Wedding Woes

Fork in the unwanted pregnancy road

Dear Prudence, 
I got married just a few months ago and found out last week, to my shock, that I’m eight weeks pregnant, despite being on long-term birth control. Frankly, I’m devastated, as I’m in my early 20s and my husband and I didn’t want to have children for at least another five years. I’m now faced with an excruciating choice. On one hand, we do eventually want to have children, but I’m now terrified that I’ll resent having this child since it will drastically alter all we planned to do together before kids (travel, establish our careers, save money); on the other hand, I’m afraid that I’ll live with guilt forever if I don’t have the baby. How will I feel when I have future children if I don’t have this one? I am dealing with anger as well, since we did everything we could to avoid this situation and yet here we are. My husband says he will support either choice, but I can tell he’s hurting as well. Am I a horrible person for even considering this given that I’m in a pretty stable situation, relationally and financially?

—Pregnancy Shock

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Re: Fork in the unwanted pregnancy road

  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
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    The only 100% effective form of birth control is abstinence.  Kids do change everything, but it doesn't make anything impossible.  Is anyone really ready to be a parent?  If LW is "devastated" to discover she's pregnant, I don't know if she'd ever be ready to have kids.

    I am pro-choice, now, and forever, but I feel like this exact letter is the reason why abortion is such a huge deal right now.  I don't know about her being horrible, but if I got pregnant tomorrow, my first thought would NOT be "Shit, shit, I need an abortion."

    Do what you need to do, but in this day and age, both parents can successfully establish careers and save money and be parents.  Don't look for the easy way out.

    Quite honestly, I find this letter disgusting.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    DrillSergeantCatSherbie25JeeGooDowster
  • DD was a surprise after 4 months of marriage.  

    Do I resent getting pregnant so soon sometimes?  Yes.  It was my first year teaching, I had a horrible pregnancy, a traumatic birth, and parenting has been ROUGH.  It does change a lot.

    But I don't regret having her.  She is my life and my love.  She is absolutely terrible sometimes (she's in the terrible twos now), but she can also make me smile and laugh like no other.  H feels the same way.

    I'm not judging her or anyone for how they feel.  But the truth is, parenting will ALWAYS be hard, regardless of when you have your kid(s).  It's never easy.  It's always life changing.  But to me it's always worth it.  

    SaveSave
    short+sassy
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    The only 100% effective form of birth control is abstinence.  Kids do change everything, but it doesn't make anything impossible.  Is anyone really ready to be a parent?  If LW is "devastated" to discover she's pregnant, I don't know if she'd ever be ready to have kids.

    I am pro-choice, now, and forever, but I feel like this exact letter is the reason why abortion is such a huge deal right now.  I don't know about her being horrible, but if I got pregnant tomorrow, my first thought would NOT be "Shit, shit, I need an abortion."

    Do what you need to do, but in this day and age, both parents can successfully establish careers and save money and be parents.  Don't look for the easy way out.

    Quite honestly, I find this letter disgusting.
    Abortion is never an easy way out. It's often a difficult and emotional decision for anyone. And even if it isn't a difficult decisions, she still shouldn't be shamed for feeling the way she does. If she's devastated maybe shoudnt have a child now, but just because she's married doesn't mean she has to continue the pregnancy. This is a legal choice LW to make, and it doesn't make her a horrible person if she chooses not to go through with the pregnancy. 

    If LW was my friend I would tell her to take some time and think about it, maybe meet with a counselor or her Doctor to discuss her options. 
    Not to sound like I'm backtracking, but it's not that LW wants an abortion.  It's the tone of her letter I find disgusting.  She's known she was pregnant for a week, and rather than take a step back and think about things, it sounds like her first and only thought was abortion.  If LW said "a month ago" or something, and she hasn't been able to come to grips with it, that's a different story.  But I'm disgusted that she hasn't taken the time to really sit down and think about what both roads mean for her and her husband, and to really consider how her husband feels, too.

    I get the sense that she's acting like this is the end of the world.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    DrillSergeantCat
  • Regardless of her decision, sounds like she won't be 100% happy with it. I think her and her H should discuss it in DEPTH to be sure whatever the decision is, it's something she can accept.

    Like @AtomicBlonde sounds like she may never be ready :\
    cat animals pallas cat GIF
  • The only 100% effective form of birth control is abstinence.  Kids do change everything, but it doesn't make anything impossible.  Is anyone really ready to be a parent?  If LW is "devastated" to discover she's pregnant, I don't know if she'd ever be ready to have kids.

    I am pro-choice, now, and forever, but I feel like this exact letter is the reason why abortion is such a huge deal right now.  I don't know about her being horrible, but if I got pregnant tomorrow, my first thought would NOT be "Shit, shit, I need an abortion."

    Do what you need to do, but in this day and age, both parents can successfully establish careers and save money and be parents.  Don't look for the easy way out.

    Quite honestly, I find this letter disgusting.
    Abortion is never an easy way out. It's often a difficult and emotional decision for anyone. And even if it isn't a difficult decisions, she still shouldn't be shamed for feeling the way she does. If she's devastated maybe shoudnt have a child now, but just because she's married doesn't mean she has to continue the pregnancy. This is a legal choice LW to make, and it doesn't make her a horrible person if she chooses not to go through with the pregnancy. 

    If LW was my friend I would tell her to take some time and think about it, maybe meet with a counselor or her Doctor to discuss her options. 
    Not to sound like I'm backtracking, but it's not that LW wants an abortion.  It's the tone of her letter I find disgusting.  She's known she was pregnant for a week, and rather than take a step back and think about things, it sounds like her first and only thought was abortion.  If LW said "a month ago" or something, and she hasn't been able to come to grips with it, that's a different story.  But I'm disgusted that she hasn't taken the time to really sit down and think about what both roads mean for her and her husband, and to really consider how her husband feels, too.

    I get the sense that she's acting like this is the end of the world.
    She is 8 weeks along and depending on where she lives, time may be of the essence.  Also, depending on where she lives...she may need to travel to get an abortion.  Therefore, this is quite the pressure-cooker of a situation.  

    I agree that a child is not the end of the world.  I also totally understand the 'What the fuck have I done?' feeling when you find out you're pregnant, even a wanted pregnancy.  I will never, ever forget freaking the fuck out and pacing my house when I got a positive pregnancy test, even though I'd purposely had sex during my fertile period just a few weeks prior. 

    I do think she needs to talk to someone trusted about her feelings. BUT attitudes about abortion are so vitriolic, that she may only feel like she has her H...and the internet to rely upon. 
    charlotte989875Knottie1452098987
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    The only 100% effective form of birth control is abstinence.  Kids do change everything, but it doesn't make anything impossible.  Is anyone really ready to be a parent?  If LW is "devastated" to discover she's pregnant, I don't know if she'd ever be ready to have kids.

    I am pro-choice, now, and forever, but I feel like this exact letter is the reason why abortion is such a huge deal right now.  I don't know about her being horrible, but if I got pregnant tomorrow, my first thought would NOT be "Shit, shit, I need an abortion."

    Do what you need to do, but in this day and age, both parents can successfully establish careers and save money and be parents.  Don't look for the easy way out.

    Quite honestly, I find this letter disgusting.
    Abortion is never an easy way out. It's often a difficult and emotional decision for anyone. And even if it isn't a difficult decisions, she still shouldn't be shamed for feeling the way she does. If she's devastated maybe shoudnt have a child now, but just because she's married doesn't mean she has to continue the pregnancy. This is a legal choice LW to make, and it doesn't make her a horrible person if she chooses not to go through with the pregnancy. 

    If LW was my friend I would tell her to take some time and think about it, maybe meet with a counselor or her Doctor to discuss her options. 
    Not to sound like I'm backtracking, but it's not that LW wants an abortion.  It's the tone of her letter I find disgusting.  She's known she was pregnant for a week, and rather than take a step back and think about things, it sounds like her first and only thought was abortion.  If LW said "a month ago" or something, and she hasn't been able to come to grips with it, that's a different story.  But I'm disgusted that she hasn't taken the time to really sit down and think about what both roads mean for her and her husband, and to really consider how her husband feels, too.

    I get the sense that she's acting like this is the end of the world.
    She is 8 weeks along and depending on where she lives, time may be of the essence.  Also, depending on where she lives...she may need to travel to get an abortion.  Therefore, this is quite the pressure-cooker of a situation.  

    I agree that a child is not the end of the world.  I also totally understand the 'What the fuck have I done?' feeling when you find out you're pregnant, even a wanted pregnancy.  I will never, ever forget freaking the fuck out and pacing my house when I got a positive pregnancy test, even though I'd purposely had sex during my fertile period just a few weeks prior. 

    I do think she needs to talk to someone trusted about her feelings. BUT attitudes about abortion are so vitriolic, that she may only feel like she has her H...and the internet to rely upon. 
    Okay, point taken.  I dug a deep hole, and I won't try to dig myself out of it.

    Yes, I agree, time may be, and probably is, of the essence.  If she wants an abortion, I'm not going to judge her for making that decision.  It's her body, she's well within her rights to do what she wants with it.  I'll never disagree with that.  Ever.  

    I was absolutely too quick to state my opinions, I admit that, and it doesn't matter why.  If she were my friend, and decided that this was the best path for her, I would support her, no questions asked.

    But the tone of the letter still bothers me quite a lot.  It's too much "me," not enough "us," and definitely not enough time (IMHO) to have considered all options or thought about how, if they decided to continue the pregnancy, to make it work.  Regardless of the time sensitivity.

    And regardless of how I feel about the attitude I'm reading in her letter, I do sincerely hope she has/gets the support she needs to make whatever decision she feels she needs to.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    mrsconn23ThisShamanluvsaMagecowgirl8238short+sassy
  • I really wish that women didn't rely on hormonal BC so often.   She didn't do EVERYTHING to prevent a pregnancy.   She had sex.   I get that you feel like BC is supposed to be a perfect prevention but "they put that on the box!"     So my eye roll isn't about the morality of this but more that she thought that something was foolproof and now she gets to feel like this isn't fair.   Does it suck to feel like you're in the small percentage where the BC method failed?   Sure I get that.   But you also need to own that you're a responsible party here. 
    monkeysipatomicblonde
  • The only 100% effective form of birth control is abstinence.  Kids do change everything, but it doesn't make anything impossible.  Is anyone really ready to be a parent?  If LW is "devastated" to discover she's pregnant, I don't know if she'd ever be ready to have kids.

    I am pro-choice, now, and forever, but I feel like this exact letter is the reason why abortion is such a huge deal right now.  I don't know about her being horrible, but if I got pregnant tomorrow, my first thought would NOT be "Shit, shit, I need an abortion."

    Do what you need to do, but in this day and age, both parents can successfully establish careers and save money and be parents.  Don't look for the easy way out.

    Quite honestly, I find this letter disgusting.
    Abortion is never an easy way out. It's often a difficult and emotional decision for anyone. And even if it isn't a difficult decisions, she still shouldn't be shamed for feeling the way she does. If she's devastated maybe shoudnt have a child now, but just because she's married doesn't mean she has to continue the pregnancy. This is a legal choice LW to make, and it doesn't make her a horrible person if she chooses not to go through with the pregnancy. 

    If LW was my friend I would tell her to take some time and think about it, maybe meet with a counselor or her Doctor to discuss her options. 
    Not to sound like I'm backtracking, but it's not that LW wants an abortion.  It's the tone of her letter I find disgusting.  She's known she was pregnant for a week, and rather than take a step back and think about things, it sounds like her first and only thought was abortion.  If LW said "a month ago" or something, and she hasn't been able to come to grips with it, that's a different story.  But I'm disgusted that she hasn't taken the time to really sit down and think about what both roads mean for her and her husband, and to really consider how her husband feels, too.

    I get the sense that she's acting like this is the end of the world.
    Sometimes when you have an unexpected pregnancy, especially if you were on birth control, your gut reaction is to think about having an abortion. My first thought was, I was 35. 

    There are all kinds of emotions and thoughts that come along with being pregnant and when it wasn't part of your initial plan, they become amplified. I feel for LW. She needs to talk to someone who has been in her situation and then come to decision on her own. 
    charlotte989875HeffalumpbohobrideCAKnottie1452098987
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23
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    edited July 2016
    Ok not to get too fired up here but I hate when people point out "Well no birth control is 100% effective" and "The only way to really do everything to prevent pregnancy is abstinence". So if you don't want a child you're supposed to what, not have sex with your husband in the event you are in the 0.01% of the time when BC fails (depending on your method)? I feel like this is still super judgy of women. To me it's like saying "Well you really should have known better than to have sex if you absolutely don't want a child know". 



    Yes!  I hate that argument too.  

    And also, she says she's in her early 20's.  She's at the start of her married life and career.  She may not have been at her job long enough to have maternity leave/FMLA by the time the baby comes.  Or worse, she may work at a company that doesn't have to give her maternity leave.   And you can probably forget her H getting any time off to help with a newborn baby. 

    Also, child care is wildly expensive in this country.  And those first few months, money is flying out the door in terms of diapers/wipes/formula/clothes/gear/etc. for the baby.  

    I'm finally done paying daycare after 12+ years.  If we found out we were pregnant tomorrow, I'm not sure how I would feel...at all. 

    Companies/the government/insurance carries do not make it financially, and even emotionally, desirable to have kids.  Neither does the 'UR doin' it wrong' culture that is pervasive via social media and the fact that anyone can provide their 'op ed' hot take on parenting whenever they want to and have it go 'viral'. 

    VarunaTTcharlotte989875InLoveInQueensKnottie1452098987
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    Ok not to get too fired up here but I hate when people point out "Well no birth control is 100% effective" and "The only way to really do everything to prevent pregnancy is abstinence". So if you don't want a child you're supposed to what, not have sex with your husband in the event you are in the 0.01% of the time when BC fails (depending on your method)? I feel like this is still super judgy of women. To me it's like saying "Well you really should have known better than to have sex if you absolutely don't want a child know". 

    Also, I give props (do people even still say that?) to @AtomicBlonde for your follow up posts. That's hard to do. 


    Well, for me/us, it's really a matter of if I/we feel THAT strongly about not having kids now, we should have a mutually agreed upon plan in place to account for the not unheard of possibility that the birth control plan we have fails and I find out I'm pregnant (or at the very least, a discussion).  I didn't mean it to sound judgy or holier than thou or anything like that, but I can see how that did sound really terrible.  I only meant it as, yes, it can happen.  It happened to my BFF (just now, actually, she found out yesterday), and H's cousin (it was 5 months before she found out, they thought she had mono).

    We (H and I) know that the possibility exists, and we know that if we truly want to eliminate the possibility, no sex is the only sure-fire way we have of preventing an unwanted pregnancy.  We're not abstaining, and I'm not saying that anyone should just because BCPs fail 0.01% of the time.

    I wasn't trying to say, "LW should have known better.  No woman should have sex at all if they don't want to get pregnant."

    But it's always a risk that couples should be prepared for.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    charlotte989875
  • Ok not to get too fired up here but I hate when people point out "Well no birth control is 100% effective" and "The only way to really do everything to prevent pregnancy is abstinence". So if you don't want a child you're supposed to what, not have sex with your husband in the event you are in the 0.01% of the time when BC fails (depending on your method)? I feel like this is still super judgy of women. To me it's like saying "Well you really should have known better than to have sex if you absolutely don't want a child know". 



    Yes!  I hate that argument too.  

    And also, she says she's in her early 20's.  She's at the start of her married life and career.  She may not have been at her job long enough to have maternity leave/FMLA by the time the baby comes.  Or worse, she may work at a company that doesn't have to give her maternity leave.   And you can probably forget her H getting any time off to help with a newborn baby. 

    Also, child care is wildly expensive in this country.  And those first few months, money is flying out the door in terms of diapers/wipes/formula/clothes/gear/etc. for the baby.  

    I'm finally done paying daycare after 12+ years.  If we found out we were pregnant tomorrow, I'm not sure how I would feel...at all. 


    I want to say that my post is more directed at the way that we treat sex in general.   We know that it makes babies and we separate that part from the act.   That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have sex with your spouse, but I wish that we actually educated women more about ways to understand their cycles and the likelihood of pregnancy during the time of the month.   

    There's a lot of misinformation out there, a lot of women taking prescription medication without being completely aware of the failure rate or long term effects and the result doesn't make me feel all that 'empowered'.

    I do feel for the LW.   She was probably told something about how great whatever method she used works and now she has to figure out what to do.   That's never easy.   Hell, even if I got pregnant with our 3rd now I'd have a panic attack.
    mrsconn23monkeysipOliveOilsMom
  • banana468 said:
    Ok not to get too fired up here but I hate when people point out "Well no birth control is 100% effective" and "The only way to really do everything to prevent pregnancy is abstinence". So if you don't want a child you're supposed to what, not have sex with your husband in the event you are in the 0.01% of the time when BC fails (depending on your method)? I feel like this is still super judgy of women. To me it's like saying "Well you really should have known better than to have sex if you absolutely don't want a child know". 



    Yes!  I hate that argument too.  

    And also, she says she's in her early 20's.  She's at the start of her married life and career.  She may not have been at her job long enough to have maternity leave/FMLA by the time the baby comes.  Or worse, she may work at a company that doesn't have to give her maternity leave.   And you can probably forget her H getting any time off to help with a newborn baby. 

    Also, child care is wildly expensive in this country.  And those first few months, money is flying out the door in terms of diapers/wipes/formula/clothes/gear/etc. for the baby.  

    I'm finally done paying daycare after 12+ years.  If we found out we were pregnant tomorrow, I'm not sure how I would feel...at all. 


    I want to say that my post is more directed at the way that we treat sex in general.   We know that it makes babies and we separate that part from the act.   That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have sex with your spouse, but I wish that we actually educated women more about ways to understand their cycles and the likelihood of pregnancy during the time of the month.   

    There's a lot of misinformation out there, a lot of women taking prescription medication without being completely aware of the failure rate or long term effects and the result doesn't make me feel all that 'empowered'.

    I do feel for the LW.   She was probably told something about how great whatever method she used works and now she has to figure out what to do.   That's never easy.   Hell, even if I got pregnant with our 3rd now I'd have a panic attack.
    I read your follow up after you posted (and after I posted me responses) and I agree with a lot of what you're saying here, particular about understanding failure rates. I think there is so much young women (and some not so young women) don't understand about fertility, their cycles, or getting pregnant. 

    I arill ill don't think that means someone has to have a baby if they are pregnant, but I strongly agree more women should know as much about their bodies and what they are putting in them, and what are the effects. 

    I also don't want to come off as if I don't respect people that are against abortions for themselves. I strongly believe that being pro-choice means supporting all types of choices and making sure women (and men) understand all their options and have support to do what is right for them. 
    Knottie1452098987
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    Alight, alright.  I won't continue to justify or defend my reasons for reacting the way I did to this letter.  Everyone has their opinions.  I think I've pretty adequately explained mine.

    @climbingwife, I was wrong to say an abortion is an easy way out.  No, I haven't had one, and it was wrong of me to make that statement, regardless of why I said it/felt the need to say it.  Am I close to someone who has had an abortion?  Yes.  That's all I will say about that.

    @kimmiinthemitten, Yes, I am pro-choice.  I firmly believe that only a woman can make a decision regarding her body, and I will never judge a woman for terminating a pregnancy, for any reason.  It's not my body, it's not my life.  I don't have to like LW's reasons, and I know how hypocritical it sounds for me to say "I'm pro-choice, but those reasons."  I don't have to like them.  They're not mine.

    I hit a lot of nerves, and I am very sorry to all the people I may have (or did) offend(ed).  Just because I would not immediately consider an abortion for myself if I found myself in LW's situation does not mean she, or any woman, is wrong to want one, for any reason.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    kimmiinthemittencowgirl8238
  • banana468 said:
    I really wish that women didn't rely on hormonal BC so often.   She didn't do EVERYTHING to prevent a pregnancy.   She had sex.   I get that you feel like BC is supposed to be a perfect prevention but "they put that on the box!"     So my eye roll isn't about the morality of this but more that she thought that something was foolproof and now she gets to feel like this isn't fair.   Does it suck to feel like you're in the small percentage where the BC method failed?   Sure I get that.   But you also need to own that you're a responsible party here. 
    What about weighing her options isn't being a responsible party? She and her husband are deciding if they are emotionally and financially prepared to care for a child. She is not ignoring the fact that's she pregnant or pretending it didn't happen. It doesn't even sound like she's saying "woes is me, life is unfair, why did this happen?!?!?". She is saying she has to make an extremely difficult and complicated choice and is having a hard time doing that. Nothing about that sounds irresponsible to me. 

    Following through with the pregnancy isn't the only way to be to responsible. This attitude frustrates me because it's saying a child is a consequence for "screwing up" or not "doing everything right" and I find that to be a terrible reason to raise a baby. 
    No, my point was that the LW said," since we did everything we could to avoid this situation".   That's not entirely true BUT it may not be her fault either.   

    We have no way of knowing what she did to prevent pregnancy but I think the failure rate of BC is so rarely discussed that we feel like it's supposed to be perfect and it isn't - and do a measurable percentage.

    That said, I feel for her situation.
  • VarunaTT said:
    Oh hell, if you do follow your fertility cycles, there's like what...a close to 10 day period where you're not possibly maybe kinda fertile (it's been awhile since I dealt with this)?  And there's still no guarantee even if she had monitored that, plus used birth control.  I don't know many adults in a sexual relationship who want to be tied down like that.  


    Relying on memory and not the the googlez, but sperm can live in the body for a few days (up to 7...maybe?). Therefore if you have unprotected sex and then ovulate 3 days later, you can possibly end up pregnant from the sperm that's in your body.  So yes, there's a wide window where you can be fertile. 
    VarunaTT
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