People often connect unplanned pregnancies with those who have not walked down the aisle but married couples can be faced with this dilemma as well. The initial reaction after hearing the news is likely to be a combination of shock and worry followed by the question, “What should we do?” The answer to that question is a detailed one that depends on your situation. Bringing a child into the world is not something a couple wants to face all of a sudden but if it happens, there is no choice but to deal with the situation in the best way possible.
Your partner is there with you
The first thing to remember upon hearing the news is that you are not alone. You are lucky to have an amazing partner that will be right there every step of the way. Just knowing that there is someone sharing every flourish of shock and concern does put the mind at ease. Support is everything.
During this initial phase remember that it is okay to feel any way you feel. Whether you are scared out of your mind, break out in tears, are depressed or angry, you’re entitled to those emotions and so is your spouse. Masking them will only hurt the situation in the end. For many, when those initial feelings are expressed, the fact that the news is so unexpected is likely to have a strong influence on what comes out of their mouth.
Make sure not to pass judgement on what your partner says at this stage because as we all know; some react better to the unexpected than others. Your main goal to start with is keeping that united front because you are going to need your spouse throughout the journey of the unplanned pregnancy and they will need you. “You can feel that way” is the best response. It says, “I am here” while allowing a release of those initial emotions.
Have a series of conversations to develop a plan
An unwanted pregnancy in marriage requires much more than one sit down chat. After you and your spouse have calmed down and come to terms with the news, have a series of conversations about the next steps. A simple, “Honey, what are we going to do?” will get the ball rolling. Depending on your situation, a variety of factors can make an unwanted pregnancy more stressful. You and your spouse may have little ones at home and cannot fathom the thought of supporting another child let alone providing the care and attention needed. Other concerns likely include being unable to support a baby financially or a lack of living space, to name a few.
Major concerns have to be addressed first. To do that successfully and have a series of productive conversations, create a safe environment for these talks. Before moving forward with the discussion someone should say, “I know we have a lot to deal with right now. Let’s allow each other to speak openly and honestly about where our minds are at this very moment in order to come up with a plan that works for our family. We have challenges ahead but we will get through them together.”
From there, both parties can share what is on their minds, confide in each other and then move on to decide what to do next. For most this will likely involve saving money, turning to family for help and dealing with the space issue in the home. Remember that there is always a way. Depending on how the household is run, one or both spouses can get another job or work extra hours. If a spouse stays home he/she can start a small at home business to earn some additional cash, recruit babysitters (that’s what family is for) and learn to utilize space in the home more effectively if moving isn’t an option. As a plan starts to develop, keep in mind that just because something is hard does not mean it’s bad. The most beautiful gifts come in not so enticing packages. The more you talk, the better you will feel. Fears are often short lived and the excitement soon sets in.
Talking about the pregnancy allows spouses to transition from disbelief to acceptance. Although many are able to make the transition rather quickly, others do not. If negative emotional responses linger, begin to interfere with daily life or one/both spouses shut down, seek professional help. This can be in the form of counseling or therapy.
After talking and making the essential transition from disbelief and shock to acceptance, evaluate immediate needs. First on that list is seeing a doctor. In order to keep mother and child healthy, regular visits are required to make sure everything is going smoothly. After discovering an unplanned pregnancy, married couples should try to go to these appointments together. Not only do appointments keep husband and wife informed but it makes the situation more real. Although doctors’ appointments are serious, couples often find themselves enjoying this time together.
Husband and wife get to talk on the ride there and back, chat in the waiting room, maybe share a few laughs and have the opportunity to get excited about the baby on the way. Once the health aspect of the pregnancy is taken care of another immediate need is keeping the relationship healthy. This is the time to nurture the relationship. Think of the marriage, cherish each other and don’t always have unwanted pregnancy on the brain. Step away from that. Everything is going to be fine. Instead, focus on being married. For example, after going to an appointment, head on over to your favorite eatery to have a romantic and spontaneous lunch, plan dates just because and amp up the passion (just keep pregnancy sex safe). Replacing stress and worry with fun and romance will change perspectives for the better.
As you can see, unplanned pregnancy in marriage does not have to be a negative experience. Life’s surprises are what you make them. Once you have conversations about the pregnancy, develop a plan of action and evaluate needs. Perspectives can change and in the end, happiness will be achieved.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.