Making a Plan
When facing any challenging circumstances, creating a cognitive road map is the beginning of positively moving forward. This road map is a plan that will help you and your partner gain information to find solutions together, which can help settle your variable emotions.
In the medical world, the acronym EDC refers to a woman’s “expected date of confinement” or due date. But EDC can also be a helpful way to remember the steps needed to best deal with an unplanned pregnancy: Education, Discussion and Choice.
Research the facts about pregnancy, fetal development, abortion, and alternatives such as parenting and adoption. Initially, abortion may be the option one or both of you prefers. Please take your time and learn about all the options. Even if your circumstances are challenging or you feel unprepared to care for a child right now, there are many good resources to support new parents through pregnancy and afterward.
Make sure you have not been misinformed about any of the options. Holding on to preconceived notions and stereotypes can prevent you from gaining the wisdom and information you need.
Do your best to learn from others who have been in the same position. Maybe you know people who have had abortions, have placed children with adoptive families, or have chosen to become parents earlier than they had planned. If you can, talk with these individuals and get their perspective, or look for people who may have shared their stories on the Internet.
It is important to discuss your findings together and talk openly about the options. Above all, do not pressure your partner into a decision, especially a decision to abort. Although legally it is the woman who makes the final decision regarding abortion, many studies and surveys reveal that men play a central role in women’s decisions to abort and that, in many cases, the women themselves were unsure and had not received much counseling about the alternatives. Post abortion syndrome is very real and its effects can range from depression, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, and addictions to suicide.
Remember, post abortion troubles affect men as well.
If you have not done so before, this is a good time to discuss your goals and plans for your lives with each other. What does success look like to each of you and where does family fit into this? If you are not married, where do you see your relationship going? Many relationships do not survive the emotions abortion can cause, even in cases where both parties agreed on the abortion to begin with.
It is also important to discuss your moral and spiritual convictions. They should play a role in your decision. Studies indicate that those who go against their convictions in choosing to abort often have worse repercussions than those whose decision did not contradict their belief systems.
Although the decision is ultimately hers, you as the father/friend have an important and influential role. Let her know your thoughts, feelings, and desires and then continue to support her. No matter what the outcome, knowing that you did your part will help you move forward with the greatest confidence and the fewest regrets.
It may also be helpful to consult with a third party, whether at LivingWell or somewhere else. Have them mediate the discussion, while you work through the issues and form your conclusions.
If you have fathered a child, the reality is that no choice you make (not even abortion) will enable you to return to life the way it was before. Whatever the two of you decide will impact both your lives forever. Any decision you make will have consequences that you carry through life. However, some decisions add up to a heavy weight that ties you down and causes misery and dysfunction in the future, not only for you but for those you love. Make sure that the choice you make today will not be one of those.