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How am I supposed to tell my husband I'm pregnant when we're not ready for a baby?
March 20, 2012 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm pregnant, at the worst possible time. Help.

I got married a month ago. It was a hurried wedding, because my husband has been unexpectedly deployed. He is now gone, and will be out of the country till November.

And he's not ready for a baby. We had the talk a few months ago, and he wasn't even really ready to have the discussion about when we would have kids. I was on birth control, but I ran out three days before he left and stupidly thought I would be okay.

Well, I missed a period last weekend and I checked today using a drugstore test and it says I'm pregnant. I have no idea how to tell my husband. I know he's going to be very angry, and I don't know how to say I'm sorry. I've screwed up royally, and until I can get up the guts to tell him via phone, I have no one I can talk to about this.

Please give me some advice on how to handle this, if you've ever had to have this discussion, if you've ever dealt with a pregnancy that you were completely unprepared for. I'm in over my head and I need all the help I can get.

Throwaway email newlywedwithchild@yahoo.com

(If you feel the need to berate me about not being smart with birth control, feel free to keep that to yourself, please. No one could be harder on me about that than me right now.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (51 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is there any reason, realistically speaking, that you cannot get an abortion? If there isn't, and I'm not the one who's making that choice, you might want to look at this.
posted by dekathelon at 10:35 AM on March 20, 2012 [22 favorites]


Babies always come at the worst possible time and end up being the best thing that ever happened. Tell him. If he is angry about it and leaves then lucky you for not wasting 10 years of your life on a jerk.
posted by myselfasme at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Take a deep breath. Before anything else happens, decide if YOU want to have a baby. Just you. Get clear on your own feelings, or anyway as clear as you can. It doesn't have to be a definite decision; your feelings are valid no matter what they are, and it is definitely OK to be willing to either give birth or terminate depending on your husband's feelings, for example. But if you don't take the time to find out what your feelings are, they could make themselves known in a very messy fashion down the line.
posted by KathrynT at 10:38 AM on March 20, 2012 [91 favorites]


Your question doesn't tell us how you feel about this, other than anxious about telling your husband. I'd say you should certainly not jump to an abortion until you have thought about this.

As a guy who's not ready for a baby, but who is getting married soon: I may not be ready to start family planning yet, but that doesn't mean I'd be angry if my wife were pregnant, nor does it mean I wouldn't want the baby if it happened. Talk to him, don't assume he'll be angry.

On preview, what KathrynT says.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


My first thought is for you to look at abortion. This obviously depends on your philosophic and religious beliefs, but if it really would be so terrible to have a baby, it is an option to look at.

Don't berate yourself too much about the birth control issue. I'm a bit confused about what type you were using, but even on most birth control methods, there's about a 10% chance of getting pregnant. You may want to look at getting an IUD in the future because they are one of the most effective methods (but even with that pregnancy can happen!)

You just need to tell him and go over your options together. You guys are a team, and while I understand how scary it is to tell him, he needs to know.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:42 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


My first thought is to see a doctor. I think you should be sure before you make any decisions.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


As much as I would like to admit that abstinence is not the only 100% successful birth control...

Every single time a guy sticks his cock in a woman, and they aren't otherwise sterile -- hell, even after tubal ligations or vasectomies! -- it's possible to create a pregnancy. A very, very slim possibility in some cases, but it's there. So, yeah, you may have run out of birth control, and yeah, none of us thinks it'll happen to us (which is why your husband had sex with you, assuming he was protected), but it does. And when it does, it's not just you.

He made the decision to have sex with you, and he could have gotten you pregnant even when you were using your birth control absolutely as directed. Birth control fails sometimes. It's not just you.

Take time to figure out what your options are. Then take time to figure out what you would do in each case, whether you're with him or on your own (figuratively or literally).

It'll be hard, but you are so, so far from being the only spouse who got pregnant while their spouse was deployed. You've got resources. Including Dr. AskMe (who shares a practice with Dr. Internet).

You can do this -- whatever "this" is.
posted by Madamina at 10:47 AM on March 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


Hey, I just had a courthouse wedding (last Friday! Yay!) because of deployment as well. Congrats on that part.

The baby part is harder, but completely doable. So yeah, ask your self some questions, write down the answers if it helps you think more clearly and less frantically. Emotional is fine, this is a really remotional situation.

It looks like your husband will be home right around your due date, is that correct?

What kind of support system do you have around you? Perhaps you have different sets of friends who would be more suited to helping you through an abortion and other friends who are more suited to helping you get ready for a baby.

Would your husband, really ultimately be mad? Deployment is crazy stressful, its not surprising that he couldn't wrap his mind aroudn it enough even to have a conversation. From my experience, when you get deployed you think a lot about dying. Now that you are actually, not conceptually pregnant, perhaps it is a different story.

Do you have the kind of relationship where you can have these scary, heavy, conversations? I hope so, because there will be more to come, its time to learn how to do it.

Then lastly, ask yourself what is right for you. That is what should ultimately dictate the conversation and decision.
posted by stormygrey at 10:47 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


After you confirm you really are pregnant, I advise telling him sooner rather than waiting. It is always harder when you wait.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:47 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I got pregnant about a month after my fiancee told me he wanted to wait five years before having children (to have a more stable life because he was in school). A side effect of sex is pregnancy; as noted above, children rarely come at a good time. I don't think you need to feel he is the first one you have to tell since this is obviously something you are struggling with and he is inaccessible. Tell a close friend/family member and talk over your feelings and options.
posted by saucysault at 10:49 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


but even on most birth control methods, there's about a 10% chance of getting pregnant

What? No.
Feel free to go talk to someone at Planned Parenthood to get accurate information on the risks and benefits of various birth control options.

In fact, talking to Planned Parenthood is probably a great idea in your situation now, if you want to explore all of the options that are available to you. They do, after all, have trained counselors who can walk you through all options and possibilities. Whether you do so before or after you speak with your husband probably depends on the relationship you have with him - do you know if he would want you to mull over this/do research before breaking the news to him, or after? This is something that probably only you can answer, based on how well you know him and his preferences.
posted by vivid postcard at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2012 [25 favorites]


Babies always come at the worst possible time and end up being the best thing that ever happened. Tell him. If he is angry about it and leaves then lucky you for not wasting 10 years of your life on a jerk.

Please do not listen to myselfasme. None of that is necessarily true. Babies can absolutely be planned for and do NOT have to come at the worst possible time. You and your husband have the opportunity to decide when you want to start a family, together and taking into consideration all the factors - money, deployment, age, the kind of help you might expect from your family and friends, jobs, health, you do not have to accept this as a given.

A baby now might also NOT be the best thing that's ever happened. That's a rosy view and in it's rosiness it is myopic.

Decide whether you're ready to be a parent right now. Decide whether you're ready to be a single parent, too, because you can't force your husband to stick around, though you can get child support. Decide whether your finances are in order. Decide whether your body is healthy enough for you to comfortably have and raise children.

If you want, you can have an abortion. You can. You don't even have to tell your husband. You don't.

If you want to continue with the pregnancy, ask someone you trust for advice on how to break the news to him, even if all you need is a sounding board for verbalizing it. You will make the right choice for you and your family, just find some support outside of your own head, there's no need for you to stress about this alone.
posted by lydhre at 10:53 AM on March 20, 2012 [57 favorites]


Don't feel to guilty about the pill mess-up. It happens to many women, some of them luck out and don't get pregnant, some do. And don't feel for a second like this is entirely your fault and your husband has a right to be mad at you. Since he decided to have sex with you without a drastic form of birth control, he also made the decision of running the risk.

So, I think you should communicate your news to him without being too apologetic, and then you guys should decide what to do together. Prepare by defining your own limitations are (is an abortion on the table? would you consider giving up the baby for adoption?, etc.) and have a clear, honest conversation with him.
posted by Tarumba at 10:53 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


but even on most birth control methods, there's about a 10% chance of getting pregnant

What? No.


Planned parenthood's comparison chart.

I'm averaging this out to get the 10%. But if you look at the data on the pill, if it's not taken exactly as it's supposed to (which could be even taking it later in the day, depending on the pill), there's a 9% chance.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


And he's not ready for a baby.

Do you want that to keep it? If you are on the same page; you can take care of it yourself. He doesn't have to know if you don't want to tell.

If you are not willing to take that route, or if you do want to keep it, then there's really no option other then to tell.

But you need to go to the doctor first and confirm everything. Next step after that is decide what you want to do.
posted by spaltavian at 10:58 AM on March 20, 2012


As a guy I'd say this is a shared 'problem' of you both, not just you.
So tell him. Now.

As far as the 'problem': now you know where babies come from.
That sounds glib. But what I mean is: a lot of people are the result of this kind of accident. And a lot of men find out that kids are actually quite awesome in a way they hadn't considered for themselves yet.
So one way of looking at it is that it will be ok in the end. Life unfolding a bit less scripted than you two had expected.
If you two find yourself on the same page after some good talking.
Which is hard to do across a great distance. So contact eachother often to share your feelings and thoughts.

And if you chose abortion that's your choice as well of course.
posted by joost de vries at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Babies always come at the worst possible time and end up being the best thing that ever happened.

This is, frankly, irresponsible advice. If it were true, there would be no babies to adopt, no children to foster, no need for an entire infrastructure devoted to both family planning and child welfare. Speaking of which, there's a reason the word "plan" is in concepts like "family planning" and "Planned Parenthood." I don't know what your views on this are, but from a purely practical standpoint you do not have to have this child. If you intend on having it, you don't have to raise it.
posted by griphus at 11:03 AM on March 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


Well, every time that I have been pregnant and not wanted a baby, I've gotten an abortion, though I understand that that may not be your choice.

It sucks that your husband isn't here to talk through the options with you. I wish you all the best with whatever you decide to do.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I went through an incredibly similar situation years ago, down to finding out I was pregnant the week he deployed. Please feel free to memail me if you need someone to talk to.

KathrynT's advice is excellent and is exactly what I recommend you focus on right now. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to first give some thought to what you want and need right now.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2012


I don't know how to say I'm sorry. I've screwed up royally,

You are being so, so hard on yourself. I wish I could give you a hug. I think it would help a lot if you could find some compassion for yourself. If your best friend got pregnant at a bad time, would you blame her and think she was a terrible person? Or would you say, that's life, and comfort her, and try to help her forgive herself?

I hope you can forgive yourself - sure, you didn't take some pills, but you thought you would be okay. You'd act differently in hindsight, but we all make mistakes.

I think that having some compassion for yourself will help you approach the conversation with your husband.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2012 [38 favorites]


Hopefully someone with some knowledge of the military can add details, but perhaps you can seek out some assistance - if only someone to talk to who has experience with similar questions - from the base your husband is associated with?
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:17 AM on March 20, 2012


Also, please keep in mind that if you do choose to terminate the pregnancy, your husband doesn't have some sort of magic husband veto power. As a family unit, you should, of course, consider his views, but you, the person carrying the child, will make the decision it and live out the consequences. It will be your body that will carry the child, your body that will deliver it, your body that will feed it. Depending on your household arrangement, you may also be responsible for the brunt of the child-rearing as well. What happens next is in your hands.
posted by griphus at 11:21 AM on March 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Please help the poster with her problem: how to discuss this with her husband; how to handle an unplanned pregnancy happening at a difficult time. Do not argue with each other. Do not turn this into a discussion on various forms of birth control, family planning, or pro/anti abortion. Calm down, focus, and help the OP. Thanks. ]
posted by taz at 11:22 AM on March 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I am with Tarumba's first comment. Others have addressed the logistics helpfully above, but I want to reiterate that I hope you don't blame yourself and that your husband does not have a legitimate cause to be angry. It's a two-person situation; the responsibility isn't all on you.
posted by mlle valentine at 11:23 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


As part of a military family I'll weigh in.

First I would visit the doc and make sure that you didn't get a false positive. I'm sure you are doing a lot of thinking right now but there are always 'options' for you not to be pregnant. I would want to get in touch with my husband to talk abut this and there are people who can make this happen.

Call your ombudsman. I'm not sure what branch you are in, it may have a different name but they are there for exactly this purpose: to serve as a liaison between the military and you. Talk to them about your situation (they have seen it before.) Call your base family services office and let them direct you.

All the best to you
posted by ibakecake at 11:24 AM on March 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Another vote here for thinking through your own feelings before you tell your husband. Your needs matter just as much as your husband's. Also, I'll point out that for many women, the pregnancy hormones can really play with your emotions. I am not saying that to diminish your worry, but I think it's worth keeping in mind as you figure this out.
posted by stowaway at 11:28 AM on March 20, 2012


I would normally hesitate to encourage a lack of candor in a marriage, but could you tell your husband you're pregnant without telling him about the birth control mishap? As others have said, it's completely possible to get pregnant while taking the pill (so this could have happened anyway, and it might not be a result of your mistake). You can view this as two separate decisions: how/when/whether to tell him that you're pregnant, and how/when/whether to tell him about the problems with your pills.

Given that you're so worried about the former right now, I might suggest starting by just talking about that. Tell him you're pregnant (once you confirm that you actually are, of course), see how he reacts, and talk about that. That's the first conversation and starts you on the path to working together to decide what you want to do about the pregnancy. Then, later, if you decide it's the right thing for you and him and your marriage, you can tell him about the problem with your birth control. But you don't have to talk about one to talk about the other, and I think the first order of business is confirming that you're pregnant and then telling your husband about that, since there's more urgency there in terms of planning for your future.

I hope that whatever you decide to do, you're able to find a way through this is that is right for your family. One way or another, everything will be okay. You just need to get through this initial crisis and let the person you've chosen as your life partner help and support you as you figure out how to handle this as a family.
posted by decathecting at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


P.S. Before you run this through his chain of command you need to be really sure that you are pregnant. So, go to the doctor and get a decisive answer before you go to the command. Otherwise it is looked upon as really poor form, and this could theoretically cause bad things to happen to him professionally. In some situations getting him a message from the military or the red cross is very expensive and not always compliant with the mission of his unit or whatever. In the end they may not be able to do this depending on his branch/situation/deployment paperwork which I really hope you are listed on. Unfortunately, part of being married to the military are these situations. Know that people are here to help you.

memail me if you need help with anything
posted by ibakecake at 11:39 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel for you, anonymous. This isn't what you wanted.

Your question is "how do I talk to my husband about this?", and your fear is that he'll be angry.

Well, yes. He might be. There are going to be things in your life that make your husband angry. Now is the time to get used to it.

Really. What is the other choice? Lying to your new husband? Making a unilateral decision about the future baby without his input? Do you want to start your marriage with that kind of decision and possible lie-by-omission between you? I think you probably do not.

It would be a relationship-ending decision for my wife, whom I love with all my heart, to choose to abort while never even telling me or soliciting my input. I'm completely certain about that. Yes, it is her right, but no, it isn't ethical, or fair, or right to deny your *husband* input, or to lie to him about it.

I support decathecting's comment above, where he or she advocates simply telling him you are pregnant. There's no need to fall on any sword and say that it is all your fault. Sex entails risk of pregnancy, always. We can quibble about the percentage of risk, but there's always the chance. You both took that chance, and now things are inconvenient.

Talk to your man. Be straight about it. Set the tone for your whole marriage. Let that tone be "when I am confused and upset and don't know what to do, I want to talk to you, my man."

Be certain first, do go to a doctor, but if things are confirmed talk to him, straight out. If he is worthy of you, he'll talk to you instead of simply being angry, he will want to figure out what to do, and he deserves the truth. He'll support you, please let him do so.
posted by Invoke at 11:50 AM on March 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


Please do take time to think about how you really feel about this. Get the proper test from your doctor. And remember, please, that you do have time. Try to get to a place where you are ready to talk to your husband as soon as possible - but even then, you two still have time to decide. Nothing has to happen today, or tomorrow, or even within days. Give yourself time to breathe, and think.

Can I offer a suggestion that worked for me? I have a good relationship with our family's GP, who cares for my husband, our daughter and me. She told me to privately spend one day being really really happy about it, treating it as a great surprise and a gift and taking wonderful care of myself and make plans as if it's the best news, and focus on what would be gained and how we'd feel years down the road. Then, spend a day as normally as possible, but being aware of everything that would change, how different things would be, and all that we'd be losing and how hard it would be on us and think about the every single day from now on part of it. Be mindful, take notes, write the pros and cons. In the end, one page significantly outweighed the other for us - and then more to consider was piled on, which decided it for us.

When you talk about it with him, please don't blame yourself. Your birth control just isn't/wasn't 100% effective even when taken properly. Whether or not the problem was the three-day lapse, other things like a stomach flu and vomiting or things that interfere with the effectiveness of birth control could have led to the same result. And so, the real issue is the unplanned pregnancy, not how it happened, and not whose fault. Verify. Keep it simple Use positive communication and interaction techniques. Hopefully he's not the kind of guy that doesn't realize it takes two to tango. Hopefully, any anger, if any, won't last forever. Don't forget that he loves you.
posted by peagood at 12:00 PM on March 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I am a female, and I've never been in the armed forces, and I've never been to the Middle East (is that where he's deployed?), but I am guessing that given his situation, he is feeling seriously helpless and lacking control over his life. Isn't that kind of the definition of the military?

I agree with others above that there is a serious absence of "you" in your question...find a sympathetic and trustworthy friend who will insist on reviewing YOUR feelings before speculating about your spouse's.

I would guess that any reaction he has to the news if you choose to share it would be colored by my first paragraph. I suspect his reaction would be different if he were 1) home, 2) not in combat, 3) in control of his life.

I think your best next move is to find a sympathetic and NON-INVESTED listener - be that friend, therapist, or relative - and talk through what is best for YOU. There are many optiions.

My best to you. Hugs and good thoughts.
posted by Punctual at 12:01 PM on March 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


A lot of things are definitely going on here, so I'd like to address this one by one.

First, I'd like to counter other posters who said, tell him right away. I myself had an unplanned pregnancy, and I did not do that, and am so, so glad-for reasons having nothing to do with abortion, and everything to do with taking some time to get myself sane. You are obviously stressed and freaking out right now. Set a date that you will not tell your husband before-it could be three days, or a week. Not telling him this instant isn't withholding information-it's coming up with a game plan.

Nthing figure out what you want to do about the baby. Do you want to keep it? Do you think that it would be a bad idea right now? Think hard about this, but not too long: you are on a timeframe. Definitely go to a doctor and figure out: those strips are the occasionally inaccurate devil.

Then figure out what your husband is likely to say about this. If you come to him with a plan, or with options for a plan, it is much more likely to be a productive discussion.

Also agreeing that before a deployment, other things are on the mind than babies. It is quite possible that he might have been better about it at another time.
posted by corb at 12:01 PM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know he's going to be very angry, and I don't know how to say I'm sorry. I've screwed up royally, and until I can get up the guts to tell him via phone, I have no one I can talk to about this.

By the way, you guys BOTH made the baby! Not just you! This is your collective issue. Please do not, under any circumstances, allow him to "blame" you for sex resulting in a baby!
posted by Punctual at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


And, you don't actually know for sure that he will be angry. He might be in shock/angry at first, but then come around to being excited. It's not the first time it's happened.
posted by Vaike at 12:14 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I got pregnant while taking birth control. It happens.

My husband was far from angry with me for it.

We have a beautiful six month old daughter now.

If your husband is angry at you for being pregnant, you may need to have some discussion with yourself about what that means for your marriage. If he's angry about the pregnancy in general because the timing is so poor, that's okay. He's allowed those feelings, but it shouldn't be anger with you.

You sound so scared and so small right now. Please don't be hard on yourself. Please be incredibly gentle with yourself, and please think about what you want to do.

When I was in your situation, I did the following in this order:

1. Got prenatal vitamins while I sorted myself out.
2. Got more pregnancy tests to take to make sure --- different brands.
3. Called my nurse practitioner for an appointment where I was tested and looked at again.
4. Decided what I wanted to do.
5. Prepared for morning sickness (this was my second pregnancy)
6. In my case, started looking for a midwife.

I recommend you do the first three more or less in that order. Allow yourself some breathing room -- I found my breathing room by going through the motions of early pregnancy and doing the things that needed to be done. 1 - 3 can be done now. 4 will come. And importantly, you don't have to do anything today.
posted by zizzle at 12:20 PM on March 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Vaike: As a husband who hasn't been in this situation, but was once "anti-kids" anyway, I agree 110% percent. And, anonymous, don't forget that what you may perceive as anger may be fear (or sheer terror).
posted by jferg at 12:21 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hopefully someone with some knowledge of the military can add details, but perhaps you can seek out some assistance - if only someone to talk to who has experience with similar questions - from the base your husband is associated with?

The OP may already know this, but since she's potentially somewhat new to the military community, I'll throw it in anyways. As a family member, as well as as a servicemember, you can speak confidentially to military chaplains. If you ask to do so, you can speak to them confidentially without them notifying the command or your husband. On the other hand, when you decide to tell your husband, they can work with you to figure out how best to do that. This kind of support for the families of deployed servicemembers is an important part of their job, regardless of whether the people involved are religious or not.
posted by Jahaza at 12:21 PM on March 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Echoing ibakecake and others,

If you're really worried about how he will respond under stress to this conversation, you could get a third party, like the unit chaplain or doctor, involved (even if you're not religious). They are trained to deal with difficult family situations and can be present during the phone call and help make sure that the conversation happens under the best possible circumstances--I got a different sort of 'bad news' while deployed, and the Mormon chaplain was very compassionate and helpful.

The unit should also have a family services person (who might be a full time employee or spouse of one of the officers) who should be able to hook you up with the contact information. Involving the chaplain doesn't mean that you're involving his chain of command.
posted by _cave at 12:24 PM on March 20, 2012


There's a lot of weirdness in this thread, kind of a hotbutton issue I suppose. Clearly, you need to go see your doctor, get a 100% sure test first before you make many (if any) more decisions.

Actually, before I go any further, let me clarify that I am a man, and my unmarried partner and I had our little boy 15 months ago. We didn't exactly "plan" it, but we didn't attempt to "prevent" it either.

Ignore everything I'm about to say if you fear for your safety. If that's the case, please tell us and we'll get you whatever help you need.

So I'm not a lady and you're welcome to dump my advice in the toilet, HOWEVER I do have strong opinions on the difference between a "man" and a "boy" and "love" and "fear." So to that end, from my perspective, you need to tell him. Wait a couple days until your brain has caught up, but don't wait, you know, months. You don't need to know what you want to do about it, but you need to tell him. You're married, you love each other, don't keep secrets. Even if you elect to terminate, and you don't tell him---you'll always carry that and it will tear you apart.

I don't know how old you are, or what your economic situation is like, or any of those bits of information, but I want to assure you that you can do this---and that you're not as bad off as maybe you think you are. You said "deployed", and we're thinking "military" but maybe it's "state service" or "oil company" or something, but if it's military and you're married, you have access to pretty great healthcare and social workers and a decent host of services IF you request them.

I disagree with the folks picking on myselfasme, because while what he/she said was a little overly simplistic, I don't think these are things that should be engineered, and also I think LOTS of people take themselves FAR too seriously.

Oh, and if you decide to take some vitamins, watch out for high Iron. It'll make you nauseous, which can scare you if it's new to you.
posted by TomMelee at 12:55 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but I don't think the arguments about birth control statistics are appropriate here. Could those who want to argue please take it to MetaTalk?

OP, I agree with everyone who's said to take a deep breath and decide how you feel about this (not how you think your husband will feel). Then discuss it with someone who cares about you and who you trust. Hopefully it will be easier to decide how to discuss this with your husband once you've figured out which way your own internal compass is pointing. Hugs to you!

P.S.: Dealing with hard, unexpected situations together is a huge part of being married, so don't worry too much--working this out with you one way or another is part of your husband's job description.
posted by anonnymoose at 1:18 PM on March 20, 2012


married people can and do abort for many personal reasons.there is no shame in that. only you know your relationship well enough to know what happens next.

if you're utterly committed partners who can have the big talks calmly while thinking the best of each other, tell him. if you're nervous, involve a third party. however, if your relationship is fraught, maybe with some jealousy issues and he's prone to fly off the handle, you'll want a firm handle on what you want/need before you speak to him.

i think how much you include him really depends on who each of you are. it is absolutely your right to terminate your pregnancy without his input if that's what you decide. it might not be the best for your relationship if he finds out, but that doesn't mean it's unilaterally a bad choice. look at your own situation and decide. whatever you decide won't be wrong because it'll be the best you can do at the moment you decide it.
posted by nadawi at 1:52 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's easy to see why he wouldn't want to plan for a baby at this time. But that doesn't mean he won't be happy about one anyway. Some men never really get the 'baby urge' that's common in women - but when one 'just happens', they get into it. Don't rush into an abortion without speaking to him.

I hate to say this - but if anything happened to your husband - would be glad you still had a baby, or would it just be another difficult thing to deal with?
posted by KateViolet at 1:58 PM on March 20, 2012


i have had this conversation with my husband (well, slightly different circumstances, in that we'd been married for about 2.5 years and already had a 15-month-old), and it was really hard. i didn't think he was going to be mad, but i did know that he was of the "one & done" mentality, while i was (and am) undecided about having a second (my daughter was a very challenging infant). i took a home pregnancy test (not b/c i thought i was pregnant, but b/c i needed to start a new prescription medication), and the test was positive. the next day i called my OB/GYN, had a blood test done, & received the results confirming that i was pregnant. i was devastated & scared & totally unprepared (like i said, my daughter was VERY challenging). i didn't want to tell him, but i did.

my advice to you is: (1) confirm by blood test and (2) find someone you can talk to. if you truly believe that you can't talk to your husband right now, talk to anyone you feel you can trust. after talking to my husband (who was in shock & not particularly helpful during our first conversation), i cried a lot, called my sister, told her about my "friend" who was in this situation, talked about my "friend's" options, emailed my best friend from high school (i'm in my early 30s), word vomited everywhere, emailed a friend i knew had had an abortion, cried a ton, and just ... cried.

in my circumstances, i didn't have a lot of time to decide what i wanted to do -- i was already almost 12 wks pregnant when i found out -- but hopefully you have some time to really sort out what YOU want. which can be hard enough anyway.


it is a hard conversation to have. but presumably you married him b/c you love him, & he loves you, so hopefully you can trust in that.

i really feel for you. please feel free to memail me if you want to talk more.
posted by oh really at 2:10 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had a toddler and a two month old when my last pregnancy test turned blue (that's what they did back then iirc)....it was a shock.

First thing you need to do is take time to absorb this yourself. As stated above you should have access to a chaplain, at least. And I agree with those above that say you should confirm this in a doctor's office.

Also if you are in the Ft Bragg area and want a real person to talk to, memail me.

One other thing. Theoretical timing on children is one thing, but once one is on the way, he might surprise you at how cool he is about it.

One of my children turned up pregnant without wedlock, at a very inconvenient time, and not intentionally. Interestingly enough my very first thought was NOT that my daughter had "screwed up her life".

My first thought was, "I'm going to be a GRANDMA."

If your husband loves you, and I am sure he does, he will work thru his emotions. You may be very pleasantly surprised.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:34 PM on March 20, 2012


First, as mentioned, confirm that you are pregnant.

I am actually of two minds about how much thinking about how you want to handle this you should do on your own before talking to your husband. I guess I'm thinking that it'd be really messy if you were to decide on your own that you really want to keep this baby, and your husband says he really isn't ready. Or you make up your mind to abort or give up the child and your husband says he thinks he is. I do think you should absolutely keep your own feelings and "readiness" about this potential pregnancy in mind and not dismiss them to cater to him, but I think (hope) that regardless of his feelings about if or how it happened, your husband would want to emotionally support his wife and make the decision together. If that's not the type of marriage that you have, I'm really sorry.

And, I have dealt with an unexpected pregnancy. I miscarried before I even knew I was pregnant. My ex and I had recently broken up, but I felt duty-bound to tell him. It was intense, but I appreciated his support even though it was rather bittersweet - there was no saving the relationship, and... he would have wanted it; I probably would not have.
posted by sm1tten at 5:49 PM on March 20, 2012


1. Try to stop being hard on yourself. It happens, mtv have built several series out of it.

2. Get a proper test from your doctor so you know for sure.

3. Tell your husband if you think it's something you can share with him - for eg, if you think he will react violently it's your decision alone, otherwise it's a decision you share - regardless of what he's expressed in the past, it's his baby too. If you decide not to have it, he should be part of that decision UNLESS HE IS A VIOLENT PRICK. In which case, his feelings are irrelevant - but if he's not a violent arsehole then his feelings need to be considered too, and so far you have only canvassed them in the abstract not directly asked him.

4. This is not a decision you should make alone (violent prick-ness notwithstanding). He is your husband, by marrying you he agreed to share life decisions and, while ultimately it's your body, your decision; if you agreed to be a partner to him this is something you share. Can you talk to your mum, his mum, a counsellor, your best mate, a priest? Are there any counselling services available through being a military wife? There are in the countries in which I've lived, I'm sure there is in the US too.

Best of luck to you.
posted by goo at 8:02 PM on March 20, 2012


sm1tten mentioned miscarriage above. Not to be morbid or anything, but that is a very real possibility, so if you have only missed the one period, I would wait a month before making any decision as your body may make that decision for you. Apparently it's very very common. Many people have "late periods" which are actually miscarriages and it's possible this could happen to you too.

Visit the doctor's office and get tested, if you haven't already. Then get a follow up test a few days later. The change numbers will be a better indication of whether this is a stable pregnancy or not. Then you can start making a decision on this.

There are some things you can keep from your husband, and some things you can't. Find out from your doctor if termininating the pregnancy this early will have any effect on having a child in the future. If it won't and you fear that his response will be violent (if so, why did you marry him?!?) then obviously don't tell him. But I think that you should tell him that this is going on. I think you don't have to tell him about the birth control. People get accidentally pregnant for all kinds of reasons. If he asks for details, just remind him that no birth control is 100% effective. I think the 99.9% effectiveness rating means that for every 1000 couples that use birth control, one couple becomes pregnant, and that rating actually requires more rigorous methods (taking at exactly the right time, etc) than normal usage. If he keeps prying tell him that you're as upset about it as he is, and that it's important to focus on addressing the problem, rather than on assignng blame. This is a good pattern to establish early on in the marriage anyway.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:58 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the OP:
Thanks all for the kind words. I really needed it.

He was able to get a weekend pass before he actually left the country (he had been out of state for training) and so I got to tell him in person, while we were lying in bed together. He was super-sweet and not blaming or upset-seeming at all. I really credit him for being so calm when we had previously discussed how he wasn't going to be ready to talk about having kids for years. But now I think he's a little excited and so am I. We've decided to keep the baby.

I love him and we can't wait to raise this surprise together.
posted by jessamyn at 4:47 AM on March 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm so glad this worked out for you! Congrats :)
posted by DoubleLune at 6:29 AM on March 28, 2012


That's so cool! Good of you guys to be such great partners just one month into marriage. You have a good future ahead. And congrats on your bravery!
posted by Vaike at 9:19 AM on March 28, 2012


Yay! I hope it works out for you all!
posted by goo at 7:25 PM on March 29, 2012


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