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Are you a teenage boy who just found out that your girlfriend is pregnant? You're bound to be terrified, and you probably don't feel like discussing all your feelings with your girlfriend, parents or friends.

Turning to the internet is the logical next step except most information for expectant teenagers is geared towards girls. 

Not a teenage dad to-be yet?

Teenage pregnancy might be a far-off nightmare for some, but all sexually-active heterosexual male teens need to think about it. Though you can't get pregnant yourself, your girlfriend or sex partner can, and that's as much your responsibility as it is hers. Having sex can lead to pregnancy, whether you like it or not. It's really that simple. Using contraception is a very sane choice, and one that will definitely greatly reduce the chance that your (sex) partner will end up pregnant. Using condoms additionally protects you against sexually transmitted infections, and they give you peace of mind because you'll know contraception is really being used. Even with condoms, pregnancy can still happen. While it's not likely, it's not impossible.

Do you want to eliminate the risk of getting a girl pregnant completely? Then the only answer is to not have sex. If making pregnant very unlikely is your goal, condoms are your best bet.

Along with accepting the chance of pregnancy comes accepting that if your girlfriend does get pregnant, she'll have more of a say in what happens next than you do. It's her body, after all, and you can't decide what she can and can't do with it.

Your girlfriend is pregnant: Yikes! What now?

Did you just find out about the positive pregnancy test? You're probably terrified right now, and you may have the strong impulse to get angry or spend time alone to contemplate your situation as a potential father to-be. Here's the thing: your girlfriend is just as scared as you are, and she really needs you right now.

Remember that it took both of you to create that pregnancy. Now, it should ideally take both of you to decide where to go from here. You know all too well that you have three basic options; abortion, parenting, and adoption.

While you may not like the sound of any of those, many young men who would really rather not become fathers think of abortion as the most rational option. You're young, after all, and probably don't feel ready to be a parent. You might not even want a long-term relationship with the girl you got pregnant, you still need to finish your education, and you don't have the money to raise a child.

You may also just want to continue enjoying the life you have now, without complicated custody issues and dirty diapers getting in the way. That's understandable, and you can certainly tell your girlfriend that's how you feel, if you do feel that way. Please do so respectfully, though, and don't threaten her or tell her you'll love her forever if she has an abortion. (Some teens do both. Come to think of it, so do adult men.) Calmly discuss your options, and then get a support network in place. If your girlfriend and you are both on the same page, this is going to be easier. If not, you may have to develop your own support network.

Teenage pregnancies aren't ever going to be a walk in the park, but it's going to be much tougher if you disagree. In practice, the decision ultimately lies with the female, though you may have options if she wants to place the child for adoption and you'd rather parent.

Abortion

Have you both decided that abortion is the best option? Your girlfriend will very much appreciate it if you come to the clinic with her and support her through her grief and physical recovery. This is also just the decent thing to do.

Adoption

Do you both agree that you would prefer to place your child through adoption? You have many different options here, including kinship adoption and private adoption through an agency. You can choose adoptive parents together, and may be able to achieve an open adoption in which you receive updates on the child. Sometimes, visits are possible too. Open adoptions don't always work out as open as you had hoped for though, so take that into account. Also remember that you can still change your mind about placing your child even after they are born. Don't rush into making decisions.

Parenting

Whether you and your girlfriend both decided on parenting or she made that choice on her own, your life will change radically. On the upside, pregnancy lasts a good nine months. If your girlfriend is still in her first trimester of pregnancy, you will have a while to prepare for the change. Start by asking yourself tough questions like:

  • Do I want to be involved in raising this child?
  • Do I have the moral obligation to be involved even if I don't want to be? (Hint: the answer is probably "yes".)
  • How can I support my girlfriend?
  • Where will you all be living?
  • Ensuring you both finish High School and continue onto further education will greatly brighten your futures. Do you have a plan for making this happen? How can you help your girlfriend make sure she has the opportunity to finish school?
  • Is financial help available to you? If you have no idea, start researching now.

Raising a child is challenging, particularly when you are still so very young yourself. It takes courage and a lot of will power. A solid support network is key for teen parents, who will almost certainly need financial help and help with babysitting to finish their education and put food on the table. If you look your situation square in the face and get help wherever you can while still taking all the responsibility you can, it's also a challenge that can be overcome. I hope you'll be able to enjoy the ride eventually!

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