Among many other questions you will have at this time, you may wonder how on earth you should tell your ex about your pregnancy.
Tell it straight
The best way to give anyone bad or controversial news is generally to tell it straight. Few couples who have just broken up will really love the fact that they are going to have a child together. Everyone is going to react differently, of course, so you should always keep your ex partner's personality in mind before you tell him about your pregnancy.
Above all, consider the context in which you are going to present the news. If your ex is violent, you will want to tell him in a public place, with a friend present, or... perhaps not at all! If your ex is passive and you think he may want to get out of his responsibilities, also take a friend with you (a woman). Tape the conversation in case you need it as evidence during a custody or child support hearing. Then, you've got the ex who wants to get back together with you as soon as he finds out, and the ex who is sane and wants to work out some kind of co-parenting agreement. Most types of exes will prefer being told about your pregnancy face to face.
They may like to know that you didn't get pregnant on purpose (unless you were actually trying to conceive when you broke up, of course), how you feel about the situation, and how you see the future. But they are more likely to need time to themselves to let the news sink in. They are quite likely to feel confused and angry, and may yell.
Give him space
However your ex reacts, he will definitely need space alone to think things through. Remember how you felt when you got your positive pregnancy test? Your ex is going to feel most of what you felt confusion, sadness, panic, anger, stress, denial, possessiveness, and perhaps love as well. In other words, you need to back off and give him time and space. He'll contact you when he is ready. Or he won't. Because of that possibility, do make an appointment with him within a week or two of your initial announcement. The chances are that he will recover from his shock and act like a man.
Talk about the future
Once you both get used to the idea that you are expecting a baby together, you quite obviously need to sit down together and have multiple serious conversations about the future. Some couples who have just split up will indeed decide that the baby is a great reason to give the relationship another chance. Many will not. No matter what your future together will be like, you are certain to benefit from relationship therapy together. From now on, you are tied together for life, after all. Some questions you are going to want to put on the "serious discussion agenda" are:
- Custody and co-parenting. How involved is your ex going to be in your baby's life? Would you like to co-parent and each spend half of the week with the child, or which arrangement are you looking for? These are tricky questions that you don't have to reach an agreement on immediately, but there is no doubt that they should be discussed early on.
- How are you going to organize your finances? Is your ex going to pay child support? Do you need to get solicitors involved, or can you work all the legal issues surrounding custody and finances out among yourselves?
- Do you agree about parenting, in general? How about grandparent visits? Tread carefully when discussing these issues, but do talk about them.
- Does your ex want to be involved in your pregnancy in any way? How do you feel about him coming to prenatal appointments, or being present at the birth? It is a good idea to talk about these things openly, wherever possible.
- Some guys in this situation are not sure that the baby you are pregnant with is your child. They may want a paternity test. There are prenatal paternity testing options available these days, but they carry some risks to the fetus. DNA testing immediately after birth is easy, painless, and not that expensive.
You may also like to read: Abusive relationships and pregnancy.