Men are also affected by pregnancy and the decision-making process. It may not be happening to your body as it is for her, but the decision will have consequences for your life. Many men understandably have an emotional conflict. We offer the following information specifically to male partners who are affected by a pregnancy, and who wish to provide support to a friend or loved one who has chosen abortion as their pregnancy option.
How is it going for you?
You may be experiencing many different things. You may want to be strong for your girlfriend, wife, or friend. But you may also feel frightened for her. You may feel guilty. You may, at times, feel excluded. You may be upset and genuinely sad about losing the pregnancy. You may be scared about the future.
Most women want to know how their partners feel. Share what you are thinking and feeling. Talk about it. Your partner will ultimately have to follow her own thoughts and feelings to reach a decision, but it will help her to hear your thoughts and to know that you are genuinely concerned for her well being and her future. All pregnancy decisions are about the future and your plans and hopes for the future are an important piece, so be sure to let her know what you are thinking. The final decision is hers, but your input is valuable.
Putting Feelings into Words
"I feel bad. I feel guilty” Some men feel guilty about “getting a woman pregnant.” Unless you pressured a woman into having sex with you, the responsibility is equal. Try to focus not on who is to blame, but on what you can do now and in the future. Tell your partner that you are sorry. Think about what you can do to prevent future pregnancies. Become more involved in prevention.
“Will we breakup?” This is a difficult time for any relationship, but it could grow stronger if you take the time to talk and support one another. Show that you care. Be patient.
“I wanted this baby. It’s so sad.” If you had hoped to continue the pregnancy, your sense of loss may be great. People who suffer a loss need an opportunity to grieve in some way. It is important that you find someone to talk to - someone who will listen and provide support. A counselor or a close friend may be helpful to you. There are some good books on grieving a pregnancy loss. (See: www.choicelinkup.com)
"I feel bad because I'm not a good provider.” Sometimes men feel like a failure because they can't afford a child -- or another child. More and more families are relying on two paychecks to get by. You may feel that even if you take on extra work, your working all the time means you can't be with her or with your children. Or, you may feel that even though it will be hard, it's worth having another child. Share your thoughts with her and talk it through together. It may be you both set a goal to become more financially stable so that you can provide for a child in the future.
“I’m uncomfortable with abortion but I’m not really ready to have a child with her.” Most men and women ultimately make a decision based not only on what is right for them individually, but also on what a child of theirs deserves. Money is important, but so is the strength of your relationship together, and how much attention you can offer a child. If you have religious or spiritual issues with abortion, consider talking to someone in your faith who will not judge you.
Show Her You Care
1. Let her know you’re sorry that she is the one who has to go through this physically.
2. Check in with her often to see how she’s feeling. If either of you are having a hard time, get help. Start by calling the office where she had the abortion.
3. Do something special for her...flowers, a gift, a love letter.
4. Be affectionate, but be prepared for her not wanting to be sexual. You may feel rejected, but remember that she connects sexual intercourse with this situation.
5. Be understanding about the symptoms of pregnancy. Nausea, tiredness, irritability and moodiness are all pregnancy symptoms. Most will go away a few days after the abortion.
6. Read the aftercare instructions she is given. Have pain medication available and maybe a heating pad or hot water bottle. Help her fill her prescriptions or keep track of her medicines if she needs that. To avoid infection she should not have intercourse for two weeks (follow instructions of facility.)
7. Help with birth control. Use condoms. Help pay for other birth control options.
For more information on Men and Abortion, please visit www.menandabortion.com.
This section adapted from: “After Her Abortion for Parents, Male Partners and Friends” by Anne Baker The Hope Clinic for Women, Granite City, IL and from “Pregnancy Options Workbook,” and “Especially for Men” Northland Family Planning Centers.
For more resources, go to www.ChoiceLinkup.com.