T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 5753
posted 11-04-2001 01:48 AM
My name is Elaina, I'm 21 and 10 1/2 weeks pregnant. This has been quite a difficult past few weeks for my boyfriend and I, and we're still dealing with the aftershocks of this "surprise". Hmm... where to start?
I found out I was pregnant at 7 1/2 weeks. A visit to a local women's health clinic yeilded a positive urine test and then we decided to do an ultrasound to help date the pregnancy. Even though all I saw was a dark clump of cells and a tiny pulse, that was enough to make the situation pretty real. Almost automatically, I started asking questions, "Is the pregnancy in the right spot? Does everything look normal?"
Even though this was definately not an "expected" pregnancy, I felt this strange protective feeling from the first. At this point, my boyfriend did not know that I had went to the clinic. He had classes that day, and I wanted to know- and couldn't wait until he got home.
(Just some background, we've been together for about 4 years now. We've been discussing marriage, our plans and desires for family and life. I have considered him as someone who would be a good partner in life as well as in raising kids. We just never thought the situation would arise now...)
To make a long story short... I've told him about the pregnancy, and we've been having a long, hard, difficult discussion/debate ever since. Very early in our conversations we decided that what we did in the situation had to be a mutual decision. We didn't want either one of us to feel forced or trapped.
Strangely, when I found out I was pregnant the desire for an abortion never occured to me. When my S/O found out that I was pregnant, his first response (after the inital shock and crying) was, "We need to resolve this situation, now." For him, his first idea was abortion, and after long thought and conversation, he still feels that this is the right thing to do in this situation.
It's been difficult for both of us to try and see where the other one is coming from, but we are trying hard. He has joined me for a nurse-intake visit for prenatal care and seen my ultrasound at 10 weeks, we both went to options counseling at Planned Parenthood and have learned massive amounts of information about our options especially abortion.
We've had the support of a few good friends in this time, but haven't told our families yet. I've told my younger sister, and his younger brother knows, (both are supportive) but the real hurdle are our parents.
I'm feeling frustrated right now. I don't know what I can do to show him that I'm listening to him, and I care so much about how he feels. He is severely depressed and affected by this, more so than I thought he would be. To be fair, (and for his mental health) I've never totally closed the door on dicussion of any option, including abortion.
However, in the last few days, it has become increasingly clearer to me that it would take an incredible shift in how I view myself, my additude towards life and responsability, before I could ever feel comfortable with making the decission to have an abortion.
It has become clear to me, that no matter how supportive my S/O promises to be, I may have to deal with the consequences of this decision on my own. So the question became, "What is the choice I can live with? What can I handle?" Strange as it sounds, I compare the abortion/parenting choice to two difficult and painful things: I feel abortion would be like cutting part of me off (say a hand.) It would hurt like hell (emotionally) and I would lose a part of myself. The action would be swift and decisive, but I would always have the scar to look at and wonder, "did it have to be this way?" Pregnancy and parenting is no less difficult, but I think of it as a different pain: like the pain of a long hard marathon. The running consumes all of your resources and strenth, but as you go, you gain strength build muscles and have the potential to learn and earn great rewards.
I know that this pregnancy wasn't something I would have ever planned for this time in our lives (it would have been nice to be married first
), but, as I think about this situation more, and begin to plan and cope, I can honestly say I am at peace with how I feel about this pregnancy and parenting right now.
My sole source of frustration and concern comes from my boyfriend. He feels that my desire to continue this pregnancy and try to raise this child discounts the way he feels. I don't know how I can show him that I have listened to his concerns and weighed the decision carefully. It often seems that nothing short of an agreement with him would be adequate to show him that I am open-minded.
He has tried so hard to be here for me, even though he's totally emotionally tapped himself. I want to help him find peace and direction, but I can't offer the one thing that he thinks will bring him that, (namely, an abortion).
I'm beginning to feel like a bad guy here. He has reminded me several times, "This was supposed to be a mutual decision, remember?" I respond by telling him the conversation isn't ended- I DO want to hear and understand his concerns, but I also need to tell him how I feel: As each day passes, my desire to continue this pregnancy increases, and I don't know what it would take for me to be convinced that abortion would be the right thing for all of us.
We've talked about everything from finances, to living, family/social support, personal feelings of readyiness, education needs/desires, the relative strength of our relationship... We've written lists, charted and diagramed our thoughts, (right now he's devising an elaborate point scale!) We've had arbitrators, been counseled and spent private time alone, really thinking about this.
I don't know if we will be able to see eye-to -eye... Right now, if we do not seeking an abortion soon, this is a decision to continue the pregnancy. I know my boyfriend feels that he is trapped by this situation, and feels that he has no leverage whatsoever. The depth of his distress makes me fear that he will harm himself. This is my one main worry.
I'm making him feel trapped, and despite not wanting too, I guess I have "made the decision for us." I keep hoping, that given time, he'll be able to deal with the new reality of the situation... Although he feels he has no options, he still has many important decisions to make. (Support me or no? Stay together and keep working though this, or get out while he can?) Knowing him, however, I don't think he'd be able leave me alone to soley deal with the consequences of our past decisions. He would want to be a part of this child's life, but I think he is really scared by the confusion he feels.
I'm sorry, I've written a marathon. Perhaps i need some objective advice, and I think writing helps me, too. I've read all the other posts in this section, and have been to many of the websites and agencies mentioned.
I guess this is my late-night call for help, advice, encouragement, and if necessary (cringe) a little constructive criticism.
I want my boyfriend to know that he is very important to me... How can I deal with this delicate and fragile situation?
If there is anything that would be important to know, just ask... Also, if I am abusing the post-forum, I'd be willing to corespond via e-mail.
Member # 5092
posted 11-04-2001 06:50 AM
Hey Elaina. Wow, it sound like it has been a really rough couple of weeks for you! You also sound like you have really thought a lot about what you want, what decisions you can live with and you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. While I understand that you value your relationship with your boyfriend, and his feelings about this pregnancy ultimately it is YOUR decision.
Of course your bf is feeling trapped or whatever! He is a young guy, who has to face up to a REALLY big responsibility. But just because he is feeling 'trapped' doesn't mean that his say on what to do is more important than yours, and it doesn't mean that he can act like a jerk (not that he IS acting like a jerk.. I'm just sayin). It is your decision though, how to handle the pregnancy. Even though you tell him you don't want to do anything unless you are both on the same page, it is YOUR body, and you who will have to deal with the consequences and benefits of either abortion or having a baby, you know? Sure, it is a nice thought to include him in your decision, but it is still YOURS to make in the end.
For what it's worth, when I got pregnant at 18, my bf freaked out the same way saying I should have an abortion, and it was several weeks before he came around and accepted that it was my body and my decision to carry my baby. For a while I had really given up hope and resigned myself to going through my pregnancy/motherhood without him around at all. I don't know what it was that changed his mind and made him stick around... I think I made it pretty clear that with or without him I was 100% sure that carrying my baby was the only decision that *I* could live with. Abortion might seem like a good 'solution' to a 'problem' but the truth is having an abortion does not mean that you were pregnant, having an abortion doesn't make things go back the way they were before you were pregnant. It is harder for guys to understand that than for girls.
Anyway. I think I'm rambling now. I really wish I had some better advice for you. I know that you love your boyfriend and all, but it sounds to me like you have made up your mind about what you want. Don't let him pressure you into something you think you will regret.
Hang in there, and please keep posting here! Good luck to you!
Judy & baby Eska
Member # 4154
posted 11-04-2001 11:59 AM
I know nothing about pregnancy or motherhood but all i can say after reading that is let him read what you wrote here. It explains how you feel, it says what you want him to know.
Member # 5036
posted 11-04-2001 12:02 PM
I am glad you've faced this with an an open mind and a desire to be educated about all your options. Good for you.
But wow, that's rough.
The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, it's actually not a mutual decision. It's your decision. It's only "mutual" if he agrees with you, and that's more coincidence than anything else. No, that's not fair, but that's the way it is.
If you are not going to get support from your boyfriend and decide to continue the pregnancy, you need to check in with your family ASAP and establish what kind of support you will find there.
Then you will have most of the information you need to make an informed choice.
Good luck to you, and please come back and let us know how it goes.
Hope this helps, --Bri
Member # 5753
posted 11-05-2001 10:11 PM
It's me again...
Rough night... I got off work and went home to find a very depressed and hopeless boyfriend at my apartment. He had called me to let me know that he was over there, I just hadn't realized how bad he was feeling.
He's been feeling so slow and helpless that he's been cutting himself up. I saw what he did to his arms a week and a half ago- not pretty- but not deep or serious wounds. I'd talked to him then, and a few of our mutual friends had talked with him. I'd just been hoping that the worst was past. But when he admitted to hurting himself today and yesterday... I've been so scared.
I talked to him tonight for as long as I could, asking him questions, trying to get him to think- to snap out of the zombie hopeless destructive mode. I would be so glad if he was angry, upset, crying or sarcastic... at least that would mean he would not be in the state of empty hopeless despair.
He's home now. I made him promise to call me when he got home. I didn't want him to leave- but he eventually just started to say, "I want to be left alone, I'm going home," and he left. After he left my apartment, I called his brother, (who he lives with) and told him that I was worried. It was good talking to his brother- I feel now that his brother will do his best to help him in whatever way he can tonight.
Perhaps the danger tonight has passed... I was just so terrified at the thought of him hurting himself, or killing himself. This is the one thing that has the power to drive me mad with worry and concern- and most of the time I know I can do very little about it. I also felt like tonight my emotions were taking control of me- like the little hormones hijacked the rest of me. I was so upset, I nearly got sick. Well at least he knows that I do care about him.
When I see him tomorrow I will be so grateful, knowing that we've got through another day.
Member # 1896
posted 11-06-2001 01:48 AM
Elaina, I am lost for any good advice for you at the moment, but just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and sending some good energy your way.
Caro ~Scarleteen Sexpert~
"Through repetition the magic will be forced to rise."
Member # 5753
posted 11-06-2001 11:05 PM
Sometimes I feel that is all there is left to do...
I sat with him today at school. He went outside to have a smoke. I chose to stay sitting in the cafe, and tried to re-center myself. I've never really been able to meditate before (noisy brain), but I tried to think of creating energy... Yellow energy like life and intelligence coming from my head, mixing with blue energy like peace from my chest, making this soft green energy that settled in my abdominem. i could only hold it for a few moments, but it was nice to be there in the quiet for a little while.
I felt like saying, "I'm sorry, baby... I'm sorry you can't feel good and green and protected all the time. I'm so sorry you have a mommy who's center is so full of bad feelings and stress and pain." I wanted to be able to keep those energies and wrap them around me, and maybe have enough to share.
If I can fill my whole body, I can fill my hands, and even though he draws back when I touch him, maybe it will be enough.
Tonight he is out with his brother. I am sad and still scared, but I know he is in good company tonight and I hope he will be safe.
Member # 877
posted 11-07-2001 09:48 AM
It sounds like rough times... i hope you're feeling a little better.
while i'm reading this, i feel like you're SO involved in what your boyfriend is feeling, but not so much involved with what's going on with you? I don't know how on the money i am... but i feel like i should be saying "don't worry too much about what he's feeling" but... it just doesn't sound right. I don't want to discount your feelings for him or anything, but this is really YOUR decision.
When i got pregnant, i made the decision to keep my baby on the day i was scheduled for the abortion. My heart was so filled with turmoil then... I had realised that while my boyfriend was (and is) an integral part of my baby's life, he's not the one who is ultimately responsible.
Almost a year later, he still doesn't understand why I "just couldn't have the abortion." - he doesn't have to live with the fact that the baby was once a part of HIM. He felt like his opinion didn't matter to me; when that's really not the case at all.
I had to look at all aspects of what was happening, with us and with me... and I decided that with or without him, I was going to do this. I didn't need his approval to make this decision, probably the most important one of my entire life.
I get the feeling, though... that you already know in your heart about what you need to do for yourself.
[This message has been edited by negative*nancy (edited 11-07-2001).]
Member # 2648
posted 11-07-2001 04:20 PM
I am so sorry, Elaina, that you and your boyfriend having such a difficult time. I'm keeping you and your situation in my thoughts and prayers.
In the end, you really need to do what's best for you. You seem to really care for your boyfriend, but if you did have an abortion for him when you wanted to keep the baby, I'm afraid that later you could blame him, and he would in turn blame you, and things could just get messy. It would be wonderful if the two of you could come to an understanding, but if that just can't happen, you need to be prepared for anything that might come your way.
You said you wanted to keep the baby. Is it out of guilt, that if you had an abortion, you would be taking a baby's life? (My religious beliefs lead me to believe that the soul of the baby only enters the body right at the time of birth, but others don't feel that way.) Or do you want to actually raise the baby? Is adoption an option?
Gosh, I really feel for both you and your boyfriend. You two are doing the right thing in talking to counselors and getting as many opinions as possible, and trying to work it out together, but in the end you'd lose more than just a boyfriend or a baby if you didn't do what you felt to be right in your own heart.
This is a difficult decision, and I'm proud of you for not just rushing into it. I can't even pretend to understand to know what you're feeling right now, but just know we genuinely care, and are here for you. Don't hesitate to talk to us. *big hugs* to you, in your time of need.
"You dance from your heart, you dance what you feel, thats how you know a dancer is real." -Unknown
Member # 5795
posted 11-07-2001 04:23 PM
Wow, Elaina, you have had a rough few weeks there...
My situation was very similar. At 19 years old,I was living with my boyfriend (then 24), planning our wedding (even had a deposit down on the church), when low and behold, I turn up pregnant!
However, I was the one reminding HIM that we had options! I didn't really want an abortion nor did I want to give the baby up for adoption. But I was reluctant to WANT to bring a baby into the world, not knowing exactly how we were going to pay for it, or if the boyfriend would stick around!
My "situation" turned out very good in the long run. My boyfriend and I ran off and got married when I was 2 months pregnant. I had a very rough pregnancy that my husband stuck by me and supported me throughout.
Now we have a beautiful 4 month old daughter named Bailey. I would have liked to have waited until we were older, and married, but things happen the way they do for a reason!
Not all things end like a fairy tale, though. And it did take my husband a good 3 or 4 months (during my pregnancy) for him to be EXCITED about his daughter. It took me about the same amount of time to be sure that we were doing the right thing!
To be sure, you are going to go through some rough times. Life isn't always easy- if it were, we wouldn't appreciate the GOOD times!
I think you really need to sit down and let your boyfriend know what YOU are feeling. You wrote that it needed to be a mutual decision between the two of you for the outcome of this pregnancy... well, it almost sounds as if he isn't really respecting what your thoughts are. If he is getting THAT upset about what you want, and telling you that YOU don't respect what HE wants proves it. Maybe I'm completely off base, but I think he's a bit selfish- which is completely normal for people are age(!) and he might be a little scared that if you have this baby, there won't be enough room in your heart to love him, too.
If you are sure that HE is THE ONE, and you are sure that this baby is something YOU want, then go for it! But you need to let him know that it's what you want. And reassure him that you will always love him...
If you aren't too good at saying things out loud, then write everything down for him.
This baby is coming one way or another. If you don't want to have an abortion, you won't. No amount of arguing or pleading is going to make do that... you need to figure out how you can turn it into a postive thing for your boyfriend.
Besides that, you need to start caring for yourself. Let yourself enjoy your pregnancy!
Okay, after pages and pages of rambling, I hope you got at least a little bit of advice from my post...
Let us know what happens!
Member # 5753
posted 11-08-2001 12:29 AM
Wow, thanks for all the replies, guys.
I am feeling better today. I think part of that comes from having a practically normal day... relatively speaking .
When we talked today I asked him if he could try to remember the reasons why he's loved me and trusted me for so long. He said it was like remembering his old house (before he moved) and the thought was painful to him. I wanted to scream, "I'm still ME!"
I feel like I'm being forgotten.
Negative*nancy, in response to something you mentioned:
>Almost a year later, he still doesn't understand why I "just > couldn't have the abortion."... He felt like his opinion didn't > matter to me; when that's really not the case at all.
That sounds really familar. My boyfriend keeps telling me that I haven't made a concerted effort to see things from his perspective. He describes the process as "wearing another's mask". He doesn't think that I've really tried to see things wearing his mask. Because of this, he feels his opinion and veiwpoint has been completely discarded.
>... I decided that with or without him, I was going to do this. I
> didn't need his approval to make this decision, probably > the most important one of my entire life.
I have told him, explicitly, that because I cannot 100% count on his support in any situation, (abortion, adoption, child-rearing) I must make the decision that I can live with. It makes sense to me... At the same time I fear alienating him... I know trust is pretty hard thing to develop and once gone, grow back.
CrazyGirl, thanks for your comments as well. My reasons for feeling uncomfortable with aborting my pregnancy are pretty complex and deep seated. I realised that they're not just rigid moral beliefs, this has alot more with who I veiw myself to be, how I perceive I'm developing as a person and lots of other stuff... I know raising a child is difficult. I don't imagine that I even know the half of it. I'm willing to put my energy, time and strength into it, and willing to be taught by this experience.
Heather, have you found that most people, married or not, are pretty intimidated by a pregnancy? I mean most people I've talked to, in a variety of situations, all doubted their ability to sucessfully raise a child... It's good to hear that you've been able to make the best of it, because it sounds like both of our situations are/were far from ideal.
Just some extra info- I've been pushing him to discuss how we are going to present his to his parents... If abortion is not the option we are going for, then anything else (adoption, child-rearing) directly affects them. They are going to figure out sooner or later that I am pregnant, wouldn't it be better to present things on our own time and terms?
It's amazing how the tension in this sitution fluctuates from day to day...
Thank you all for your thoughts, energy and prayers.
Member # 5795
posted 11-08-2001 10:13 PM
Oh, yes! I severely doubted my husband's and my parenting skills. I still question is what I'm doing is right or not. I think that if you DIDN'T doubt yourself once in a while, you are not being a good parent!
My dad gave me the best piece of advice I have ever gotton about parenting. He said that I should listen to the advice that everyone was giving me, but to only do what felt right. My daughter's pediatrician seconded that advice. She said that if it feels right for me and Bailey (my daughter) is happy, then it's the right thing to do!
I am still intimidated by being a parent, but as the days (weeks and months!) go by, it does get easier and you tend to second guess yourself less.
I still think you need to reassure your boyfriend that you still love him and that having his child won't make you love him less- hearts don't work like that! They have this amazing ability to grow and grow and grow to hold ALL the love they need to!
Good luck, girl! I hope everything works out for the best, chica...