I’m pregnant and my boyfriend wants to keep it. Not sure if I do.

I’m pregnant and my boyfriend wants to keep it. Not sure if I do.

I am 26. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year and we’re in a happy relationship. Recently I’ve been really ill and thought it was stress. But the doctor told me I’m pregnant! This is completely unplanned. My boyfriend had an operation when he was young and was told he couldn’t have kids. I’m scared. I’ve been laid off work and haven’t found another job yet. I regret not doing more with my life before. I wanted to go back to school, travel and other things. Will I be able to now? I feel really confused. My boyfriend really wants to keep it, no matter what. Anne

Sometimes parenthood knocks and you’re still in your underwear and you freak out for a bit but ultimately the happy overrides the freaked-outness so you roll with it and know whatever happens, you can somehow make it work. And sometimes, parenthood knocks and you literally lose your shit and can’t focus on anything until A Day at the abortion clinic because then you can breathe a big sigh of relief and life can go back to normal.

Which camp are you in? I’m willing to bet it’s the first one, but I don’t want you cursing my name at 3am when you’re trying to juggle a screaming baby and a bottle while propping your eyes open with matchsticks. So I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s all roses and babies don’t put limitations on your life. They do, big time. I’m not going to say you might not have another chance to be a mum. Because at 26 you’ve got lots of time ahead of you and undoubtedly way more chances and a lot more life to live. And if that life includes a drunken Contiki tour across Europe, no judgement.

What I do want you to consider though are these three things:

1. Fertility isn’t infinite. It starts dropping like a stone at 35, in fact. The period in my life from 26 to 35 passed in the blink of an eye, and now I’m 39 it seems like every third woman I know can’t or won’t have babies because they never met the right person. Or because the person they met never wanted babies. Or because their bodies wouldn’t play ball when they thought there was still time. Nothing, but NOTHING, sucks more than desperately wanting a kid and being unable to have one and spending all your waking hours wishing time machines existed so you could go back and buy yourself a few more fertile years. So that fertility window thing is worth factoring in, even if it feels like eons away right now.

2. If you go ahead, be sure you’re doing it because it’s what YOU want. It’s your body and your decision and you’ll be bearing the brunt of all of it: the pregnancy, the labour and birth, the bulk of the caring for your new baby. So while it’s lovely that your boyfriend wants to keep the baby and is stoked (especially after being told he’d never be a dad), I want you to know in your heart, deep down, that you made the decision for yourself and not for anyone else. Especially important at 3am, holding screaming baby, etc etc.

3. Life isn’t over once you have a baby. Heaps of mums (and dads) out there manage to have great careers and study and travel and there’s no reason why you can’t, too. Life with a bubba on your hip might look a little different than how you envisaged it, and you may have to make more sacrifices and become a master juggler to do all the things you really want to do, but it may also open up an incredible new world to you that you can’t even imagine until you’re actually in it. And it sounds like you’ve got a good guy willing to hold your hand on the rollercoaster, which – trust me – becomes harder and harder to find as you get older.

Good luck making what I know is a huge decision, Anne. I hope you come back and let us know how things go.

Love, reality chick

RC readers, help! How old were you when you had kids? If you were young, do you regret not having kids older? What do you think Anne should do?

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. me 8 years ago

    I had an abortion last year when I was 29. the pregnancy was unplanned, and I was totally shocked like you are. I freaked out and the immediate reaction was -I cant do this, I decided immediately. I had only been with my bf for about 4mths and he agreed if I didn’t want to do it he didn’t either and we went ahead with the termination.
    Thing is, we are still together ( this experience actually brought us closer) we are getting married next year and hoping to have children. I do have regrets as now I know we are a solid couple, that he would have been a great dad and I would be having our baby next month. I think that I did just freak out, and I started unnecessarily doubting everything, him, me and our lives. We talk about it every now and again and we both agree we could have done it.
    My advice to you would be to take your time and really evaluate what is actually important to you, and how a baby would really impact that. You will find in a couple of years a lot more of your mates will start getting married and having babies – it seemed to all start happening to my circle in their late 20s!

    • Anne 8 years ago

      Thanks. Just wondering how did the abortion affect you? I am annoyed as I thought counseling was supposed to help me. It also annoys mr that my boyfriends mum is so pro life and doesn’t factor in anything else. My boyfriend thinks she would kick us out if we got rid of it. Easy for her to say, she’s never struggled financially. I also haven’t worked and got accepted into a coarse this semester. So couldn’t save anything.

      • Me 8 years ago

        Councilors won’t tell you what to do- the main thing is to be practical and work out what effect it will have on you, and your life and work out if you are prepared to deal with that and make the sacrifices necessary. My mate had a baby about 6mths ago- she had to move to a much cheaper suburb and had a bit of trouble adjusting at first but she’s doing really well, she’s coping much better than I’d have expected- we are both from overseas and have no family in this country ( another reason I freaked out when it happened to me) our decision was easier too because we were the only two people who knew.

        As for the abortion- I had a medical one which seemed like the quickest and easiest option- and as far as I know people’s experiences do differ but mine was horrific. After I took the pills I was violently ill, Vomiting and diarrhoea simultaneously (apologies for the detail but u should know) and was In extreme pain and bleeding heavily. It was so scary to be at home going through this, I felt like I was going to die.
        If I ever had to give advice it would be to take the surgical option if you decide on a termination

        • Author

          I’m very sorry to hear that you went through such a bad time; that sounds terrifying. It’s not the first time that I’ve heard that story either, and the other person who recounted her experience was completely shocked and scared going through it too.
          Did the doctor warn you what to expect, advise you not to be alone etc? I really think there should be more information given to women who are considering home terminations (RU486).

          • me 8 years ago

            I definitely was not advised properly about what was going to happen, I was told to expect heavy bleeding cramping and clots- like a painful heavy period, but this was nothing like that, it so much worse. I wouldn’t recommend this method to anyone, it was horrific.

        • Anne 8 years ago

          Hi Me I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve been told it’s not that bad. I’m too late for a medical abortion anyway and almost too late for a surgical. How did your relationship survive after abortion? People seem to think they always fall apart

          • me 8 years ago

            I do think people have different experiences with it and it might not always be that bad.
            The whole experience actually brought us closer together and made me realise he’s the one. Ironically not having his baby back then made me realise that I want his babies one day because he was rock solid, there for me in every way and has been ever since.
            We made the decision together and went through the process together and didn’t tell another soul, and i’m glad that was the case as I didn’t want other people opinions or judgements,

          • Anne 8 years ago

            Hi Rachel I posted before on the bottom, that I’ve applied to Tafe though this coming semester. So leaving very little time to earn money. I still haven’t found one and soon no one will employ me.

        • Anne 8 years ago

          Also if you don’t mind me asking, how did you get over the what ifs, of if you kept it? I wonder about this

          • Me 8 years ago

            You don’t get over the what ifs, you just move on like everything in life. You have to live with your decisions and mine felt right at the time- I know now that I could have coped with a kid but at the time I didn’t and made the decision to terminate- I can’t change that now, u gotta make the right decision and decide if its one u can live with.

  2. Author

    Hey Anne, don’t worry about not knowing anyone with kids. You’ll meet people for sure. And I saw this which might be interesting to you:

    • Anne 8 years ago

      Thanks bit I disagree with the comments on that article. That being a mum makes you a better person. I’ve met a few people in my time. Eg my old supervisor at work. After becoming a grandmother for over the third time, she is still a vindictive bully who gets off on treating people like dirt. It doesn’t change some people.

  3. Anne 8 years ago

    I went to counseling but i still feel ambivalent about it. Men aren’t expected to give up everything to have babies.

    • Anon 8 years ago

      Ambivalence isn’t a great position from which to leap into parenthood.

      I had an abortion when I was a bit older than you. It was while I was travelling, after a one-night stand and there was no question I would keep it. I fully believe I did the right thing and that my life would now be very different if I had become a parent at an age I wasn’t ready to be one. I have had some regrets, for the record, but that’s life.

      To me, it sounds like you’re not ready. And that’s okay to admit.

      • Anne 8 years ago

        I don’t know does anyone really ever know? What if I never figure it out? Society always blames women for leaving it too late. People rarely say the same to men.

        • Anon 8 years ago

          Women don’t have time on their side when it comes to fertility. That’s the reality. It sucks, but it is what it is.

          Is there any part of you that wants to have it? Or does the thought just freak you out on every level? What did the counsellor say?

          • Anne 8 years ago

            Part of me thinks It might be pretty cool. I haven’t met any men that wanted to get serious, let alone have a kid at my age. My boyfriend is about the only person I’ve dated who didn’t turn out to he a player/ asshole. Not easy to find at all. The counsellor asked me lots of questions about how I felt either way. Wish it made it more clearer. I may have also found out far too late to get rid of it.

          • Anne 8 years ago

            I also know hardly anyone with kids to talk too.

  4. Gabrielle 8 years ago

    It is a terribly difficult decision to have thrust upon you…but you alone can make this decision. I can tell you that as a mother of two young children, life is wonderful, busy, hard, tiring, exciting, depressing and thrilling – all at once. I fell pregnant with my first baby at 30 years of age and my 2nd at 32 years of age and sometimes I wish I had even done it sooner! The more energy you have is definately a plus!
    If you do decide to go ahead and have the baby – I can say from experience….that your life will change – but often the amount of change depends on you, on the baby, your partner, your expectations and all your life plans etc.

  5. Author

    Gals, thank you all so much for your insights and incredible wisdom on this very tough decision. I hope Anne’s reading! XX

  6. Kitty 8 years ago

    Such wisdom here. I really love what the women above have advised and shared. Motherhood is incredibly rewarding, but incredibly tough, Anne. So you’re wise to think it over and seek a bit of counsel before making a decision either way. 26 is young to have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy as well as holding the fragility of your not-so-infertile partner’s hopes and dreams in your uterus. So, what to do? There’s no right or wrong answer, I’m afraid. It’s more a case of listening to your intuition and doing what feels right for your body, head and future. I will share a little adage that I’ve heard before – if you do decide to give parenthood a whirl, then there’s little chance you’ll wish you hadn’t done it. Motherhood is filled with loss of freedoms, sweeping change, frustration and tedium, but true regret is rare.

  7. Lioness with three cubs 8 years ago

    Dear Anne,
    Boy your predicament is a tough one for sure and only one you know the answer to. Perhaps the big question is ‘If I do not have this child can I live with the consequences”.

    I’m not talking about ‘Will my boyfriend dump me’. I am talking about how will I Anne feel if A) I abort this baby B) Have this child and resent it for the rest of my life believing that somehow the life I would have led would be so much more if I didn’t have a child as a millstone and C) OMG I am going to be tied to this man who I may no longer love for the rest of my life because we happened to fall pregnant.

    Perhaps I better divulge that at your age I was in my first marriage and we were trying to start our family. Only to be told by a string of medicos that I would never have children – it took me almost a decade, a fiancé and a string of lust filled relationships and living OS to recover from the grief of losing the image I had of myself being a wife and mother. Those lives are poles apart I can’t imagine how I would be to be 26 with a boyfriend who is making such demands on you while you are financially ill equipped and unemployed.

    But then life has a way of happening while you are making other plans. It wasn’t until I had decided that all I needed was my career, my house, my dog and good friends and made peace with myself that I found myself staring down at a distinctly blue line.
    Yes it frightened the bejesus out of me but then and there I decided I was going to love my miracle baby no matter what.

    I am now mother to three children – boy didn’t the doctors get it wrong – and all I can say is that there is never ever a good time or the ideal situation to have a child.

    Last week a friend called to say that she had been diagnosed with menopause at 42. Single career woman Lara had thought she had more time to meet the love of her life, marry and have children but she didn’t. I guess if you think about how you would fee if you didn’t have them that might be a good starting point.

    There is never enough money or the right time to take the leap. It will stretch you, challenge you, exhaust you, cover you in vomit and poop and yet you may wonder why you waited so long.

    Every smile is a thank you and makes up for the tantes, said spit-up and nappy changing.

    It’s probably the most egotistical thing I have ever done creating children and the most daunting. You can be nothing less than selfless and there’s a very fine line to walk between selfless and mummy martyr especially if you end up being a single mum!

    Because it’s all very well for your bloke to profess that fatherhood is all he has ever wanted but as someone who was 6 weeks pregnant with our third child when the father decided family life wasn’t for him may I say thinking about parenthood is very different from living it.

    There are times when I question if I’m good enough for them and days on two hours sleep for months on end when you just put one foot in front of the other and go to bed grateful that everyone’s still alive, happy and healthy.

    If you have them now you will have more energy but less patience for me it’s easier as I’ve done my travelling and had the career I wanted before the children came.

    Being in on a Saturday night doesn’t bother me in the way it might have if I was your age when I conceived. But then when your children have grown you will still be young enough to have a second youth and by 26 haven’t you sown your wild oats?

    On a totally different trajectory – IT IS YOUR BODY NOT your boyfriend’s and abortion has to be a choice that you can live with for the rest of your life. Ok so he may promise to raise the child by himself but then do you want to be a part time parent?

    I guess Anne it’s time to do some real navel gazing – while you can still see it.

    Write up the pros and cons. From my experience may I say nothing you ever do for work will ever seem as important as raising your children.
    However even that – the working mother comes with its own pitfalls and social etiquette and judgments. You may wrestle with placing them in childcare to facilitate being a working mum even if like me you only do it a few days a week.
    Financially I had to. But then I don’t think it’s a bad thing for my children to see their mother earning.

    My house has never been dirtier and I have never been happier.
    Forget owning anything white or stain free once your littlies are up on their feet, or leaving the house on a whim without more than a phone your keys and cash. Because you’ll be packing; snacks, nappies, wipes, pram, bottles, change of clothes, favourite toys and security blanket minimum.

    There are days when I’ve spent hours getting the house clean that I wish I was single could walk out then back in to find everything as I found it.
    Including money in the bank, time to do my nails, go for drinks, romantic weekends, dirty weekends of marathon sex or time to wake up and read a newspaper. But with a kiss, cuddle and big good morning the hankering for what was soon disappears – most days!

    It is essential to get yourself a support network. Be it friends or family it takes a village to raise children! My folks have been incredible. From the moment I conceived they have been batting for me and it may seem shallow but before you dive in you need to look at how you would make it work and what kind of resources are available to you.

    Being young though there is a lot to be said physically for pregnancy. Because as an older ‘geriatric’ mother there were a series of medical tests to go through. They can be horrendous and worrying especially a batch of blood work that said my daughter had a 1 in 247 chance of being Downs. This goes up to 1 in 40 when you’re over 40! With my second child we didn’t have the tests and instead of worrying enjoyed the pregnancy and ended up with another perfect bonny baby.

    My body will never be the same, and my breasts well thank God for push-ups and cosmetic surgery than can pull them back up from your navel. With my first child I bounced back to 72kg with my third I weigh now the same I did full-term…. go figure.

    It will also stretch your relationship to breaking point and potentially bring you closer together – a situation only you two can answer.
    It’s wonderful to share your life with someone who can reminisce with you, knows you and loves you even though they know the good and the bad.
    But I would never stay in a relationship that had not future or where I wasn’t wanted or was only in existence because of a child….

    So Anne it’s time. Write up the pros and cons, sit down with your partner and really get down to it, this is not time for hearts flowers or tequila shots, play hard ball and put it out there – because your very future and that potentially of a child depends on knowing yourself.

  8. Hmmmm, this is a tough one. If I’d fallen pregnant at 26 I’m sure I would have freaked out too, however having now got two kids, all I think about is the fantastic-ness of birth and raising a child. And I wish I’d started a few years sooner (I was 35).

    Yes it’s tiring, yes people want to tell you all the negative stories, and yes your life will indeed change. But is that such a bad thing?

    Nothing can prepare you for the full-on ness of having kids – but this means nothing can prepare you for the amazingness of it either. It is truly incredible. .
    When you’re pregnant, it’s not real, it’s hard to conceive (pardon the pun) that this little being inside you is another human. This all changes when you meet them.

    I can understand this has completely thrown you, and if your friends aren’t having children yet you’ve probably not got many people to look at and learn from. Your partner is thrilled and amazed his body could in fact ‘knock you up’, so it will be especially emotional for him if you decide not to go ahead. And for you too.

    Tough decisions ahead…above all else follow your heart. I want to say just go for it, but it’s not my life. But if it were? I’d go for it.

    Best of luck to you and hope it all works out xo

    • Anne 8 years ago

      Thanks for the replies. I am finished sowing my rolled oats. The problem is feeling rushed and only been dating one year. The biggest problem is how do I even pay for it? I haven’t found any work yet and I’m almost broke. My boyfriend starts a new job next week. But he doesn’t have any job security yet.

      • All valid concerns, too. Can’t help you with the rushed thing – that’s a decision that only you can make, and unfortunately have to make, soon. It will just have to come from your heart and your gut about whether this guy is the right one for you.
        As for work now, get anything you can – cafe job, admin etc – until you can find something you like later, just to take the financial pressure off. If you decide to have the baby and you’re in Australia, after you give birth you will get either the baby bonus (around $5000) or paid parental leave (18 weeks minimum pay, around $560 before tax) which will help out a bit and hopefully by then your boyfriend will have more job security.
        Good luck! Xx

        • Anne 8 years ago

          I also applied to a short coarse at Tafe before this happened. And I found out recently I got accepted. So trying to find a part time to fit in has been hard. I’ve applied for so many and haven’t been successful.

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