Abortion isn't just a polarizing issue politically, it can be a very emotional subject for a couple to deal with. If you're a man especially, you may feel like your request for an abortion will be seen as infringing on your wife's bodily integrity. If you're the pregnant woman you may feel like a failed mother, or like you're disappointing your partner. We'll talk about all of the different circumstances but there's one piece of advice that everyone needs to hear: it's perfectly reasonable to bring this topic up with your partner. Raising a child is no small matter and its in everyone's best interests if you make your feelings and concerns known as soon as you have them. You're likely afraid that you'll upset your partner and while that may be true, this is crucial information that they need to know, no matter how devastated or angry you're afraid they may be. Here's how to bring the subject up as gently as possible along with some advice on how to handle different reactions and decisions.
14 Choose Your Moment
Many people recommend scheduling tough conversations in advance, but this doesn't usually work with a spouse. As soon as you say "Can we talk after dinner about something serious?" your spouse will immediately want to know what the talk will be about. You don't want to worry them, so wait until you're both free to have a talk before you mention that's something is up. Try to get at least an hour window that's after work because this talk is probably going to be emotional. But don't wait more than a day or two, this issue is really time sensitive.
13 How To Mentally Prepare Your Partner
Starting with "I want an abortion" is straightforward but also hard on your partner's emotions. Begin by describing your mood lately with an "I" statement. Try, "I've been really struggling/worried/sad lately". Your partner will tune in and realize this is important. Then lead your partner into the subject, "About our pregnancy, I've been thinking and..." As you continue this sentence your partner is wondering what could be bothering you, and they're preparing for their worst-case scenario. Then say it, without sounding like its an ultimatum or an order. Consider these: "I don't want to continue with the pregnancy" or "I want to consider abortion" or "I feel like our best option is abortion".
12 Acknowledge Their Feelings
He or she is probably going to respond with strong emotions throughout this conversation. Maybe it's relief, reservation, anger, sadness, or confusion. Whatever your partner is feeling right now you need to acknowledge them and empathize. Even if your partner immediately agrees with your feelings, and expresses relief that you brought abortion up, you both may still be very emotional. Remember, there's no wrong or right way to feel in the face of abortion, for either of you.
11 Start Gentle and End Strong
Many people feel so guilty bringing this subject up with their husband or their wife that they try too hard to empathize with their partner's perspective. It's not that empathy can be wrong, but that you need to make explicit what it is that you want and feel too. Ask your partner what their best-case scenario would be for the pregnancy and then explain yours. Don't hold back, your partner needs to know how you truly feel. Make it clear if you think the relationship will end if you two can't agree on what to do. Conversely, make it clear if you think you'll still want to make it work. Parenthood is a big decision, so your partner needs to know how much support, if any, you're prepared to offer.
10 If the Fetus Isn't Healthy
If doctors are certain the fetus won't survive birth, or that the mother is in danger of dying during the pregnancy or labor, most couples will opt to start from square one. On the other hand, there are some passionate opinions about aborting a fetus because it will be born with a severe or even moderate disability. Hopefully your partner and yourself land on the same page. But if you haven't, its time for some serious discussion. One thing that may help is discussing the worst-case-scenario for the child. What will their life be like if they have the most severe form of their disability, and can your lives accommodate this? Share with your partner your deepest fears about the situation.
Also, offer the positive angle that you're willing to try again and give a happy family to a different child. Remember that the reality of this heartbreaking situation changes many people's minds. While about thirty-three per cent of women in the U.S. say they'd abort a child with Downs Syndrome, that number rises to ninety-four per cent in women who are actually pregnant with a child who has Downs Syndrome.
9 If Your Genetics Aren't Compatible
If this isn't the first time that your fetus has been ill, or even if you're worried about conditions that run in one or both of your sides of the family, you may want to consult with a genetic counselor. They can tell you what the likelihood is of you conceiving an infant who is ill or disabled, and can explain your options.
8 If You're Just Not Ready
If it's simply to early in your life for you to want children, but you and your partner are sure that you want children later on, this may be a very bittersweet moment. Your partner may be ready to take on this exciting and challenging part of your lives, and you'll need to reassure them that you still want to get to that point (if its still true, that is!). There are some silver linings to this situation that you and your partner can take comfort in: you're sure that you can conceive together and conception may be quite quick once you are ready.
7 If You Already Have Kids
You're not alone in making the decision that it's best for your existing children if you don't have another. You may be surprised to learn that women with children get more abortions than women without children. Most parents agree that the welfare of existing children comes first, its just a matter of communicating that you've reached your ideal number of children. If you're the mother in this scenario, you may feel, as many do, that having an abortion somehow tarnishes your motherhood. In reality, it demonstrates just how much you love your children, that you'll make the tough decisions that are best for them.
6 If the Relationship is Troubled
If you were planning on breaking up with or divorcing your partner before the pregnancy happened you're in a uniquely tough spot. If your partner also turns out to want an abortion you'll likely want to support them emotionally throughout the process. This is just like how you wouldn't want to break up with someone when they have to attend a funeral. On the other hand, it's possible that your partner will want to go through with the pregnancy and if this is the case you have to tell them that you feel the relationship is coming to an end. Your partner, whether man or woman, may sense that you're not sure about the relationship anymore and may see the pregnancy and child as a way to cement your bond. Obviously this isn't a healthy outlook, but it does happen and you need to make sure that your soon-to-be ex is making the decision they would make if they were single, because that's what they'll soon be.
5 Your Body, Your Choice
As the woman and pregnant partner, it's important to remember that you have the final choice over what happens. Listening to your partner's perspective is important, but don't let yourself be threatened or coerced into having an abortion or not having an abortion. Your partner doesn't have to suffer the risks of pregnancy and childbirth, so the final decision must rest with you. You have to do what's best for yourself here. On the other hand, be prepared for the relationship to end if you make a decision your partner doesn't agree with. It makes sense that a polarizing issue like abortion would be a deal-breaker for your partner, but don't let that convince you to make a decision you don't want to make.
4 If She Wants to Keep It and You're a Man
This is a frustrating position to be in, because you can't have the final say in this situation. Further, your partner may compel you to provide financial support for a child that was conceived by accident. While you may feel honor-bound to attempt fatherhood, remember that you need to do what's best for yourself just as your partner has made the best decision for her. Single-motherhood isn't easy but your partner is a legal adult who is choosing to take on that challenge by going through with the pregnancy. Plenty of children have been raised happily by single parents, and many have been raised miserably by parents who were not suited to the job. You may consider seeking advice from legal professionals, or this rights group for men in your position. Also, efforts like this male birth control called Vaselgel may give you more options for preventing this situation in the future.
3 If Anyone Calls You "Selfish"
In our times, people don't tend to feel that people who want abortions are selfish anymore. Instead, we seem to understand that a child requires parents to be fully committed and if they aren't then these pregnant people are doing a mercy by having an abortion or putting the child up for adoption. But sometimes the people in our lives still fall victim to the twin expectations that women have to be caring mothers and men have to be supportive fathers. Feel free to remind those people either that its none of their business or that they also do not abide by 1950s stereotypes in their lives.
2 Even If You Agree Your Relationship May Change
The truly unpredictable thing about abortion and/or pregnancy is that these experiences may really change a person's perspective on life. While before they had some vague idea of whether or not children were a priority for them, now that they've been confronted by the reality of it they may begin to feel differently. Even if your partner agrees with your preference for abortion for now, they may decide they want kids in the future. Or, they may decide that they don't want children anymore after this experience.
1 Keep the Communication Going
Many people are afraid to discuss their changing feelings surrounding kids because they know that the issue is often a deal-breaker. Yet, it's precisely because children are such an important issue that you need to talk about it. With honest communication that explores feelings and fears, instead of issuing ultimatums or making demands, you can alert your partner when your thoughts about children first begin to change. Your partner will be familiar with your thought process as you form your new opinions, and you can work on coming to compromises. This avoids that sudden, serious announcement that you absolutely need children, or you simply can't be a parent. Of course, you may get to this point anyway, but in the least it won't be a shock to your partner, and they'll understand you instead of feeling like your needs have switched overnight.