How To Handle A Pregnancy Scare

Ariana Grande is right: God is a woman. Because if God was a man, he’d let sex be all about pleasure and not about attachment. Instead, our Lady God decided sex will feel awesome and men will want to do it a lot with as many women as possible, but they’ll quickly realize that’s a bad idea if they don’t want one hundred mouths to feed so better lock it down with one woman and settle for sex twice a week if she’s up for it.

Men have been trying to reverse this curse ever since. There is documentation of coitus interruptus (the pull-out method) being practiced as early as 1312 BC, and additional forms of birth control, including abortion, were documented in texts from Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. The condom was invented in 1839, the IUD developed in 1909, and birth control pills were introduced in the 1950s. We have yet to invent a reliable male birth control pill, but it’s in the works.

Unfortunately, there is still no perfect form of birth control except abstinence, so every single time you have vaginal intercourse there is a chance you could get pregnant. Hormonal forms of birth control and IUDs bring the odds down to about 1%, but many women can’t tolerate hormones and the IUD is expensive and painful to insert. Condoms are slightly less effective with a 2% chance of pregnancy, and we all know how much they suck. Diaphragms and caps are the least effective contraceptives, and I haven’t met any woman younger than my grandmother who uses them. The pull-out and rhythm methods are both hormone-free and cost-free, but they are the least reliable and have failed me in the past, so I don’t recommend them.

Casual sex is fun, but conversations about birth control make it awkward. Even if you do broach the subject with your lady friend, you can’t trust that she uses it reliably. Once you are in a monogamous relationship, it can be easier to coordinate these efforts but don’t let that give you a fall sense of security.  If you have sex enough and have a good sperm count, you will likely experience a pregnancy scare at least once. Here’s how to handle it when your woman says she might be expecting:

Stay Calm & Be Supportive

Inside you may be freaking out, but you must suppress the urge to panic, flee, or suggest a “shmashmortion.” Regardless of what contraceptive failing or human error led to this scare, it takes two to tango, so you are equally culpable. You must override the flight instinct, and do the right thing, which is the following:

  • Listen patiently to your woman cry, deliberate, and/or freak out.
  • Share your preferences if she asks, but do not try to influence her decision.
  • Pay for everything (whether it be the morning after pill, pregnancy tests, or an abortion).
  • Offer to go with her if she’s pregnant and elects to terminate and take care of her after if she’s open to it.
  • Don’t act overly enthusiastic if you learn she’s not pregnant because even if she didn’t want to get preggers, it can feel rejecting that you’re so excited not to be having a baby with her.

Know Her Options

You got into this mess together, but moving forward, the woman has all the power. It’s her body so her choice. Your role is to be supportive and to do that it’s best to be informed about her options:

To Prevent Pregnancy After Intercourse-

  • She can take the morning-after pill up to 3 days (Levonelle) to 5 days (ellaOne) after unprotected sex
  • She can have a copper IUD (Paragard) inserted up to five days after unprotected sex

To Confirm Pregnancy-

  • Urine pregnancy tests from the drugstore are quite accurate starting on the first day of her missed period, so confirmation via a blood test is usually unnecessary. Often women will feel pregnancy symptoms several days before their missed period, such as swollen breasts, waves of nausea, mood swings, and increased hunger.

To Terminate A Confirmed Pregnancy-

  • She can have a medical abortion up to about 10 weeks of the pregnancy by being prescribed by 5 to 8 pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol), but there can be uncomfortable side effects such as painful cramping, nausea, and a risk of infection or hemorrhaging. Plus she will be fully awake for this process, usually administered by herself at home. Costs are about the same as a surgical abortion: $300-$800
  • She can have a surgical abortion starting at about 5 weeks and up to about the second trimester (depending on state laws). Abortion without financial accommodations typically costs about $300 to $900. Most clinics such as Planned Parenthood will offer different forms of sedation so she will not remember the procedure.

To Keep A Pregnancy-

As I stated, she can choose to keep the kid without your consent. She cannot legally demand your participation financial or otherwise during her pregnancy. Once the child is born, she can pursue child support from you. 

Know Your Rights

Not only do women own the pregnancy, they also have complete control if the baby is born out of wedlock as they are automatically awarded full legal custody of the child. In order to secure any paternal rights, you will need to take legal action. First, you will have to establish paternity, which can be an uphill battle if the mother is uncooperative. But be careful what you wish for: once you are proven to be the biological father you are on the hook for child support regardless of your involvement in your kid’s life. To earn custody of the child (likely only partial), you will have to seek it in court. You also have to be proactive if you want to prevent the mother from giving up the child for adoption. Basically, if the mother doesn’t want you in your child’s life, you will have to spend a lot of time and money legally fighting for it, and then you will be financially responsible for the child until he or she is 18. Does this scare you? It should, unplanned pregnancies out of wedlock can get messy and all it takes is having sex once. Here’s what you can do to minimize your risk of a pregnancy scare becoming a pregnancy nightmare:

Learn From Your Mistakes

Forget all the myths: you can’t get pregnant if you pull-out, you can’t get pregnant while she’s on her period, you can’t get pregnant the first month she’s off the pill, you’re unlikely to get pregnant if she’s over 35. Any time you have vaginal intercourse, there is a possibility of pregnancy.

Don’t assume that your woman is on birth control, even if she says she is. She may not be compliant with her birth control (ie she may not be taking the pill at the same time every day). She may be practicing the rhythm method, which is notoriously unreliable. She may be lying. Are you a wealthy, high status, attractive man? Then you should be careful about a woman trapping you with a pregnancy. Seriously, this happens all the time.

You must take birth control into your own hands and unfortunately, that means using condoms and checking them for holes afterward. When you’re ready to make it exclusive, and you’ve both been tested for STDs, and you’re willing to bear the risk of being tied to this women forever via a baby, then you can come up with a better arrangement, like paying for her to get an IUD.

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