When an unplanned pregnancy happens, a lot of the focus is often on how the woman is feeling, but men are affected by crisis pregnancy too. Even if you have a good relationship with the pregnant woman, you may be shocked and upset or feel that you don’t know where to turn for support or information. Zoe’s Place is here for both men and women experiencing this crisis. Men sometimes feel that they have to bury their own feelings to be a strong support for their partner. You may also be worried about how you will cope as a father, how you will manage financially or how the baby will affect your relationship with the baby’s mother.
Common feelings that you may have include:
- concern for your partner’s wellbeing
- frustration or anger if your partner is blaming you
- concern about how this decision may affect your relationship
- guilt or regret about the pregnancy and/or abortion
- reluctance to share your own feelings in order to appear strong or to avoid influencing her decision
- anger about the decision
- a loss of control over the situation
- confusion about what to say or do to show your support.
All of these feelings are normal, but it is important to seek support to manage your feelings and to find strategies to help yourself. Zoe’s Place offers individual pregnancy counselling, as well as for couples.
She’s told me the news. What should I do next?
Crisis pregnancy counselling is not just for women. If you have issues or questions around a pregnancy, such as financial worries or questions about parenthood, adoption or abortion, an appointment with a counsellor at Zoe’s Place can help you get through the difficult phase.
- Stay Calm – she needs your support now more than ever. She may be carrying the baby, but you are BOTH in this situation together so don’t bail on her! The more you run from the situation, the harder it becomes to think and act clearly.
- Listen without Pressuring – this situation involves more than just you, and applying pressure will only push her away. Listen respectfully and work together as a team.
- Talk About It – not only with each other, but prepare to talk with parents and others close to the situation. Hiding the news from people who can genuinely help you only increases the stress.
- Gather All The Facts – get all the information about all your options so you can make the best decision for both of you.
- Express Yourself Honestly – It’s normal to have feelings of anger, frustration and fear. But make sure she knows she is not alone, and that your feelings are about the situation, not about her personally.
I’m not in a relationship with the woman anymore. Where does that leave me?
If your relationship with the pregnant woman is difficult, or you are not together you may feel shut out. You may disagree with her about what to do next. You may also have questions about where you stand and what your rights are as a father. This is a decision which may require a lot of support from you and you may be confused about what to do or say. An unplanned pregnancy can bring up different issues for each of you and place a strain on your relationship. Zoe’s Place is here to help you negotiate your relationship.
I don’t agree with her decision. What now?
No one can be completely sure how they will react to an unplanned pregnancy until faced with it themselves. Some women will have a particular stance that changes once they are in the situation themselves. Your partner may choose an option that will surprise you both.
Your partner may make a decision that you do not agree with and which you feel you can’t support. If this is the case, it is important not to try to change her mind. Let her know that you respect her decision, even if you don’t agree with it.
Men may experience a range of emotions in response to their partner’s decision about their unplanned pregnancy. Even if you strongly disagree or have moral objections to her decision, take time to think about the reasons for her choice. A sense of loss or disappointment may eventually lead to acceptance. Women choose abortion for a variety of reasons and based on their judgement as to what is the best option for them. Other women may choose to continue a pregnancy as they can’t bring themselves to have an abortion. Each pregnancy will be unique in terms of the circumstances of a woman’s life.
If you decide that you cannot support her decision, let her know what you can and can’t offer. For example, if she chooses to continue the pregnancy, and you feel you cannot be there for her, let her know she will be parenting on her own. However, you may still have financial responsibilities regarding the child. The best decision will be based on accurate information and reached in an environment of trust.