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Her pregnancy of two years ago came BACK?!?

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confused asks:

I recently found out that my girlfriend is pregnant. The problem is I am a virgin. She had an abortion about 2 years ago and she told me that her doctor said it could randomly come back at anytime without her having sex. I want to believe her but something tells me that isn't right. PLEASE HELP!

Heather Corinna replies:

Unless her doctor was on drugs, wasn't really a doctor, or was a complete lunatic, there is no way he or she would have said any such thing.

Pregnancy cannot just magically appear, end and reappear all by itself. That could only happen in, say, the same world where that guy in the Santa suit at a department store on Christmas Eve isn't there getting a paycheck to help with his holiday expenses, but just flew in from the North Pole (and boy, are his arms tired), led by a workaholic reindeer with a very red nose.

If we terminate a pregnancy, that pregnancy is capital-O over. Certainly every rare now and then, an abortion procedure is not completed or becomes complicated, but in most cases, that's about getting out extra tissue or dealing with an infection or perforation, not about a pregnancy managing to continue and result in a child. Even in those exceptionally rare cases, the gestation period would still be around 40 weeks, not two years (104 weeks). As well, unless we artificially inseminate, pregnancy occurs as a result of any kind of sex where there has been direct female genital contact with semen. For a pregnancy to occur, we need sperm and egg to meet: women's bodies can't produce pregnancies without sperm.

So, here are the real possibilities:
1) You two did have some sort of sex which resulted in a pregnancy.

People use the term "virginity" in a lot of different ways, so it's not a very useful term. For instance, you might call yourself a virgin even if you two have rubbed your bare genitals together, which can create a pregnancy. Some people who have anal sex, but not vaginal, will say they are virgins, and unprotected anal sex can present a risk of pregnancy. You might think that only having your penis inside her for a given period of time or depth creates a pregnancy risk, when, in fact, any contact creates that risk. So, if the two of you have had any direct genital-to-genital contact or intercourse, pregnancy is a possibility.

2) She has been sexually active with someone else, and became pregnant through sex with that other person.

3) She was sexually assaulted, became pregnant, and does not feel able to tell you she was assaulted. That can happen, because it can be very scary to disclose a rape, especially to someone you worry might see it as sex you chose, as cheating or as you somehow being "ruined" in some way.

4) She's not pregnant at all. Heck, she may also not have had an abortion before for all you or I know. She might think she is pregnant when she is not, she might have misunderstood something the doctor said. She might think she is being truthful assuming she is pregnant, or she might be being purposefully not truthful either to scare you in some way: to try and get sympathy or attention, a commitment from you, or heck, she might just be bored and craving drama. I know that all sounds pretty wretched, but people can do or say some pretty wretched things sometimes, and sometimes do so for really strange or perplexing reasons.

Obviously, you two need to talk about this.

I'd start by letting her know that a terminated pregnancy cannot just "come back." If she did have an abortion two years ago, for her to be pregnant again now, she would have had to have had a new risk again recently. If she refuses to believe that, by all means, she can call staff at the clinic where she is saying she terminated a pregnancy before and ask them about this, or do the research online herself like you did.

Next, she needs to take a pregnancy test, and if she is going to involve you in this or feels you had something to do with it, I think it's reasonable to ask that she takes it while you're around so that you can see the results.

If she takes it and the result is positive, then you can evaluate if you did, indeed, have a risk together and thus, may be a potential father. If it's possible a pregnancy did result because of you, then you two can talk about her options, what she wants to do about it, and you can also voice your feelings. If it's positive and you strongly feel or know that it could NOT be because of you, then you need to ask her to tell you truthfully how this occurred. Obviously, if she has been sexually active with someone else and you do not have an open relationship, and/or she has been lying to you, you have some choices to make about if you want to remain in a relationship with her. It would certainly be understandable if you did not if she has been willingly sexually active with someone else without being truthful with you about it, or if you just only want to be with a partner who is sexually exclusive with you.

If she takes it and is NOT pregnant, then you two can talk about why she thought or said that she was.

If it was an honest mistake, that happens, I'd just perhaps spend some time together reading up on how pregnancy really happens so that both of you can be better informed. I'd also state a limit that from here on out, while it's okay for her to talk to you about being worried she might be pregnant, announcing that she is, for sure, is something she should only do after she has had that verified by a pregnancy test. If, instead, she was being intentionally dishonest, I think it's fair to say you're owed some explanation, and it's also fair if you do not want to be involved with her anymore. Purposefully scaring or manipulating someone with a pregnancy you know isn't real is very serious business and is seriously not okay.

In the case that you have been involved with someone deceptive or manipulative, I hope that you'll know that that isn't necessarily a reflection on you. In other words, if you've been a kind, respectful and honest partner, you winding up with someone who hasn't acted in kind doesn't mean you did anything wrong or that there is anything wrong with you. At one point or another, most of us will wind up getting involved with a wolf in sheep's clothing, or a person who just isn't particularly caring or mature. It really stings when it happens, and it -- of course -- is going to leave us feeling awful -- but when someone else hurts us, particularly on purpose, that's about them, not us.

Here are some links for you -- which you can also share with her -- both about the real-deal of reproduction as well as some other information:

written 16 Jul 2008 . updated 17 Jan 2014

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