What To Do if Your Girlfriend is Pregnant: Advice From a Father of 12 (actually 19)
It’s 3 a.m. and your cellphone’s ringing.
You wonder who’s calling. You vaguely recognize the number so you answer. You recognize your girlfriend’s father’s voice. “Happy Father’s Day!” he says in that half-yell, half-calm threatening voice fathers have.
But it isn’t June, so it can’t be Father’s Day.
Has this ever happened to you? Likely not.
So what does happen when your girlfriend gets pregnant? What do you do?
First, let’s redefine the situation. Your girlfriend didn’t GET pregnant. She is currently pregnant. And quite frankly, YOU didn’t get her pregnant. The two of you acted together to create a new life—a human life—since to date science hasn’t shown any way two humans copulating can create anything other than a human life. This is male female teamwork at its absolute best. But it wasn’t what you had hoped for. Chances are, it wasn’t what she had hoped for either. So what happens next, now that your girlfriend is pregnant?
There used to be something called natural consequences. You have sex, you make a baby, you become parents. Today, you have sex, you make a baby, you are told you have OPTIONS.
Pregnant Girlfriend Option 1: Marry girlfriend from a sense of obligation, have baby, likely divorce, begin a life cycle of misery and pain for everyone.
Pregnant Girlfriend Option 2: Before anyone realizes what has happened and both your lives are ruined forever, dispose of the evidence like it never happened. Except that it did, and you begin a life cycle of misery and pain for everyone.
Pregnant Girlfriend Option 3: Is there really an option 3?
When your girlfriend tells you she’s pregnant, she is looking to you for your reaction. She may be a 21st century modern feminist, but in that moment, she wants to know what you are going to do. Private actions have public consequences. You had sex with her, now do you want everyone to know? Sometimes we brag about the sex we have, but do we actually want the world to know when it really counts? When we create a new life and we have a pregnant girlfriend, are we proud of that moment? Nothing says I’m having sex like a pregnant girlfriend.
I am the proud father of 12 living children. My wife miscarried five pregnancies. But long before I met my wife, I fathered two children whose lives I stole before I could ever meet them. I have been where you are now. The decisions I made [or failed to make] have been with me for over 30 years and will be with me until after I die. No matter what I want to believe, my choices bound me to those girls for the rest of my life. I haven’t talked to them in almost 30 years, but with the birth of each of my own children, I remember. When I look at my teenage sons, I remember. When I look at my teenage daughters, I remember. And I see the consequences of my own actions so many years ago. I silently ask for forgiveness from two persons I will never speak to again, but I also ask for forgiveness from persons I have never met.
Is that how you want to see yourself in 30 years?
Birth and death are the two ultimate realities of life when men must be men. Nobody says you must marry your pregnant girlfriend. In fact, that probably isn’t the best first alternative. Adoption isn’t always the right answer, either. Your girlfriend may be the best mother in the world for the baby, but you might not be ready to be the best husband. However, whether you like it or not, whether you want to believe it or not, if your girlfriend is pregnant, you’re already a father. A man—an authentic man—accepts fatherhood as his highest responsibility. The implications of your fatherhood will change as that baby—a distinct and unrepeatable human miracle—grows and changes by the second.
So Option 3….be a man. Embrace your responsibility. Show the world the side of manhood that understands that, as partners, you and your girlfriend own the choice to have had sex. As partners, you own that choice to have sex. And as partners, you are willing to share the world with a child. Go to the pregnancy center with her. Go to her appointments. Ask questions. Listen to her parents as they express their concern, even if they blame you, curse you, or hate you. They are concerned for their daughter. One day, you may be that father, too. Their words can’t hurt you. If you are patient, you will win them over. Remember, they are your child’s grandparents, even if they are never your in-laws.
But above all else, prepare to be the father you already are.
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