Coming to terms with the thought “My teenage girlfriend is pregnant” might feel impossible. As a teen yourself, this is the last thing you wanted. But unfortunately, that’s the nature of unplanned pregnancies.
Whether you’ve been with your girlfriend for a couple of weeks or couple of years, as the birth father of her baby, you should make an effort to be there for her. It took both of you to get into this situation, so you should get out of it the same way.
You might be thinking “My teenage girlfriend is pregnant, what do I do?” It’s understandable to feel this way, but this situation doesn’t have to bring your life to a halt. There are options available to you both. It’s important that you are both aware of these options and that you thoroughly discuss them together before making a decision.
Continue reading below for five tips on how you can support your pregnant girlfriend, or reach out to an adoption professional today to get immediate support.
1. Take Some Time to Process the News
Finding out that your teenage girlfriend is pregnant with your child is a lot to take in. Knowing what to do might feel impossible. You might be feeling scared, anxious or angry with yourself and maybe even her.
No matter how you’re feeling, don’t take out your emotions on her. You two got into this situation together. Take a deep breath, and work together to figure out the best path forward.
It’s easy to react irrationally in situations like these. You may have gotten angry with her after learning of the unplanned pregnancy and said things you didn’t mean. Keep in mind, that she is probably just as scared as you are, if not more. After all, she’s the one that’s pregnant and may potentially go through childbirth.
If you reacted negatively, take the time to apologize to her. Take responsibility for your actions and work with her to figure out what to do about your situation.
2. Realize That This Affects Both of You
When you find out about you and your girlfriend’s unplanned pregnancy, it’s easy to start spiraling about how you and your life will be affected. “My teenage girlfriend is pregnant, now I can’t go to college” “How will I support a child?” These are among the many thoughts that might be raising through your head.
It’s normal to go through this thought process, but keep in mind that your girlfriend is the one who’s pregnant and that she will be affected too. She’s mentally, emotionally and physically experiencing the pregnancy. If you fall into the mindset that this only affects you, she may end up feeling alone.
Remember, you’re in this together. You’re a team. Regardless of whether you continue your relationship together, this unplanned pregnancy is both of yours, and it’s important you work together to figure out what to do.
3. Support Her
“My teenage girlfriend is pregnant; how can I help?”
If you’re wondering how you can support your pregnant girlfriend, one of the simplest, yet most important ways you can show you care is by checking in with her and asking how she’s feeling. This question gives her the space to express how she feels and voice what’s on her mind. It shows you care.
This will open a dialogue where she might feel comfortable asking you your thoughts and opinions too. This allows you to talk about how you’re feeling too. Let her know she’s not alone. Ask her where she’s at in her decision-making process with her unplanned pregnancy options.
Be non-judgmental and open-minded when extending your emotional support to her. It can make all the difference.
4. Know Your Options
Regardless of whether your girlfriend has chosen an unplanned pregnancy option or is still deciding, it’s important that you understand what the options available to you are. As the birth father, you’re entitled to your input in this decision. However, since your girlfriend is the one carrying the child, she will get the final word.
If you’re asking “My teenage girlfriend is pregnant, what are my options?” you have three options available to you:
- As teenagers, can the two of you afford to support a child? Are you prepared to get a job?
- If you decide to parent you may have to delay some of the plans you had for your future such as college or traveling.
- Are you prepared to co-parent with this woman, even if your romantic relationship doesn’t continue?
- Do you feel like you are emotionally equipped to raise a child?
- Abortions can range from $500-$2,000. Can the two of you afford these costs?
- While most birth parents don’t regret their decision to abort, it can come with the emotional consequences of grief and loss.
- An abortion may not be possible if she is further along in her pregnancy than your state’s abortion laws allow for.
- Some states require parental consent for an abortion if the minors are under a certain age.
“My teenager girlfriend is pregnant, how can adoption help?” Adoption is often an overlooked option. Many people are unaware of the many resources available to the birth parents, and the benefits of adoption such as:
- Financial support. Adoption is completely free to prospective birth parents. When you work with an adoption agency, they will even offer financial support to help cover adoption costs and pregnancy expenses.
- 24/7 counseling. Unplanned teen pregnancy can be incredibly stressful. Adoption agencies have counselors available to you to help you cope with these emotions and answer any questions you may have.
- Open adoption. Adoption doesn’t mean goodbye forever. Through open adoption, you and your girlfriend can stay in touch with the adoptive family and your child through post-placement contact.
- Matching services. As the prospective birth parents, you will be able to help your girlfriend create an adoption plan. Part of this plan includes choosing the adoptive parents. Your adoption professional will help you find adoptive family profiles that match your preferences so that you can find the perfect family.
5. Create a Plan
Since an unplanned pregnancy takes two people, both of you should be involved in deciding the best course of action for the two of you and your baby. Take responsibility for your actions and help the expectant mother create a plan. Ask yourself the following:
- How can you emotionally and practically support each other during this process?
- Will you continue your relationship? If not, are you willing to co-parent?
- If you decide to parent, how will this affect your future plans?
It’s important to create a plan early on so that you can be sure everyone’s needs are addressed. If your girlfriend chooses a path that you don’t agree with, it can be difficult to accept her choice. All you can do is try to see it from her perspective. No matter what, you will have to respect her decision.
If you’re thinking “My teenage girlfriend is pregnant” and you’re not sure where to turn, you can always reach out to an adoption agency. Even if you haven’t decided on adoption yet, there are adoption counselors who can educate you on your unplanned pregnancy options and lend emotional support. Reach out to an adoption professional today to get the help you need.