The Big Decision

More than half of all pregnancies are unintended. You’re not alone.

unintended-pregnancies-chart

2013 Guttmacher Study shows than 51% (3.4 million) of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the US each year are unintended.

The millennial generation (born 1980-2000) apparently finds it acceptable awesome to have a child before graduating college, being financially or emotionally stable, or any other of those nonsense adult things. Before these young adults are moved out of their parent’s basement, they are changing diapers and applying for welfare.

Not a good start to what is supposed to be the best years of your life. All you wanted to do was to hook up with the hot girl in accounting/Hooters waitress/only person at the bar you got passed “hey…” with.

And now this.

When your lady friend tells you that your seed has made its way to mate with her egg, you have a few choices. This is something not to be taken lightly and will require more thought than the amount of effort you put into pulling out.

What do you do? Ask yourself: do any of these emotions reflect how you feel right now?

1. Hooray – I’m so happy we are having a kid!

Then congrats, seriously. You’ll know if you are in this bucket if this was your initial reaction when finding out you are going to be a parent. Mine wasn’t so ecstatic, so I can’t really tell you what to do next and I’m not exactly sure why you’d be reading this unless you have your doubts.

In that case, if you are unmarried to your soon-to-be-baby-mama do talk to an attorney about establishing your parental rights. It varies by state and typically will only take some paperwork at the hospital when the child is born, but it could also be something filed with the courts. A free consultation with an attorney will let you know what you must do.

Notice I said “we.” If either one of you aren’t on board or if you are faking this emotion and are anywhere less than 110% positive about being a parent right now, keep reading.

2. I’m not ready for this. Lets consider an abortion or putting the child up for adoption.

I’ll say this first. Regardless of what propaganda you read or hear, abortion is not a bad thing and putting a child up for adoption can be a responsible choice. Wanting to experience your own life before having a child is not being selfish. We all have different priorities in life and that’s a perfectly acceptable reason to not want to have a child right now.

On the flipside, having a child can positively impact your life. You’ll learn things like how to be productive on 2 hours of sleep, multitasking, expand your patience to boundaries that extend past the depths of the known universe and might take a few things more seriously now, like your career or developing new skills.

One my favorite books, Freakonomics, shows the single reason that crimes in the United States plummeted in the 1990′s was due to the legalization of abortion during the infamous Roe v. Wade case in 1973. Why? People were no longer raising kids that they didn’t want in the first place.

Understand that it isn’t your call (assuming you are the guy). Right now is your time to be honest and open with your partner and let them know how you feel and ignore their feelings about how they make respond to your thoughts. Seriously. Ignoring them now is a lot easier than explaining that you were lying when you said you were thrilled about being a parent.

For the latter sex, just listen. Do your best to understand your partner’s concerns and respect them. Don’t attempt to sway them. Be clear what your choice is and allow them to be there – or not. Both of you need to be supportive of each other.

3. I’m unsure, but she is excited and wants to have the baby, so I guess I’ll “man up” and be a Dad.

Wrong answer, buddy.

If you are unsure about anything right now and decided to just go with it, then there are major repercussions to come. You are 110% committed or you aren’t.

Choosing to “man up” usually results in an attempt to force yourself into a situation you do not want to be apart of and eventually you lose your sanity, run away in F.E.A.R. and get thrown into the deadbeat dad world. This is the worst possible situation to be in. Don’t do it. It’s absolutely the worst decision you can make in your entire life.

That’s the decision I made, so this is how I know it’s a royally bad decision. 

I was 20 at the time my 19-year old girlfriend became pregnant. I knew without a doubt that I did not want to be with her for the rest of my life so the old-school tradition of shot-gunning a marriage before the baby came was not an option. Frankly, what a stupid reason to get married anyway. I recall thinking that this was as good as my life was going to get and felt trapped. 

I did plenty of research on abortions, adoptions and talked to doctors and women’s clinics in length. I tried with every ounce in me to convince my girlfriend that an abortion (adoption was off the table) is something we should consider and eventually she had agreed – reluctantly, as I later learned.

Hearing the baby’s heartbeat during a regular prenatal checkup changed everything. She couldn’t go through with an abortion. I told my girlfriend that everything would be fine and we would happily get through this together…

Hah.

There is no “man up and be a dad” avenue like I was so often told. You can’t force yourself to be someone you are not ready to be. If you do, you’re likely to F.E.A.R. – say fuck everything and run. 

I made the mistake of not being 110% committed – or 110% not committed and got caught up in the middle and made a lot of mistakes – attempting to get out of child support by agreeing to a last name change of my daughter, not establishing my parental rights or a parenting schedule and actually believing I would never be served with any court action.

Choose to be a father or not and stick with it, otherwise it will cost you dearly in the end in the form of lawyer’s fees, missed time with your child and irreparable emotional damage. It was a long process to finally cut through all of the noise in my head and made the decision to be apart of my little girl’s life. I can only imagine the mental anguish and pain I would be going through knowing I have a child out there I didn’t know.

So, when your girlfriend tells you she is pregnant, sit down and talk about all of the options. Understand their feelings and express your own, now.

You only get to make this decision once and this will affect all three of your lives forever. This is just the beginning, or it could be the end, depending on how you feel right now.

It will be ok.

Say those words over and over.

Every situation is temporary – including having a kid. Even they turn into adults after 18 years. I wanted to wrap this up by saying that I’m here for you, not only as a guide through all of this but as a confidant. I can honestly say I never had anyone that could really wrap their head around what I was going through, so I want you to know that I’ve been there, it sucks for awhile and is scary but eventually it all turns out ok.

Thanks so much for reading this far. Since you’ve made it through the most important page on the entire site, please drop me a line on my Facebook Page and let me know how I’ve helped or what else I can do for you. I respond to all posts personally.