The Unintended Pregnancy
Weren’t expecting to be pregnant? Our experts offer advice on how to cope.
Marthe found the support she needed in her partner. “The change in how I felt about having a child had a lot to do with the reaction of my significant other,” she says. “After the initial shock began to wear off, we had long conversations about how having a child made each of us feel and what we needed to do to prepare. It was reassuring to know that he didn’t feel like I ruined his life.”
Your partner’s reaction is likely to encompass as many emotions as yours, but he may have more trouble putting his into words, says Brad Imler, Ph.D., president of the American Pregnancy Association.
Some men may get that “deer in the headlights” look, says Imler, who counsels women not to assume the reaction signals a lack of support. Men worry most about providing for their families and losing their partners to the commitments of motherhood.
To reassure him, advises Honos-Webb, remind him that after about three months, the intense connection between mother and baby eases a bit and you will be able to return more of your attention to him. When it comes to money, she recommends saying, “These are supposed to be the tough years, and we have our whole lives ahead of us.”
Change Your Outlook
Honos-Webb suggests that the way to change your attitude about the pregnancy is to change the questions you ask yourself. “Stop asking yourself who is to blame, what you did to deserve this, and what’s wrong with you,” she says. “Instead, ask yourself, Am I OK, what do I need, and how can I comfort myself?” In other words, ask questions that help you find solutions and move forward, not questions that fixate on blame and fault.
This process worked for Marthe, who says, “I realized that I can still do the things I want to do, and it’s more fun knowing that I will have my family to share them with.”