The unexpected has happened: your girlfriend just told you that she is pregnant. How are you supposed to respond? What are you going to do next? The announcement of an unplanned pregnancy can be frightening, but you are not alone. If you are not sure about what to say, here are some helpful tips to get you through the initial shock.
When the Conversation Is Started
The first conversation may already be over, but you should expect the topic to be brought up again. Pregnancy is a major life event and will likely take more than one conversation to prepare for the next steps. When the pregnancy is brought up again, these simple strategies can make a huge difference:
Listen – This sounds simple but can be very difficult when emotions are involved. When your girlfriend brings up the pregnancy again, don’t interrupt. Give her your full attention and wait until she has expressed her thoughts before you give feedback. When she is talking, show your girlfriend that you care about her by practicing active listening skills like eye contact and an open posture (i.e. uncrossed arms, leaning forward).
Show Empathy – Empathy involves reflecting what your girlfriend is saying. This requires you to hear the overall message behind her words, not just the actual words. You can check in with your girlfriend by uses phrases like, “What I hear you saying is…” or “If I understand correctly, I think you feel…” This will let your girlfriend know that you are trying to understand how she feels. This will also help you make sure you are accurately seeing her perspective. Showing empathy can help pave the way for mutual care and understanding.
Responding to Unexpected Pregnancy
While it is important for your girlfriend to express her thoughts and feelings, it is equally as important for you to share your thoughts and feelings as well. When you are ready to share with your girlfriend, remember to do the following:
Stay Calm – The announcement of an unexpected pregnancy can produce strong emotions like fear, confusion, anger, and frustration. It’s normal to feel that way, but it is not helpful to let those emotions steer your conversations and decisions. When talking about the pregnancy with your girlfriend, first take a deep breath. Take the time to gather your thoughts and sort through how you are really feeling. Calm communication will be very important, so make sure to give yourself the time you need before you react.
Communicate Often – Regardless of how you decide to move forward with the pregnancy, it will be important to continue to communicate with your girlfriend. Most likely the pregnancy will come up often as you begin to navigate the next steps together. If you have disagreements along the way, aim to communicate cooperatively and listen appreciatively to your respective opinions. This means that you are willing to learn from each other, not win the argument.
Wondering where to go from here? At Pregnancy Care Clinic, we can help you walk through the options so you and your girlfriend can make the best decision for your situation. If you are ready to learn more, call us at (619) 442-4357 or fill out a contact form to get in touch with one of our helpful advocates.