?“Honey, I am pregnant.” These four words are usually said in a weak and husky voice, but they cut through you like a hot knife through butter. The good times you enjoyed behind closed doors or under the cover of darkness become a bitter reality.
Here you are cruising through life, not even through with your schooling. You hardly have any income to sustain yourself let alone a family and truth be told, you are not ready to be called a father. She carefully monitors your reactions but that notwithstanding, she has stated her case and now you have a situation.
How do you deal with it?
?The usual reaction: The shock is inevitable and different people have different ways of dealing with it. Some guys flatly refuse to take responsibility, call her all sorts of names, and make ridiculous accusations against her. Others walk away, change their phone number and, avoid any further contact, leaving the poor girl stranded and confused. These are indeed reactions of a ‘Wuss’, a coward and a weak guy and these are usually in bad taste. These are reactions of a man who is in denial. Instead of becoming extremely rude and running with your tail in between your legs, here are a few things you can do.
?1.?? Accept the situation Acceptance is the first step in dealing with any situation. If you had unprotected sex and she is pregnant, then most likely it is yours. However, if in doubt, you can seek to confirm. Accept this situation and appreciate that she does not like it anymore than you do. If anything, she is much more troubled about this than you could ever imagine and it is your role to help her through it. At this time, many things cross your mind, but a gentleman first listens to what the other party has to say, considers it carefully in line with his thoughts and makes a concrete decision.
?2.?? Provide leadership.
Once you have had time to think through this (including her thoughts), it is up to you to provide leadership on the matter. In our African set up, she may only have two options — to keep the baby or abort it. You need to carefully assess your options and have a clear benchmark as to what is and what is not acceptable to you. The leadership you provide should be focused on doing the right thing, not what is convenient, easy or fashionable. The leadership could include seeking advice from a mature and experienced person/s. However, your opinion is important in this situation.
?3.?? All the support she needs Pregnancy is an emotional time for women. The changes taking place in her body to accommodate the baby are both physical and hormonal. It is common for them to want and need many things some of which may not make sense to you. Be there to provide them for her — she needs all the support she can get. Be available, approachable and co-operative and let her have the assurance that she can rely on you.
?4.?? Start planning for the child This is the hallmark of manning up. First, acknowledge that some things will have to change. If she is in school, she may have to differ for sometime — see to it that this is done. Again, you have to take responsibility and start planning for the child. Planning means taking the responsibility you can manage, not necessarily all. She doesn’t have to move in with you, but doing small things like taking her for pre-natal clinics really counts. It is always good to appear to be trying your best even when it is not good enough. People will respect you for that. You may need to start finding ways of providing even if the most basic things. Do what you can, but try to always do better the next time.