Pregnancy introduces a whole new list of challenges for any relationship. Of course, when the pregnancy is unplanned, and potentially created outside of a long-term, committed relationship, the complications really add up. As the father, you take on new responsibilities the moment your partner tells you she’s pregnant. Asking the following questions can start you off on the right foot.
1. Are you 100% certain you are pregnant?
It is possible your partner will express a belief she’s pregnant before taking the necessary steps to be 100% sure. A late period does not definitely mean she’s pregnant. Even a positive home pregnancy test result – or two, or three – can be wrong. The only way to know for sure is to have a medical pregnancy test followed by an obstetrical ultrasound. If she has not yet taken these steps, encourage her to do so as soon as possible.
2. What pregnancy options are we willing to consider?
If your partner is indeed pregnant, you essentially have three options for addressing the pregnancy – raising the child, adoption or abortion. Discussing these options with your partner can be difficult. Your personal values and/or hers may immediately rule out one or more paths. Even then, it can help to talk with an impartial third-party. A pregnancy options counselor can help you work through the pros and cons, often at no-charge.
3. What can I do to help you have a healthy pregnancy?
Fathers can play an important role in supporting their partners and contributing to healthy pregnancies. Your partner may need to make some difficult lifestyle changes now that she’s pregnant, including quitting smoking or drinking, improving her diet and reducing stress. Making these changes along with her is one of the best things you can do. You may also offer to accompany her to the many prenatal doctor visits she’ll make in coming months.
4. How and when would you like to tell our families and friends?
This is often a delicate decision, especially if you’re not married, or if you’re in your teens or early twenties. Many young women and men struggle with how to tell their parents they’re pregnant. The key is finding a time and place where everyone can react calmly and patiently talk through questions. Once that hurdle is overcome, you can decide when to make a broader announcement. Many people choose to wait until at least three months into the pregnancy, after which time the likelihood of a miscarriage is greatly reduced.
5. How should we parent our child?
It’s helpful to make some foundational parenting decisions long before your child is born. Will you and the mother raise the child in a household together? Do you have a safe environment in which to raise the child? Is your relationship at a point where you want to consider marriage? In addition to these fundamental questions, you may also want to start thinking through key lifestyle issues that will impact your child, including religious and moral priorities, work and childcare plans, family member involvement and more. You don’t have to make all these decisions at once, but it’s a good idea to start the conversations early.
Your partner will need your support throughout her pregnancy. At Sira in Gainesville, we can help you and your partner consider all of your pregnancy options, make informed choices for the child that’s developing inside of her and access the resources you need. Contact us today at 352-377-4947 to learn more.