If your girlfriend tells you she's pregnant, it can be quite a shock. Whether or not you expected the news, you can feel stressed, confused, happy, or all of these at once. You can cope with the news by letting your girlfriend express herself, and then sharing with her how you feel. Once the two of you get the facts and seek help, you can come to a decision about what to do.
1. Listen to your girlfriend. When your girlfriend tells you that she’s pregnant, you should remember that the situation will affect her more than anyone else. Let her say what’s on her mind before you talk. She may want to express her feelings, which can range from shock to denial to joy, or a mixture of many emotions at once. If your girlfriend tells you she’s pregnant, and doesn’t really say anything else, she might be looking for a sign that you care. Show her that you do and give her a chance to express herself by asking something neutral like “How do you feel about it?”
2. Stay calm. Take a deep breath before responding to what your girlfriend tells you. Don’t freak out, yell, say it’s her fault, say that your lives are ruined, or anything else overly dramatic. Recognize your own emotions. You might be confused, excited, angry, happy, or feel a combination of all of these. It's ok to tell your girlfriend what you are feeling.
3. Let her know you care. Assuming that you will try to be supportive of your girlfriend, you should react by showing that you care about her and the situation, and will support any decision she makes. Saying something reassuring like “This is really big news, but don’t worry, I’m going to be there for you and help you with whatever you need” can be meaningful. This is especially true in cultures where pregnancy can bring shame to the family and lead to the girl getting ostracized.
4. Keep in contact with your girlfriend. If you want to be supportive of your girlfriend, then don’t run away or hide from her. Be there when she needs to talk, and make sure she can easily contact you when you’re apart. Keep in mind that she might need to talk more about the pregnancy later on, even after she first shares the news.
5. Learn about your options. Your girlfriend may have several options for handling a pregnancy. Before making a decision about what to do, make sure that she has good information about them. Your girlfriend may want to have the baby and parent it. This may or may not mean marriage or a long-term relationship. The two of you should discuss your long-term relationship plans in addition to the pregnancy. Your girlfriend may want to have the baby and offer it for adoption.
6. Be patient. Deciding how to handle a pregnancy, or share the news of it, can be very stressful. Give your girlfriend time to think, and don’t force her to make a rushed decision. In the meantime, help her out with whatever she needs: sleep, food, relaxation, chores, etc.
7. Talk about it. Maybe your girlfriend knows exactly what she wants to do about the pregnancy. On the other hand, she might be confused, unsure, or just not ready to make a decision. If she’s not sure, the two of you can start talking about your options and how to handle things. Common options for handling a pregnancy including having the baby and parenting it (as a single parent or a couple), offering it for adoption, or terminating it (having an abortion). Each of these options brings unique concerns, so your girlfriend shouldn’t rush to make a decision without getting information and thinking things through. The decision is ultimately up to your girlfriend, so you should support her without being demanding. Don’t push your girlfriend one way or another. Avoid making statements like “You need to…” or “You have to…” If your girlfriend is considering multiple options, let her know you care by saying something like “I’ll support you whatever your decision is.”
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