An unexpected pregnancy can throw anyone into a world of instant uncertainty. You never imagined making these hard decisions or having these necessary conversations with your partner right now.
One thing that can help you navigate your unexpected pregnancy often gets overlooked: communication. In the content below, we define and discuss how communication can help when you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Communication can mean so many things. In a relationship, not only is it important for your partner to understand your perceptions, but you also need to comprehend how your partner is experiencing the world as well, and that happens through communication.
Communication can be defined as the collaboration of two people as they “share and examine all of their perceptions, feelings, ideas, and thoughts to come to an accurate understanding of what is happening.” When you and your partner communicate well in a relationship, it helps you feel connected to one another.
Perhaps you once were in a relationship with poor communication, or maybe you’re in one now. If this is the case, you can resonate with how hard a relationship can be with a lack of effective communication. Let’s look at the characteristics of effective communication as we discuss how it can help you through your unplanned pregnancy.
You have much to discuss with your partner when you find out you’re pregnant. Knowing the right place and time to talk about a big topic like an unexpected pregnancy is just as important as how you communicate it. With effective communication, you will choose the right time and place to have those big talks.
The only thing you know for sure is how you feel, so as you communicate with your partner about your pregnancy, focus on that rather than analyzing why he feels the way he does. Now is the time to ask yourself serious questions so you can get in touch with what’s truly at the core of your emotions. For example, people often experience feelings such as fear and anger. Therefore, if you feel angry, consider why you’re mad. Are you upset with yourself? Your partner? The timing? Or are you afraid for your future or the implications of your pregnancy decision?
Think about what you want to say and choose your words carefully. Remember to be aware of your tone of voice, body posture, and facial expressions because they can unintentionally communicate the opposite message you want.
We know that communication can be tricky when you’re both experiencing high emotions, but it can help to use “I statements” such as: “When I think about having to make this decision, I feel scared.”
“I statements” help you stay on topic with your partner as you communicate your needs, wants, and feelings. Other examples of “I statements” include:
“I need your support by coming to the appointment with me.”
“I want to research our options together.”
“When you ask me how this happened, I feel blamed.”
If you and your partner both feel safe to share your needs, wants, and feelings, it tremendously helps you during your unplanned pregnancy. You’ll be able to efficiently discuss the real issues and create solutions rather than waste time and energy getting stuck on unchangeable scenarios.
When you were little, do you remember crying after getting hurt, just to have someone else tell you that what just happened to you didn’t really hurt? For most, that probably felt unhelpful because that person refused to acknowledge your truth and pain; you wanted to be heard and understood. It’s a universal desire.
People don’t have the right to tell someone else how they should feel. Feelings are feelings. You might be able to control how you respond to your feelings. However, if you are hurting, no one should tell you otherwise.
When discussing your unplanned pregnancy with your partner, it’s critical that you don’t tell one another how to feel or judge each other about your expressed feelings. You are each wired differently. You will have different fears, perspectives, and feelings about the pregnancy. With effective communication, you’ll both honor what the other feels about it, and you will be positioned to make decisions without blaming or criticizing one another.
Listening well builds connection and empathy because you focus on understanding the other person. With genuinely listening, you aren’t thinking about what to say next. In contrast, you are putting yourself in your partner’s shoes as you try to comprehend how he must be experiencing something.
Discussions with your partner right now about your unplanned pregnancy can be challenging and stressful, particularly if you have conflicting opinions. However, both of you can do your part in making the conversation go a little easier if each of you makes the intentional effort to practice listening well. Examples of listening well include:
If you can practice implementing these communication ideas, they will help you and your partner cope with this unplanned pregnancy together.
Are you experiencing an unexpected pregnancy? At Thrive STL, our licensed medical professionals can provide you with unbiased information and medical services at low cost or no cost. Contact us for a confidential appointment today.