My Girlfriend is Pregnant and We're Catholic, What Should I do?
An unexpected pregnancy does not only affect the woman who finds out she is pregnant, it also affects the man when he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. You are probably shocked and unsure about what you are supposed to do now. There are probably a million questions going through your head as well as a lot of emotions. Now is the time to pray for some patience and guidance.
While it may feel like the end of the world, it is not. It is a time when you are going to have to make some very adult decisions and show that you are going to be supportive of your girlfriend and take responsibility for your situation. This does not mean you need to get married and prepare to parent this child. While that is an option you may consider, you need to consider all of your options and work with your girlfriend to choose the best option for all of you, including your baby.
What you need to do.
Breathe. Take the time you need to let the news of the pregnancy set in before you react. Surprising news like this can cause a knee-jerk reaction. You may want to yell or blame and could end up saying things you regret. So, take a deep breath, and when you are calm, you can move forward.
Listen. Next, listen to your girlfriend’s thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy and what all this means to your Catholic faith. You need to hear her fears, her questions, and perhaps her joy. She will be experiencing just as many, if not more, emotions than you. Her feelings and thoughts on how to handle the pregnancy may change minute to minute or hour to hour. Be the sounding board she needs to work through this situation.
Check Out Your Options. You can’t make decisions unless you understand all of your options. It is important to do some research. Look online for articles and webinars that provide information and real-life stories of other men who have been where you are. Parenting this child is not your only option. Open adoption is another option that should be considered.
Talk. Be honest about your feelings and fears when you speak with your girlfriend. Whether you two are still together or not at this point, you are both going to have to deal with this pregnancy. If you are considering parenting, bring up all of the obstacles you will need to overcome together. If you are considering adoption ask if she would speak to an adoption coordinator to help understand the adoption process.
Reach Out. Don’t try and figure all of this out on your own. Contact your Catholic priest or clergy member. Talk to parents and family members. You don’t have to take all of their advice, but it may help to listen to different points of view. Others will bring up things you may not have thought of, or they may look at your situation from a point of view you had not considered.
What not to do.
Ignore the situation. Don’t bury your head in the sand and pretend it is not happening. Your girlfriend cannot do this as she is carrying your baby. You need to work with her and support her during this time. If you two are not getting along, pray for patience and understanding. This kind of stress is hard on everyone and doesn’t always bring out the best in people.
Pressure her. Now is not the time for ultimatums or to try and bully her into choosing to do what you want to do. If you don’t agree, calmly make lists of pros and cons for each option. Take time apart to think about those lists and remind each other you are now making a very big decision, and it should not be made lightly.
You are now in a situation that will change your life forever. How you handle it will determine if it changes your life for the better or worse. Handle this with maturity and kindness, and you will find peace at the end of the day. If you choose to parent, make sure you are ready and entering this new world with open eyes, ready for the challenges as well as the rewards. If you think adoption is a better choice, read some amazing birth father stories to give you an idea of what life can look like after the adoption is final. Lean on your Catholic faith and say a prayer. Trust your heart to guide you in the right direction.