You’re shocked to find out that your girlfriend is pregnant. The pregnancy is unexpected, and becoming a dad is the last thing you thought you would have to think about right now. Now what? You have options. Your girlfriend has options. Let’s see what they are.

Know Your Girlfriend’s Options

Your girlfriend is facing what is probably the most difficult decision of her life. You might be wondering what your role is in her options. You have choices, but not about what decision she will make about the pregnancy. Despite that, it’s critical that you make an effort to learn about each of your girlfriend’s pregnancy options and the available resources.

Your girlfriend has three pregnancy options include parenting, abortion, and adoption.

1. Parenting

One choice your girlfriend has have is to continue her pregnancy and parent your child. A trained advocate can provide both of you with helpful community resources to become parents. Parenting is both challenging and rewarding. With the right support, it may be a good option.

2. Abortion

Your girlfriend also has the option to end her pregnancy. An advocate will give you information about the different methods of abortion, so you understand the various abortion procedures and potential risks to your girlfriend’s physical and emotional health.

3. Adoption

A third viable option is your girlfriend can continue her pregnancy and place your baby for adoption. It can help talk with someone who has chosen adoption to answer questions about the experience.

Now that we have discussed your girlfriend’s options let’s look at your options.

You Have Options Too

Your partner isn’t the only one with big decisions to make. As the father, you have life-altering options too when you learn your girlfriend is unexpectedly pregnant. You can:

1. Be supportive.

Your support is vital to your girlfriend’s well-being. It’s a heavy burden on her to know that she is ultimately the one who has to make the final decision about an unplanned pregnancy.

Pro-tip: It might sound helpful to tell your girlfriend that the decision is up to her, and you will just support her in whatever she decides. But in reality, she will probably feel abandoned at a very vulnerable time if you don’t communicate that you’re in this together.

Offer to go with her to the pregnancy clinic. Going with her gives you a chance to meet with an advocate, ask questions, hear information, and make an informed decision together. You will also get the support you deserve as well.

2. Take responsibility and co-parent.

Pregnancy alone is not a good reason to get married, so don’t feel obligated to get married if your girlfriend chooses to continue the pregnancy.

You do have the moral choice to take responsibility as a father and co-parent your child; every child deserves and needs a hands-on father. Taking responsibility means providing for your child financially and emotionally.

3. Get married and parent your child together.

Has your girlfriend decided to continue her pregnancy? Were you already engaged or planning to marry your girlfriend before the pregnancy? If so, getting married might be a good option. This allows you to live as a family and care for your child together.

4. Participate in the adoption process.

If you think that you could never place your child for adoption, you aren’t alone. Many people who are deciding about an unplanned pregnancy dismiss the thought of adoption, but if you and your girlfriend aren’t ready to raise a child, adoption is a loving choice.

You may have heard the phrase, ‘give your child up for adoption,” but that isn’t accurate. When you choose adoption, you aren’t giving your child away. Instead, you are lovingly gifting your child with life and allowing people to come alongside you and your child to help provide him with all he needs to have a quality life.

If you and your girlfriend decide on adoption, participate in the process with her. An advocate can explain the details of adoption to you and answer all your questions, but a few more things to know about adoption include:

  • You and your girlfriend are the ones who choose the adoptive parents.
  • You can choose a closed, open, or partially open adoption, which means you determine how much interaction you want to have with your child after the adoption. Levels of contact can range from not seeing your child at all to being an active part of your child’s life — and everything in-between. You get to choose.

5. Participate in the foster care process.

Do you and your partner feel like you aren’t quite ready to care for a child, but adoption and abortion don’t feel right for you either? Another option you might not realize is available to you is temporary foster care.

Temporary foster care is where your child lives with licensed foster care providers to give you a chance to do whatever you need to do to get equipped for parenting your child. If you aren’t sure if you’re ready to raise your child, it gives you time to consider adoption without pressure.

6. Comfort her through the abortion process.

It’s easy to think that abortion solves your problem, but nothing about abortion is easy. If your girlfriend has decided to end her pregnancy through abortion, she will need comfort afterward.

Your girlfriend will have a sudden hormonal shift, which can be distressing. Many women are surprised by feelings of regret, shame, and sadness after their abortions, and men are also unprepared for feelings of loss after an abortion.

7. Take no responsibility.

Your last option is to ditch out and abandon your girlfriend and child. If this has crossed your mind, think about the pain this choice would cause your girlfriend and child, in addition to you and your family members who would all miss out on a relationship with your child.

Take Your Next Steps With Pregnancy Care Clinic

Women aren’t the only ones who need support when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Men need help too. Pregnancy Care Clinic has judgment-free advocates who can meet with you confidentially and answer your questions — all at no cost. We are open during the Covid-19 crisis, so contact us today for an appointment and get the unbiased support you deserve.