Unplanned pregnancies can feel incredibly overwhelming, even if you’re not the one carrying the baby. If you weren’t expecting your partner to show you a positive pregnancy test, a lot is going through your head — how did this happen? Am I ready to be a father? Are we always going to be together? Can we afford a baby? What’s going to happen now?
Those are all valid and important questions, but before you tackle them with your partner, take a moment and catch your breath. This feels scary and impossible, but countless other men have been where you are right now. And they’ve all made it to the other side of an unplanned pregnancy. Today, we’re here to assure you that this is not the end of the world. This is the beginning of your child’s life and there is help available for you and your girlfriend to manage all the factors now at play. But first, spend some time processing…
Process Your Feelings
A lot of thoughts are flying through your head right now—avoid bottling up your emotions. Bottling up your emotion can cloud your judgment and make it harder to clearly think through possible next steps for each of you.
Instead, spend some time either alone or with a trusted friend talking things through. It’s helpful to figure out some of your preliminary thoughts and feelings before processing with your partner. We encourage you to find someone who's experienced something similar like a family member, counselor, or long-time friend who can hear what you have to say open handedly and offer a listening ear. You may not be ready for advice, but it’s important to feel validated in your feelings and concerns.
If you live with your parents, be sure to tell them; this may be one of the hardest conversations you’ve ever had, but it’s an important one to have. This pregnancy represents an addition to their family and a huge change in your life. Though things may get tense, they may be the best people to help you figure things out and excellent sounding boards in the coming days and weeks.
We also encourage you to spend time in prayer. For both people who do and do not believe in God, prayer can feel like a natural and needed next step during this stressful time. Let the Lord know how you feel and what you’re thinking and ask for his wisdom and guidance.
This can feel lonely, but you’re not alone.
Temper Negative Emotions
Initially, you may have had a large and negative response upon hearing the pregnancy news, but avoid negative outbursts if possible. While you and your girlfriend may continue to call and text each other, take some time apart to feel and address any negative emotions alone, with a friend, or write them down. In an emotionally fraught situation, angry and stressful outbursts can make things worse. You may say things you don’t mean and later regret, so wait until you’re calm to reconnect and have a meaningful dialogue—just don’t ignore her or wait too long since that may cause additional tensions.
Support Your Partner
You’re worried, but imagine how much more frightened your partner might be, even if she’s putting on a brave face. After hearing the news of the pregnancy and processing things, meet with her and offer support. She may have strong feelings about what she thinks next steps should be, but be open to her ideas and share your own. The reality is, this is a very emotional time. Even a week after finding out she’s pregnant, you may not be in agreement over the best things to do. Be patient with each other and stay in open conversation.
This would be a good time to invest in each other a bit more; go on small, casual dates and focus your attention on talking about neutral things aside from the pregnancy to help take the pressure off so you can be more refreshed to dig into the harder conversations.
If your relationship is strained and dates feel like a bad idea, focus instead on being thoughtful about when and how you talk about the pregnancy. Conversations in private may turn sour, but inviting some family members who can keep a level head may encourage kindness and patience during this time.
Don’t Try to Make Decisions Alone
The reality is that you have a lot of feelings to wade through but also a decision to make: What will your future look like? That’s a huge decision.
Maybe you and your girlfriend are immediately on the same page or maybe you have huge differences of approach. If you’re struggling to agree on next steps, invite a few trusted people in to help make the decision with you.
Think of people who’ve been there for you individually or as a couple and are wise. Sit them down to share where you’re both at and ask them to help you see things in different ways or offer fresh insights. When thinking of your relationship, you may end up together or broken apart. That may be a helpful starting point as you figure out next steps for the pregnancy. For instance, if you decide to stay together, you may choose to move in or get married and in that case, the idea of raising a baby together may feel more feasible.
When it comes to the baby, there are options:
All of these decisions represent big changes and plenty of change so be open to getting information and exploring various options fully. Having loving and thoughtful people in your corner can help you find and be confident in your right next step.
While you’re not the one who’s actually pregnant, you still have a say in what happens as the baby’s parent. Be open and honest about what you think and how you feel. The truth is, there may not be a single right decision for you and your partner, so be open to the fact that several options may work for you both. As much as possible, make sure the choice you make is one you’re both aligned on.
At The Source, we have decision counselors available to help both you and your girlfriend make the decision that’s right for you. Our professional and licensed counselors can assess your unique situation, offer important insights, and help identify resources to support you and your family. Click the button below to connect with a member of our team virtually or in person.