The first thing to consider when thinking about moving forward is, of course, whether you want to have the baby. Obviously, that’s not a consideration if you planned this pregnancy, but in any other case, that’s a conversation that will need to be had.
You’ll want to consider whether you’re ready for a baby and want to be a parent at this moment in your life. Birkel says it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you even want to include the other person in this decision, but if you do want to make the decision together, it’s also important to factor in the status of your relationship. If you’ve only been together for a few months, for example, he says you shouldn’t feel like you have to stay together just for the sake of the child.
From there, if you do decide you want to move forward with the pregnancy, Spinelli says it’s more than normal to experience a myriad of emotions, so be gentle with yourself. “Emotions from joy to fear show up simultaneously,” she notes.
Having a solid support system throughout the pregnancy will also go a long way in easing the physical and mental burdens of pregnancy and motherhood, so she advises turning to support where it feels safe to explore your feelings and options without judgment. “Reaching out to a therapist to navigate this space can really help the couple figure out their next steps,” she adds.
Pregnancy can sometimes feel isolating, but Spinelli notes to remember that there is no “right” way. Maintain your boundaries from those who you feel don’t support you, and surround yourself with those who do. And of course, be sure to lean into self-care, she says.
Overall, as you make it through the next nine months, it’s important to seek out resources to keep yourself in good health, physically and mentally, for you and the baby.