Flash forward to now, we have developed feelings and started hanging out one-on-one. I’m not breaking any rules by having a relationship with Jake, and we’ve talked about how I will inevitably leave in two months and only be back to visit once next year. Needless to say, we’re not expecting a long-term thing out of this, even though I think we would if I were staying or if he were in a position to move closer to me.
Here’s the tricky part: I’m pregnant. I don’t want to give the baby up, I’m heading into a career that will enable me to support myself and this baby, and abortion is definitely off the table. I haven’t told Jake yet, and I can’t decide if I should. Jake’s graduating next May and will be moving to Europe to pursue his masters, he has a lot on his plate and has stated several times that having kids is not in his near future – and we took what we thought was more than enough precaution (pill & condoms) before having sex. He is a stand-up kind of guy whom I believe would drop all plans to make things work for his baby, but I feel so terrible that my news will shatter his goals and plans.
I welcome all advice since I have no one to confide in about this while here. — Baby on Board
If you plan to keep this baby, you absolutely should tell the father as soon as possible. Think of it this way: at some point you will likely have reason to reach out to him, either for financial support — don’t kid yourself thinking your career will always be secure and you’ll always be financially stable enough to care for your child on your own; shit happens, and you may find yourself in need of help — or because you need information that only he can provide (like family medical history). There are lots of potential reasons why being in touch with your child’s biological father would be helpful, if not even crucial (not the least of which is your child’s desire to know his or her father and actually maybe even have a relationship with him).
Why make reaching out to him in the future more difficult than it has to be by keeping this huge secret from him now? Yes, the news now may be a blow to him. It will affect his plans, just as it will surely affect yours. But imagine how much bigger of a blow it would be for him to hear the news months or years from now knowing that he missed out on so much — that he was never even given the chance to be there for his child. (And imagine the blow to your child learning that you knew all along who the father was and denied him/her the chance to know him). Just because Jake’s saying that kids aren’t in his life plan for the next few years doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have the opportunity to be part of his child’s life. And it certainly doesn’t mean your kid should be denied the privilege of knowing a father who may love and cherish him/her.
Tell Jake. Tell him what your expectations are and give him the same luxury you now have of making informed decisions. This isn’t some guy you had a one-night stand with — and even if it were, you should still tell the guy if you plan to give birth to his child — this is someone whom you have a relationship with and strong feelings for. You care about him, obviously. So treat him with the same respect you’d want him to show you. And know that just because you found out about the pregnancy first, it doesn’t make it “your news” or your issue alone. You had an equal role in this conception. And while you’re carrying the baby and should have the ultimate choice in whether to continue the pregnancy or not, once you decide that you’re moving forward, you share responsibility (and are each entitled to fight for certain rights). Don’t strip the father of whatever rights he may want to fight for, and don’t deny yourself the help you may need some day.
Tell him. The sooner, the better.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.