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Iím 17 and pregnant, but I donít know who the father is.

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Iím 17 and pregnant, but I donít know who the father is. I think it might either be my boyfriend or a guy I met at a party. When my mom found out about the pregnancy, she told me that I had to move out and get married to the father of the baby. Seeing as how I donít know who the dad is, I donít know what to do. Should I lie and tell my boyfriend the baby is his? If I do that, he will stay and take care of the baby with me. Should I find out who the father is? Is abortion a good option?óNo Name


Tiffany Answers:

Editor’s Comments: This week’s installment is a very graphic and honest discussion that involves a question related to abortion. I chose to include this because I feel that the issue of pre-marital sex and all the horrible consequences are happening more and more today with our youth. If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these problems, please check out the information at http://livingiths.org/resources/at-risk-help/risk-behaviors/sexual-issues.

Dear 17 and Pregnant,

First of all, please let me encourage you to take a deep breath, if you haven’t already, and allow yourself a moment to pause and gather your thoughts. Find a friend, trusted pastor, teacher, or another family member and spend some time being “loved” by them for a minute. Dwell in the presence of your heavenly Father by taking some time out with Him in prayer, reading your Bible, or listening to some sacred, Christian music. It may at first seem unimportant that I am asking you to do all this, but I suggest it for a few specific reasons:

1. You need to gather the support and encouragement of those who love you to strengthen you in the decisions you have to make.

2. You need some time to debrief your mind, to get out of “stress” mode so that you can make decisions calmly and rationally.

3. You need to realize that in all things you are still loved and cherished by God, and a child of the King. You also especially need His guidance in making some decisions. Did you make some mistakes? Yes. Are you facing an ideal situation? No. Is God still capable of forgiving, healing, restoring, and making beauty from ashes? Yes. You have made some choices that have consequences you must deal with, but, in spite of how troubling the situation seems, God can still turn it around and use it for His glory if you let Him guide you.

Now let me first discuss your thoughts of possibly getting an abortion. Before you make this decision, take some time to actually read up on the stages of baby development for each week of pregnancy. A good source to consider is MayoClinic.com with its articles on fetal development. Then you can explore “Abortion Procedures” on americanpregnancy.org.

In most cases you don’t even realize you are pregnant until after your baby already has a heartbeat. And in many cases abortion procedures take place after your growing baby has reached some significant milestones. The ultrasound that you are often required to obtain before an abortion procedure will highlight some of these milestones. It can be a lot to mentally take in, and you do have to tackle that nagging-but-pertinent question: Are you ending a human life? And in doing so, are you taking upon yourself a divine decision?

When speaking about Jeremiah, God tells him, “ ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’ ” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV).* God often designs a purpose and plan for us before we are even conceived, your baby included. I don’t want to beat you up emotionally, but you will inevitably have to answer these questions in your own head long after the abortion is over. You owe it to yourself to face the facts and potential consequences of abortion before you have to deal with its aftermath.

So what remains? You have options, and if you need some resources, please consult your physician, local OB/GYN, school nurse, or counselor. They typically have access to resources in your area. You could choose to give your baby up for adoption. There are a lot of loving and caring, but childless, people out there who are just aching to give your baby a home should you decide that you are not ready for parenthood and the responsibilities it entails. Sometimes they will even cover the medical costs incurred for your pregnancy. If the thought of having absolutely no contact with a child you brought into the world seems unbearable, adopting couples might allow you to have an open adoption, one in which you can still interact and be a part of the child’s life in some form or fashion. And yes, there is also the traditional option of raising the child yourself. You will need the support of others should this be the road you choose to take, be it a church family, a relative, or even your mother.

In regard to your mom, please allow her time to process the situation. Finding out that a child of hers is going to have a child of her own can be a lot to take in, especially when she wasn’t expecting grandchildren until the situation was much different. You are going to have to level with her and tell her honestly the situation you are faced with: you are carrying a child and are unsure of the father. Allow her some time to process that information as well. But at the end of the day, if you come to her, detailing the situation plainly and also explaining your plans for handling the situation, it can go a long way. You may need to bring along a pastor, aunt or uncle, or another trusted adult to help you mediate through the conversation, but it is possible.

At some point, yes, it may be a good idea to find out the paternity of the child. It would be fair to the true father so that he can know that he has a child in the world and decide how he wants to be a part of the child’s life. Just because you gave birth to the child doesn’t mean the child is only yours. He or she is the equal product of two parents.

I would not suggest lying to your boyfriend and making him believe the child is his when there is a chance that he is not the father. Such deception can only lead to a bitter and painful heartache in the long run. Sit down with your boyfriend and let him know the situation. Yes, prepare for him to be angry. He is entitled to feel hurt that he’s been betrayed, but remember, your temporary discomfort with the situation does not give you clearance to lead him through a lifetime of deception. If the child happens to belong to the man from the party, yes, let him know. However, I would advise you to not jump into a serious relationship with this guy just because of the child. In the long run it will do more harm than good.

And another tip: Because you did have unprotected sex with this other man, I strongly advise you to get tested for sexually transmitted infections. Protect your health and the health of your growing child.

You, my friend, have a lot of difficult decisions to make. And, I’ll be honest with you, it’s going to be quite hard at times. But realize that all things are possible with God (see Matthew 19:26). There is a reason God has placed safeguards around our sexuality, and, without launching into a full-blown sermon, I believe you understand that, because you are facing firsthand some of the negative and painful consequences of violating those safeguards. But believe me, you are not the first, and unfortunately you will not be the last, person out there who has made this mistake.

How you choose to handle this situation from here will shape your character. I have full confidence that you can turn this situation around for something good, and I know God will be holding your hand throughout the entire process. Trust Him. Lean on Him. With that, you cannot go wrong. I send you my love, and please realize that I am praying for you. God bless you!

* Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 



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