viable pregnancy. At Your Choices Randolph, we offer free services that can provide you with valuable information about your pregnancy that will help prepare you for the conversation.
First, you can come to our center for a free, confidential, and highly accurate pregnancy test. It may come as a surprise, but many women take pregnancy tests incorrectly and get inaccurate results. Our staff are available to process the results of the test and answer any questions you might have.
If you do get a positive pregnancy test result at our center, you may also qualify for a free limited obstetrical ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy is viable. This procedure is simple and safe, and it allows you to learn essential information about your pregnancy such as your estimated due date and how far along you are. Those details will help you with the next step…the plan.
If your pregnancy test and ultrasound come back positive, it can be tempting to share the news with your partner, close friends, or family. One thing is for sure - before you share the news with the father of your baby, you should give yourself time for introspection and to explore how you are feeling.
One of the best ways to come to terms with your own thoughts is to write them down on paper. When you write something down, your mind must slow down and think about each word. Your thoughts do not get a chance to “run away,” and its easier to keep track of all the feelings in your head and heart. This is a good way to consider and process all your feelings and ideas.
Understand Your Options
It is important that you understand all your options early in the process. Many women have misconceptions about the different pregnancy options available. That is why it is important to get the truth about every option before you make any decisions you cannot take back or commit to something with your partner before you have time to process completely. Wait for the initial shock to pass before you pass on any information! Chances are your thoughts and feelings will change a hundred times before you “land.”
Take the Time to Plan What You Are Going to Say.
If the news you are pregnant will be good news for your boyfriend, it certainly will make it easier to tell him. You can plan a fun way to surprise him with the news.
However, if this pregnancy was unplanned, you may be apprehensive about his possible reaction. This is understandable and even expected. It is always best to go into what could be a difficult conversation with a plan.
First, take the time to reflect on your goals for your discussion. Before you ask your boyfriend for his support, try to think specifically about what you are hoping/expecting from him. The problem with asking for support is that it can mean different things to different people. You (and he) need clarity.
Are you wanting:
· Emotional support: your partner to walk through this with you? Maybe even a deeper/different commitment?
· Financial support: the promise of monetary assistance to raise your baby?
· Practical support: help with day-to-day care of your baby?
After you understand your goals, then take the time to plan what you will say as this will build your confidence.
Choosing the right words can make all the difference. Eliminate any negative phrases such as “bad news” or “don’t be upset” from your discussion. Use pronouns such as “we” and “us” rather than “I” or “me.”
Finally, be honest and straightforward about your own feelings and plans and don’t try too hard to hide your emotions. In short…don’t expect him to read your mind - say what you mean and mean what you say.
Timing is as important as what you say!
Ask yourself these questions:
Would you like to tell the father of your baby before or after you have told your parents?
Would you like him to be with you when you tell your parents?
What about the father of your baby coming to your pregnancy center appointment with you?
Regardless of the above answers, make sure you find a time where you will not be distracted or interrupted. Never have hard conversations when you are tired or at a point of transition. What is a point of transition? Those times when you are just waking up, leaving for work, coming home from work, or heading to bed.
We recommend giving the news in a comfortable and familiar setting, such as at home or another private space. Do not bring it up when you are out in public, like at a restaurant or cafe. This can make the situation more uncomfortable for both of you.
Respect His Reaction
This may be a lot for the father of your baby to take in. Make sure to allow him time to process what you have just told him and understand everyone processes information differently. He will need this whether this is good news or difficult news for him. He might be confused, angry, scared, or even excited. Give him time to work through his own thoughts and feelings before you discuss how you both want to proceed.
His response can vary from being calm (you wondering if he has even heard what you have just said) to him blurting out something insensitive, and sometimes not even believing you…there is no typical reaction. These are all normal responses to shock. Its important in this stage to be a good listener, and to allow him to be open with you.
Try to be understanding. Remember, you have probably been through some of the same feelings yourself over the past few days.
This is not a one and done conversation.
Finally, this is not a one and done conversation. Think of this as just the beginning of an ongoing conversation. Make a date to talk the next day when he has had a chance to process the news.
Handle Conflict Healthily
Things might become difficult to deal with if his reaction is not what you were hoping for expecting. You might be disappointed to find out that he is not supportive of the pregnancy.
A few suggestions:
Listen to his reasons. Listen to understand, not to be understood.
Try to determine the cause of his reaction. Is he worried about finances? Worried about the life change? Once you understand then you can work together to make a plan.
If your boyfriend just does not want a baby and you do, you need to express your feelings. You can say something like, “I understand your feelings, but I plan to have this baby. Please know that the door is open to continue this conversation should you desire to support my decision.”
If things are getting heated… call a time out. It is amazing how 20 minutes apart may bring back peace and order.
If you do not initially get the reaction you were hoping for you will likely be upset. Try saying, “I understand that you’re surprised, and I am emotional. Can we take some time to think and try talking about this again?”
If you do not see eye to eye, seek information and advice from a trusted, experienced source before making a rash or final decision.
You will need to make many more decisions in the coming weeks and months. If you need help with these choices or you’re not sure where to turn, Your Choices Randolph is here for you. We offer free help, education, and support for all women and couples facing a pregnancy decision. We even offer special services to help fathers decide on their role in the pregnancy.
For more information, call or text us today at 366-629-9988 to schedule a free appointment.
Written by our Client Services Director, LaWanda Williams.