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How to Deal With an Unexpected Pregnancy

 

How to deal with an unexpected pregnancy

Pregnancy, as we know, can be one of life’s most exciting times for a married couple.  Unexpected pregnancies, however, can be a different experience. Just because a couple finds themselves with a baby on the way, does not necessarily mean that they are ready to start a family.  

Here are some coping tips for married couples that find themselves suddenly and “unexpectedly expecting”:

You can complain

Many married couples report an unexpected pregnancy as stressful due to feelings of guilt about keeping the baby, despite not feeling ready for parenthood. A couple might feel guilty complaining simply because they feel as though they are complaining about the baby, itself.  You can be disappointed about a possible drastic life change that you didn’t see coming, however.  

If you are a married couple and find yourselves stressed out about an unexpected pregnancy, taking the time to share this with your partner can be a cathartic experience for you both. Just because you learn you are able to have children does not necessarily mean you feel ready to commit to this decision.  Having an open and honest talk with your spouse can not only have therapeutic value but can also bring you closer. A conversation where your share your fears about parenthood can also help you make a decision on how to move forward with this news, together, which can promote solidarity as a couple.     

You can adjust

Studies show that couples who started families by virtue of a surprise pregnancy often report having to make major adjustments as they commit to their new decision. You might have many “adult” plans on the calendar such as weddings or travel plans. While it might be overwhelming to cancel plans and possibly lose money in the process, it is highly likely that adjustments can be made, so you might not have any big penalties or problems in doing so.

With time, learning to make adjustments can get easier. Making adjustments, together, as a couple can also be a bonding experience as you both go through the changes – together that can prepare you for parenthood.

You can take a beat

Research shows that most surprise pregnancies are discovered within the first trimester. Not every couple who experiences an unexpected pregnancy determines what to do about it right away. If you find yourself in this position and are unsure how you feel about it, you might want to take a moment to process your thoughts and emotions on the matter.

Jointly deciding to delay your decision can possibly help you make a better decision than if you were to rush into it.  Waiting until you feel ready to make a decision, together, can be a good idea to make sure your aren’t letting your feelings of being emotionally overwhelmed cloud your judgement.  

  VERIFIED EXPERT
Denise Limongello, LMSW, is a passionate and dedicated therapist who obtained her graduate degree from Columbia University, School of Social Work. She is also a graduate of Miss Porter’s School and Tulane University. Denise began her clinical career at The Renfrew Center of New York and has since then worked across all levels of care including Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, and Outpatient, Private Practice settings.

More by Denise Limongello

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