My Girlfriend is Pregnant

Have you just found out that your girlfriend or girl you had sex with is pregnant? Hearing this may seem unbelievable, or frightening, or both. Perhaps you thought, “It can’t happen to me.” But, it has. And now you’re wondering what to do.

 

Any unwanted or unplanned pregnancy means problems for everyone concerned. But is gets even more complicated if you’re young and unmarried. The most important thing is not to panic. Some difficult decisions will have to be made soon, and you can play an important part in making them. But chances are you’ll have a little time before anything has to be decided. So calm down, and take some time to figure out what’s happening and to get some help so that you can make the right choice.

The important thing to realize is that you’re not alone. You don’t have to face this problem all by yourself. At this point, it will help you to talk over your feelings with someone.

You may be able to turn to your parents, an older brother or sister, your minister or priest, or a counselor at school you trust.

The one person who really needs your help at this time can also help you. That’s your girlfriend. Talk over your feelings with her, and try to work out what you’re going to do about the pregnancy together.

In any pregnancy situation, whether it’s a wanted pregnancy or an unwanted one, the woman becomes the center of attention, and the man is often left out. This is especially true in a pregnancy situation where the couple is young and unmarried. So one of the first questions you might have as you’re sorting out your feelings is whether or not you will be involved in any decision made about your girlfriend’s pregnancy.

Your girlfriend does have the legal right to decide for herself what to do about her pregnancy. She and her parents may want to make this decision without letting you be involved. If that’s the case, you may feel relieved. Or, you may feel angry and hurt. Again, the best thing to do with your feelings is to talk them out with someone.

Let’s suppose for a minute that you feel that the whole thing is a big hassle and all you want to do is split but your girlfriend wants you to stick around and take on your share of responsibility. No one can force you to be helpful and supportive. But you should remember that every sexual relationship brings with it built-in consequences and responsibilities. And, it’s a fact that one of the possible consequences of sex is pregnancy, no matter how good the contraceptive method that’s used. If you share sex with someone, you also share what happens as a result of that sex – like it or not. As we said, no one can force you to act responsibly. But your girlfriend has some problems that must be faced right away, and she will need your help.

As big a hassle as all of this might be for you, it’s probably even worse for her. On top of everything else, her body is going through incredible physical and chemical changes. These changes will affect how she thinks and how she feels. She may feel sick to her stomach, be depressed, feel lonely. Many young unmarried women who find themselves pregnant are afraid that their boyfriends will blame them for the pregnancy, and dump them. They’re insecure and wonder where they stand with the guy.

What can you do to help? If she doesn’t know any more than you do about what to do next, tell her about a tape in this series she can call for some helpful information. It’s called “Am I Pregnant?” You can also offer to go with her when she goes for a pregnancy test, if she hasn’t already had one. And even though it will be hard, if she needs your support you can offer to be with her when she tells her parents.

One of the best things you can do with her is to go for problem pregnancy counseling. Deciding what to do will be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever make. You should get as much information as you can before you decide, so that you make a choice that’s right for you both. Since it’s a choice that you should, hopefully, make together, it’s best that you go to counseling together.

You do have several choices. None of them is easy:

You and your girlfriend may decide to get married and have the baby. But, you chances of staying married are very small. One out of every three marriages in the United States ends in divorce. For people married in their teens, the divorce rate is even higher. Should you manage to stay together, it will probably be rough going. One or both of you may have to leave school to get a job.

But leaving school makes it hard to get a good job, and it’s very expensive to raise a child.

Your girlfriend may decide to raise the child by herself. If she does, there’s a very good chance that she won’t finish high school and won’t be able to get a decent job to support herself and the baby.

You both may decide to put the baby up for adoption. Like all the other choices, this is a hard one to make. If she chooses adoption and you disagree, you can apply through the courts for custody of the child.

Another possibility is to put the baby in a foster home until such time as one or both of you is ready to care for the child.

Still another alternative is to have the pregnancy terminated with an abortion.

Other resources:

For information on teenage pregnancy visit:

http://www.stayteen.org/

Planned Parenthood

State of Florida WIC Website

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.