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How to Deal With a Surprise Pregnancy

You weren’t really trying…but you’re pregnant. And while you’re mostly psyched about the news, you’re a little freaked out too. Okay, a lot. Here’s how to handle.

Photo: Thinkstock / The Knot

Issue 1: It’s not just that you weren’t trying. You made every effort not to get pregnant.
“I got pregnant while religiously taking birth control.” -- hockeymama79 *
How to deal: Give yourself permission to be upset about the pregnancy. It will be easier to get over it once you admit that to yourself. “Anger and shock could be something you’re feeling, and that’s perfectly fine to feel that way. Don’t feel guilty about your negative feelings,” says clinical psychologist Shoshana Bennett, PhD, who specializes in women’s health and postpartum depression. “It’s normal and healthy to allow yourself to feel this.”


Issue 2: You’ve got other plans that don’t involve a baby.
“I have a 13-year-old and am in the middle of finishing up my prerequisites to start a nursing program.” -- lululove45
How to deal: Don’t give up on your dreams! Sit down with your partner and make a plan together about how you’ll handle all the changes once baby arrives. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. “What’s really important is to keep telling yourself that you will find resources to make sure that all of your kids are cared for and that you will be able to achieve your career goals,” says Bennett. “There’s always a way if you stay focused and optimistic, whether it’s using a babysitting co-op or having friends or relatives help you.”


Issue 3: Your partner says he’s not ready to be a dad.
“When I found out, I burst into tears because my hubby had always said he wasn’t ready yet.” -- ladygwen81
How to deal: Don’t try to change his mind. Listen to him. He might just need some time to accept it. “You can’t control his emotions, but you can be supportive,” says Bennett. “Find out where your partner’s negativity is coming from and talk it out with him. Work through your concerns together because this is the time to build your relationship. And most important, don’t take it personally that they aren’t excited or happy.”


Issue 4: You just had a baby -- and the thought of another one sends you into a panic.
“We had a nine-month-old and I got pregnant as soon as I stopped nursing.” -- yogagal28
How to deal: Remember, you’re not alone. “Often when I hear from moms in these situations they voice concerns over not having enough time to enjoy and spend time with their first baby,” says Bennett. “It can be overwhelming for them, and they may think that it’s all on their shoulders. It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll find the physical and emotional support. There will be enough love to go around.” Focus on the positives of having kids so close in age -- they may end up having a great bond.


Issue 5: You haven’t had enough time as a family of two.
“We got pregnant on our honeymoon…talk about newlyweds!” -- CDK1
How to deal: Why look at it as the end of your relationship as a couple? Instead, think of it as the beginning of something new and exciting! Sure, it might become difficult to get alone time once baby comes, but it won’t be impossible. Just put in some effort to plan date nights and other couple time. “Couples need to remember that their relationship is not going to get lost in the shuffle. They will have dates and they will have regular time together. This is a wonderful time in your relationship,” says Bennett.

*Some names have been changed

-- Sarah Yang

See More: Pregnancy Expert , 1st Trimester