There are few things in life more challenging than responding to an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. It can be overwhelming. There’s the medical side of things, which can be costly and stressful, and then there’s figuring out which unplanned pregnancy option to choose. Plus, of course, the other side of the equation: the father of the baby.
Figuring out how to tell the father about an unplanned pregnancy and about the adoption plan can be stressful, confusing and, sometimes, a little scary. We’ve created this guide to help.
What should you expect? How do men react to unplanned pregnancy? And, what about adoption? Are there ways of how to tell the father about the adoption plan that will make him more supportive?
Let’s take a look.
How Do Men React to Unplanned Pregnancy?
Reactions to unplanned pregnancy can range from anger to joy and everything in between. Men’s reaction to unplanned pregnancy depends on all kinds of unique factors.
Do you have a long-lasting and steady relationship? Have things in the relationship been healthy, or was it starting to turn bad? Are you and the father in a place where you feel confident handling an unplanned pregnancy?
Think about how you responded to the news. Was your response positive or negative? Excited or scared? Anxious or hopeful? The father may feel the same way. In fact, there’s a chance he feels a little bit of everything.
It is important to note that your boyfriend’s reaction to unplanned pregnancy or your husband’s reaction to unplanned pregnancy is his responsibility. There are ways, as we’ll explore below, that you can make breaking the news a better experience. Ultimately, he is responsible for his actions and his feelings. It is not your job to help him handle it well.
How to Tell the Father about Unplanned Pregnancy
Unplanned pregnancy can be a lot to process. So, it may be worth breaking this conversation up into two parts: pregnancy and adoption.
By the time you speak to the father, you may already know that adoption is the right way forward. But, you know this because you’ve had the chance to think things over. You’ve processed, at least a little bit, your unplanned pregnancy. He hasn’t had that chance yet. Before moving into unplanned pregnancy options, let’s focus on breaking the big news.
The way you do this might depend on your relationship with the father. A conversation with your husband, for example, could be different than the way you tell your boyfriend that your pregnant.
How to Tell Husband about Unexpected Pregnancy
There’s a good chance you know your spouse better than anyone. Still, figuring out the best way to share this big news can make it feel like you’ve gone back to the beginning of your relationship. It can be difficult to know what to say or what to expect in return.
We’d love to tell you exactly how this conversation will go, but we can’t do that. Instead, here are a few points to consider when planning your unexpected pregnancy announcement to your husband:
- Pick the right time and place. This could be a long conversation. It’s not going to go well if you feel rushed. You’ll also want to consider the mood going into the conversation. If it’s been a stressful day, then it may be best to choose another time.
- Practice what you want to say. Winging it is not the way to go. As silly as it may feel, practice the conversation. Say it out loud. This way, you’ll be able to deliver the news clearly and frame it how you want to. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect — just prepared.
- Give grace for his initial response. One surefire way to feel like an unexpected pregnancy announcement to your husband went poorly is to set expectations too high. Again, think of how you first responded to the news. Would you want someone to judge that first response? Leave space for a range of emotions — from grief to happiness. Keep in mind that his first response may be different than his response after he’s had time to think.
How to Tell Your Boyfriend about Unplanned Pregnancy
This conversation might be different if the father is your boyfriend rather than your husband. While his part in the adoption process will still be important — birth father rights exist whether or not the parents are married — the nature of your relationship could change the way you share the news.
These are a few things to consider when telling your boyfriend about an unplanned pregnancy:
- Set your boundaries before the conversation. Depending on the length of your relationship and commitment to each other, you may or may not feel that your boyfriend should have a say in what happens with this pregnancy. It is your body and your pregnancy. You have a right to do what is best for you. Decide what your boundaries are in this regard before starting the conversation.
- Make your own feelings known. Practice sharing the news and then clearly expressing your feelings about the situation. It may help him process his own emotions to hear what you’re feeling. This also gives you the opportunity to frame the situation. For instance, if you know that parenting won’t be an option, you could begin to make that clear in this conversation without going too far into the details about adoption.
- Offer him time to process. Talking to your boyfriend about unplanned pregnancy may rock his world. It’s totally understandable if he needs time to process things. Let him know that he can take the time he needs, and that you’ll be ready to talk about it again when he is.
When You Aren’t In a Relationship with the Father
Many women choose adoption who are not in a relationship with the father of the baby. This is a completely normal situation to be in. Talking to the father of the baby about your unexpected pregnancy in this situation might be awkward or uncomfortable, but there are ways to make it better.
If you feel unsure of how to approach this conversation, you can always create a game plan with your adoption specialist. This might mean drafting a letter together, or coming up with talking points to steer the conversation in the right direction.
Telling the Father about the Adoption Plan
Telling the father about the adoption plan can be as challenging as breaking the news about unplanned pregnancy. In many cases, it’s a good idea to break up these two conversations. When you are pregnant, you have time to choose adoption. So, there’s no need to rush this.
When the time is right (which probably means after he has had time to process the news about the unplanned pregnancy), there are several different ways for how to tell the father about the adoption plan. Depending on your relationship and your level of felt safety, here are a few different ways to have this conversation:
By Telephone: Distance can be helpful. Depending on your relationship with the father, it may make sense to do this over the phone. It’s still a direct conversation, but it creates the space for you to feel safe and confident while expressing your desire to pursue adoption.
In Person: In other situations, a face-to-face conversation could be best for telling the father about the adoption plan. If you are in a committed relationship, for instance, and feel totally safe sharing difficult news like this, then you may want to talk in the comfort of your own home.
In a Public Place: This is a middle ground of the first two options. If speaking over the phone feels too distant, but you are also a bit worried about the reaction, then choosing a public space (like a café) to have this conversation may be a good idea. The presence of other people can create a safe space in case of a harsh response, while still allowing the intimacy of a face-to-face conversation.
Just like sharing the unplanned pregnancy news, you’ll want to give the father time to process the idea of adoption. This is probably the first time he’s ever seriously thought about it. It’s a good idea to be prepared to share what you have learned about adoption, including the benefits of adoption, to help him see it in a positive light.
Protecting Your Rights
You can always pursue adoption. An unsupportive birth father can make the process more difficult. However, that doesn’t take away your right to try.
Do you know that the father of the baby won’t support your adoption plan? Do you have reason to be fearful sharing that plan with him? Most state laws do not require a pregnant woman to share her adoption pan with the father is she is fearful or uncomfortable sharing her adoption pan with the father.
It is illegal to lie about the pregnancy if asked, which is important to know. And, at some point, in one way or another, the birth father’s parental rights will need to be terminated in order for an adoption placement to occur.
If telling the father about the adoption plan feels overwhelming and scary, you should speak to an adoption attorney about your rights to privacy and your rights to pursue adoption with or without his consent.
Connect with a Professional
Telling your husband about an unplanned pregnancy can be seriously challenging, as can telling the father adoption the adoption plan. Would you like to speak with an adoption professional about this? If so, you can contact us today. We’d be happy to connect you with an adoption agency that can answer your questions and provide services for your adoption.