It’s a scenario we hear about time and again. But there’s a side that you may not have considered before. What does a man experience when facing an unexpected pregnancy?
Society has become conditioned to only seeing the woman’s perspective. It’s her body, her life, her choice. The man is disregarded as if his role is irrelevant. There’s an assumption that men are just supposed to go along with whatever the woman chooses. But the reality is that he’s a father with his own thoughts and feelings—and they may not be what you’d expect..
Blogger, Chaunie Brusie, recalls when she and her boyfriend faced an unexpected pregnancy. “No one asked him how he was feeling. No one wondered if he would be ok. No one pondered what he should do.” She admits that even she took him for granted. The couple is now married and Chaunie shares the insight of what her husband (whom she doesn’t name) felt at the time.
His first response was overwhelming guilt. He felt as if he had ruined her life. It’s interesting to note that there was an immediate sense of responsibility for the situation. God wired us men to provide for and protect our spouse and offspring. Next, he reveals that he felt happiness. He had always wanted a family. Even though the timing wasn’t perfect, there was already a connection to his unborn child. It may seem like an unlikely reaction, but it’s actually more common than you might think. His thoughts then turned to his relationship with Chaunie. He knew that there would be changes. He notes how pregnancy “moves a couple past the dating days of staring into each other’s eyes and talking endlessly about love.” Instead of talking, the relationship required action. And he realized there would be increased demands to live up to. He already began to expect more out of himself. Overall he said, “Pregnancy forced us to be more open about our needs as individuals and a couple.” Thankfully, this young couple is one of the happier stories. Through this experience, they bonded together, are now married and expecting their fourth child.
Not all men are so fortunate. When sportscaster, John Morales, was in his twenties, his girlfriend became pregnant. It was unexpected and would truly shake up their lives. However, he knew that this was his child and he wanted to help her throughout the pregnancy. Tragically, his girlfriend didn’t feel the same. She decided to get an abortion. John vividly remembers begging and pleading with her not to go through with it. She remained adamant. “From that day, there’s been a ripple effect that I’ve had to deal with for the rest of my life,” John shares. He would often think of the child he lost and imagine what could’ve been.
At the age of 17, Jason Jones found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. Despite his young age, he recalls feeling strangely happy. The couple discussed their options and decided they would do whatever they had to do to provide for their baby. Jason soon joined the Army. The plan was to make it through boot camp and then they would marry and begin their life together. While he was at boot camp, he received a call from his girlfriend, crying hysterically. Her father had discovered she was pregnant and forced her to get an abortion. Shaken and upset, Jason cried out to his drill sergeant, “Send me home! They killed my baby!” The captain intervened and began asking Jason about his child. When he discovered it was an abortion, he asked, “You do know abortion is legal?” Jason had no idea. The resonating impact of that day has served as a driving force for Jason to dedicate his life to advocating for an end to abortion. (You can hear more about John and Jason’s experiences firsthand by watching this emotional episode of Facing Life Head-On.)
In addition, a recent study revealed a troubling statistic—half of women decide to abort prior to informing their male partner they were pregnant. This means some men never have the opportunity to voice their thoughts and feelings. Imagine how powerless and victimized they must feel. These men often experience anger, guilt or grief. Men are less likely to seek help and therefore end up carrying the burden of their past abortion as it manifests in different negative ways throughout their lives. That’s why it’s so important that we have a growing number of safe havens to help take them through the healing process.
Men usually fit into four categories—some advocate for their child’s life; others respond passively and allow their partner to make the decision; many coerce their partners into having an abortion and an untold number were never aware of the pregnancy before the abortion. In any case, a man’s role and responsibility should not be minimized. There’s a need for intervention and support when they too face an unplanned pregnancy. It’s important to include the father while in the process of helping the mother. The Men and Abortion Network recently released a new publication called Building a Men’s Ministry: A Guide for Pregnancy Resource Centers. It describes how to incorporate outreach to men into a women help center, and provides guidelines for making him feel welcomed and affirming his participation. Areas of change are outlined regarding environment, staff and resources. It also addresses men’s needs involving a crisis pregnancy, parenting, sexual health and post-abortion healing. This presents a valuable opportunity to counsel both parents and has the potential to save the lives of unborn babies.