Having been through an abortion once, I know it's a hard decision. I have a wonderful child now and we don't regret it. You have three wonderful kids; you'll be fine without another one, and I really believe it's only pro-lifers who will tell you you'll regret having the abortion. (And they aren't going to take care of your kids for you.)

The point I'd like to amplify is *you just don't know this man*. You really don't. As others have said, *you* will have to raise this child, for it's own safety if nothing else. You've read Savage Love long enough to know that Dan always advises people who have only been together a short amount of time that they don't really know each other yet. If you can't yet trust someone in a relationship, you certainly shouldn't have a child with them.

Oh, and please remember that there are a lot of idiots on here. The anonymity that people have on the internet makes them really, really hateful and it amplifies their ignorance (not to mention they'll just argue to get a rise.) Ignore the haters.

Take good care, and enjoy the kids you have.
I am surprised at the level of anti-male sexism here. Not what I expected form egalitarian slog readers.

Also, there is some bad legal advice being given. If they have the child, they are coparents. They have to either agree on custody or haev a court resolve it. It is her unilateral choice to decide whether to abort or not. It will not be her unilateral choice to determine the custody of child. If she and he cannot agree, she doesn't just get to keep the child and determine how much input he has. A court will decide who is the custodial parent. She doesn't win this merely because she is female or because she already has children. The court will determine the best interests of the child, and that may not accord with the conventional wisdom running loose in this thread. He may be the primary custodial parent, or may have the baby 50/50, or for every other weekend and wednesday night. She doesn't get to choose that. They haev to agree. If they can't, the judge will decide. However, there is still a moderate pro-mother bias held by some family law judges.

Conversely, she may be worrying too much about finances. As long as she has the baby in her care 50% of the time, maybe even less, due to their relative economic inequality, he will be paying child support, and probably in a sufficient amount to not only cover the increased cost of this child on her household, but picking up some of the slack as well.

Neither party expected this to happen and both reasonably believed it wouldn't. Reasonable precautions against pregnancy were taken. So don't be too hard on either of them. They weren't careless.

Finally, this idea that some guy who has dated a woman for two months when an accidental pregnancy occurs is a bad guy for not wanting to marry her and financially provide for her and her children is batshit crazy. He primary obligation is to the child, if she has it, and only secondarily to her, by virtue of being the child's mother and only in response to that child's care. He is not morally or legally responsible for her entire financial wellbeing in any event or her previous children, unless he makes a lifelong romantic commitment to her, which is incredibly premature at 2 months of dating. Come on out of the 1950s, people.
"A man who can't handle knowing that a woman has aborted 'his child' probably shouldn't be having vaginal intercourse at all" is just as unrealistic as saying "If you didn't want to have a baby, you shouldn't have been having sex."

That beings said, I think the rest of Mr. Savage's advice is great. He's pointed out that she wouldn't just be dumping the baby with him and then never seeing him/her again. He's pointed out that the man seems perfectly capable of being a single parent.

And one more thing: This, a man being the custodial parent while the women is the visiting parent, would help destigmatize other such arrangements.
@105, a man who impregnates a woman has no control over what she does with her body at that point. A woman who gets pregnant absolutely does have control over what she does with her own body at that point. So no, it's not "just as unrealistic" or even remotely similar.

And this "He's pointed out that the man seems perfectly capable of being a single parent" is a joke. The LW who's been dating the guy for two months doesn't know that. Dan and the people in this thread certainly don't.
Lena1985, thanks for explaining about why you weren't using condoms. I'd encourage you to learn about using your body's signals to tell what days you are especially fertile. (This works with non-hormonal birth control like the copper IUDs.) The basic idea of the "symptothermal" method of fertility awareness, is that your basal body temperature, your cervical mucus, and the position of your cervix are clues that tell you when your body is fertile. After tracking those changes for a few months, you will have a good sense of when you can safely have intercourse and when you should engage in other sexual activities (like oral sex). Good luck with your decisions!
@93: that's nice -- I hope Lena comes back :)
Re 107, meant to add: Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility is the book I used, but you can also read about the method at:….
Or email me at if you'd like more information.
What a mess, if it's real.
Lena, if you come back... I have to say, it sounds to me like your gut is telling you what you need to do. It's in your words: you say you just can't do this.

It raises big red flags to me that your ten-year relationship was with an abusive guy, who took control of you while you were young. You have worked incredibly hard to save your life and your children's lives from him.

The guy who got you pregnant may be the sweetest guy in the world, but you did everything it took to get back your autonomy from the father of your kids, and you're in a situation where your health and life could be medically at risk. YOU are the one who gets to make this decision, and it has to be about what is right for you and your kids, NOT what is right for his needs. He's 32 and as many people have pointed out, he has plenty of time to pass on his genes and have kids.

He's pressuring you to keep the baby without a reason that's truly convincing to you. He won't be the one putting his health at risk by carrying the baby to term, and you haven't known him long enough to say for certain that he'll provide the financial means to make it happen. He may be a great guy, and I certainly hope he is, cause you deserve a healthy relationship. You do not have enough proof that he'll be a great father.

You're already stretched thin to take care of your children right now. Stick with the three kids you have and they will have more food to eat, more opportunities, more of your time and attention. You have found a way to provide for them and you're ready to move into the next phase and take an opportunity that's going to give them even more. Growing up as you did, I'm sure you want a better life for your kids than you had.

The people who know you best and your local Planned Parenthood will be the best people to help you make this decision. But in case some part of you just wanted to hear it: It's OK to have the abortion.
"How many women do you know that had 3 kids by 23 years old and is still managing to continue their education AND work?? Those are ALL responsible decisions."

But it's still not responsible to have had three children by 23 without a way of supporting them.

"But the second I had my first child, I started making nothing but responsible decisions!"

Like having two more kids before even getting a high school diploma?

You might not be an abusive or neglectful mother but you put yourself and your children in a position of tremendous vulnerability when you do that, and let's face it, a GED at 25 (25!!!!) is NOT a huge accomplishment.

Stop making bad decisions and asking others not to judge you for it.

It's funny, but with the definition of marriage and it's attendant rights and privileges getting so much attention as of late, that it hasn't been discussed more in this thread.

Lena, if you are still reading this and are at all considering keeping the child, please seriously consider entering into a civil union with this guy. This isn't about morality or anything, and you two can certainly work out how your relationship actually works, but this locks in two very important things for you, your child and him, namely the ability to access his medical insurance and the right to a divorce, including custody and maintenance.

I realize it is far too early in your relationship to be married as it is usually conceived, but in many ways, the state has built a solid package for potential parents; if you're going to have this guy's child, you should ignore the romantic fantasy aspects and give the nuts and bolts of the arrangement serious thought.

Best of luck.
@114: "Lena, if you are still reading this and are at all considering keeping the child, please seriously consider entering into a civil union with this guy. This isn't about morality or anything, and you two can certainly work out how your relationship actually works, but this locks in two very important things for you, your child and him, namely the ability to access his medical insurance and the right to a divorce, including custody and maintenance."

There are plenty of resources available to her as a single mother without being locked into a civil union with him. Especially as it sounds like she has little interest in dating him long-term.

That said, I agree with the posters who think this letter smells funny.
And this is what happens when you feel a moral need to tell a guy about a pregnancy you're ending. I feel you should tell them if you're unsure and might want to keep it, but what is the earthly point if you've made your mind up to abort it and their feelings won't make a difference? Its just mean.
The whole "gee, you had unprotected sex after just a month" ranting is a little frustrating to read. Would you call it "unprotected sex" if she had been on the Pill and it had failed? Under typical usage, the Pill is way more effective than condoms, and IUD beats both of them handily. An intrauterine device IS protection.

Yes, condoms are always a good idea because they protect against disease too. However, that isn't what is at issue here. She didn't write in about unexpectedly coming down with herpes, now did she? (For which neither her IUD nor your condom provide decent protection, BTW. If you can't trust him to be truthful about being clean after a month, you probably shouldn't be having sex at all, because that condom is not going to save you.)

Yes, multiple contraceptive methods are also a good idea, but somehow I doubt that had they chosen only condoms, and she was pregnant because one had broken, you would be excoriating him for not insisting she put in a diaphragm as well.

Not to be Captain Obvious here, but if you have this child you and the father will have to be interacting as co-parents for the next 18 years. Given that, I can't help but wonder why this isn't being discussed in terms of marriage and making a stable family, rather than "hand over the baby and let me raise it."

I understand that rushing into marriage because you are pregnant carries its own risks., compared to aborting now and going more slowly over the next few years. I was just struck by how there seemed to be no discussion of your and his relationship in the context of this. All else being equal, a stable marriage would be the preferable option, but it seems like it isn't being considered. Have you already come to the conclusion that would be a non-starter?
Lena, going forward, there are non-latex condom options, as well as hypoallergenic latex condoms. All of these have their drawbacks, but they can be reasonable options.
@116: I agree with you in spirit, though some people are honest to a fault.

@118: Yeah, the reason why this is suspicious is that the letter's childishly simplistic. All the factors that would have come into place with her previous 3 kids have suddenly vanished, and not even in the "i haven't learned any lessons" sense.
@118 "All else being equal, a stable marriage would be the preferable option, but it seems like it isn't being considered."

I think that may be because it is bat-shit crazy to try to plan a 19 year or so commitment to someone you've been dating a couple months.

@115 "There are plenty of resources available to her as a single mother without being locked into a civil union with him. Especially as it sounds like she has little interest in dating him long-term."

I only got the impression she was acknowledging the bat-shit craziness I noted above, not that she was closed off to the possibility of having a future with this man.

I also disagree that a civil union "locks" her into anything, and I stressed that one of the important features of it is help structuring the dissolution of their relationship and ongoing support for their child. Admittedly, this is a community property state, which means he, as the partner with more assets, is risking more, but admittedly, he's making a pretty big ask...

Lastly, while I agree there are other resources and avenues she should explore, most of the statistics and anecdotal evidence I've seen indicates that the the resources for single pregnant women are not exactly plentiful nor generous and given the economy and all, I wouldn't want to have to rely on them for the next year or so... just to then move on as a single mother of four.

Again, the term marriage is so loaded that I think we forget that part of the whole point for the state in being involved in this sort of thing is to ensure the proper allocation of two people's resources towards a child. Further, it's not exactly like divorce is uncommon or taboo.
I cannot believe the amount of people judging me here! I was "careless" yet I went to a pretty extreme extent to prevent pregnancy! No birth control is 100% effective, but you'd think with an IUD in place that is said to be "more than 99% effective," the odds would be on your side. Isn't the WHOLE point of an IUD to PREVENT pregnancy? I didn't want anymore children at the moment, so I got the IUD while waiting for an appointment with the specialist to get my tubes tied. What else do you suggest I do? And foe those of you who are judging me for sleeping with this guy after a month and a bit, I'm sure none of you have EVER slept with someone prior to marriage or without being with someone for years right? I am the ONLY person alive who has ever done that. Do you know how many children are out there as a result from a one night stand and the paternity of the child is unknown?? So me dating this man for over a month and getting to know him a bit, I felt like it was o to move forward. It's not like I just slept with some random person! And for the person who said obtaining my GED at 25 is not something to be proud of, try my shoes on! Just because I had 3 children by 23 DOES NOT make me irresponsible! At that point in my life, we were financially secure! Now I'm struggling with bills, yea, but I'm doing the best I can with what I have. People like you make me sick. You just want to argue because anyone who knows me in real life is proud of me for what I am doing. Anyway, I can't listen to this anymore. I came to Dan for advice and I have gotten a million replies. Most of them were helpful. Me and my boyfriend have talked this out in detail and I believe we have made a decision that is right for both of us. Although, I do not want to share my decision on here for obvious reasons, I want to say thank you to everyone of you who gave me HELPFUL advice. I appreciated everything you said and took it all into consideration. I feel comfortable (well as comfortable as possible) with the decision we have made. Thank you to all the kind people out there. To the people who judged me and acted as though they are perfect human being with perfect lives who have never had anything bad happen to them or made a mistake, go to hell. Honestly, you're here to criticize but not even give your advice on what I should or shouldn't do. I didn't ask for your impression of me.
@100 Oh poor, pregnant you.

> How much more dismissive of women considering abortion are you going to get in this thread?

Coming from the queen of dismissal? That's a laugh.

You've only cut and paste one idea "my body, my decision" but for some reason can't accept "um, yeah, no argument" as an answer. As far as I can tell nobody here is suggesting she doesn't have the right to choose. But keep beating that drum if it makes you feel better to win easy fights.

Maybe preggo-hormone surges (see now that's dismissal) are keeping you from understanding the difference between saying what someone can do (rights) and what someone should do (advice).

The woman came here looking for advice, right? And she got it good, bad and ugly, but c'est la Internet, no? That's what happens when you crowd-source major life decisions.
No one needs to "wear your shoes" to know your life is harder. Of course your life is harder. It started out hard and it's harder because you made dumb decisions. I'm not going to pat you on the back for them, either.

@123 & 100, I'm not sure what you two are even arguing anymore. You both agree that Lena (and any other pregnant woman) has the right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, as far as I can tell. Are you just arguing about the language you use to describe that?

Debug, you did lose me a little when you told LW that having any relationship was a bad idea. She met a nice guy, and they started dating. Not sure where the crime is, here.
@124, I'm not asking for a pat on the back! When did I EVER ask you for that? Or ask for anything? All I asked for was advice! That's all! I'm happy with my life and the path I'm going down and I definitely do not have to impress YOU!

@125, thank you! I didn't realize that single parents were not allowed to date.... I guess I never read the handbook. He is a great guy! He makes me happy thus far and vice versa so I think he will benefit my children and myself if things happen to work out between us in the end. Thank you for your support. My children deserve a positive male rolemodel in their lives that cares about them I think!
Abort The Motherfucker Already.

That guy is a manipulative asshole and he will be a terrible father.
Yeah. This whole thing is a crock of shit. As I suspected from the start, this letter was little more than a platform to spark comments that could be trolled.
You've been dating him for 2 months now and you're already talking about him as a father figure for your kids.

Your big, mysterious decision was just to pop out another kid and this time by a guy who hasn't been in the picture very long. Then you can all pretend to be a family.

Great thinking this time. Much better. I take back everything I said about your decision-making skills.
Lena, seriously -- ignore the trolls -- some people post negative things just to see if they can make others angry -- it's just the nature of comment boards. You know all the unregistered comments could very well have been made by the same person who just likes to argue and would take any side of an issue just to be contrary... I think 95% of readers want the best for you. I wish you felt comfortable enough to tell those of us -- the vast majority! -- what you decided, and could just ignore the trolls here -- but I am happy to hear that you came to a decision that you are reasonably comfortable with. Thanks for your continued posts, and I wish you the best.
Hi Lena-

I echo what others have said-you sound like a strong and determined woman and a loving and responsible mother to your 3 kids. Whatever you choose will be the right choice.

I write to tell you that I have seen lots of women coming for abortions during the 20 years I've volunteered as a clinic escort. When they get to the clinic, some are sad, some frightened, some indifferent, some confident. But no matter what, they will find an understanding ear in the clinic and someone who can help you talk through your situation. No one will make you do anything you don't want to do. Good clinics support their patients whatever their decision is because they trust women. Planned Parenthood or a reputable independent will take good care of you. I trust women too, and support you and all women faced with this decision.
@129, I didn't talk about HIM as a father figure to my kids!!!!!!!! You REALLY need to READ what is written before opening your mouth! I said I am allowed to date (and I wasn't even speaking to you when I said this) even if I am a mother of 3 children! I said it would be nice to have a positive male rolemodel in my children's lives. I didn't say HIM! I said "a positive male rolemodel" and that doesn't not, in any way, mean him. I'm saying eventually, at some point, sometime in my life, with someone! And you don't know what decision I made! So jump to conclusions as you've been doing since your first comment on this! Did I SAY I was keeping the baby?? NO! I did NOT! Did I say I wasn't?? NO! I DID NOT! Did I say I was giving it up for adoption?? NO! I DID NOT! I said "I have made a decision" and I have! But you think for some reason, you know me and know everything about me so therefore, you MUST know what my decision is right? Of course you do!! Because you are apparently a perfect human being incapable of making any mistakes! Wow! What a fine specimen you are! Everyone should strive to be just like you!!
And @116, I didn't tell him with my mind made up 100% first of all. I was debating all the options! And secondly, I took Dan's advice and told him because that is the "moral" thing to do. I contemplated keeping it, not keeping it, and although it wouldn't make any sense at all (since if I was to do it, I may as well hand the baby to him) adoption popped into my head for a split second as well. But that was before I told him. I sat here for days thinking about what I would do. I wanted to talk to him and tell him because not only was I not sure, but he IS that father and I DO believe he has (maybe not the ultimate) a choice in what decision I make. Just because he can't carry the baby to term, doesn't make the child any less his. So yea, I think what I did was right. I'm sure if I didn't tell him and we stayed together and somehow he found out that I had been pregnant and aborted it without even telling him I was pregnant, he would be far from impressed and it could ruin whatever chance we have of making this work. I want and believe that it's the right thing to be honest and this isn't just some "white lie."
@134 "if I didn't tell him and we stayed together and somehow he found out that I had ...aborted it without even telling him I was pregnant, ... it could ruin whatever chance we have of making this work."

That's a really good point. Good luck to you, Lena - you're very wise!
Lena, sweetie, stop reading this bullshit. Like someone said above, there are people here that are just trolls, who enjoy pissing others off. They aren't worth the piss you leave in the toilet bowl. I'm glad you've made a decision and feel at peace. Go and have a happy life. Hugs!
@125 Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm arguing either, lol. Maybe it's a travel day and I have nothing better to do.

As far as the relationship thing. The proof is in the pudding, look at all the drama a nice little relationship has already caused her. There simply are times where dating isn't the best option.

I keep getting dinged that somehow I'm telling her what to do (as if I had that power). Just advice based on her history, her age, her kids, and her bad luck.

I'm not against people who have their shit together having relationships. This person doesn't fit that profile...or maybe she does and I've just been reading it all wrong.
Lena, in your shoes i think my choices from best to worst would be:

1) Having an abortion
2) Keeping the baby and sharing custody
3) Letting this guy raise the baby alone. I get the impression that your gut feeling is that that would be a bad idea, and I think you should follow that instinct.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Abortion is never a fun or easy choice, but it sounds like it may be the best option in this situation.
Welcome to the life of men, who don't get that choice you get. I'm all about pro-choice, but my opinion didn't matter in the end, and I still don't like it. See, she agreed to have the kid, and then we had intercourse, and then she changed her mind.
Damn, Shaneequa, you are one fertile valley.

The first consideration here is your kids. Let's say you bring the baby to term. Your very young children witness you growing great with child, as they say in the bible. What will your explaination be for giving away their sibling? Who knows what kind of havoc that will wreak on their tender psyches? "Are you gonna give ME away?" I'm not being flippant here.Kids make everything about them, and they will suffer, probably silently, if you don't keep the baby. I think that is a HUGE deal--the deciding factor. I don't think you'll be able to give the baby away. If you didn't have kids, it would be completely different. But, unlike the Republican party, you HAVE to put the kids who are here first.
I'm usually all about adoption, but in this case I think three littlel ones would be too deeply hurt. So, either keep the kid and this guy in your life, or do the RU 486. But don't give him the baby.

@Lena - I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of support here. I wish you peace with whatever you've decided, I wish you a much happier and easier time of things in the future than you've already had, I wish you joy and health and wealth. I'm sorry you've had such a difficult life, but I'm amazed and awed by what you've overcome, and I can't even imagine the strength and depth of character you must possess. I'm only a few years older than you, and I'm pretty sure the trials that made you stronger would've killed me. You are one tough lady and one amazing mother. You should be proud of yourself! You remind me of my mother, whose first marriage was similar to the situation with the father of your first three children, and you should know that all of us kids just about worship her. She showed us time and time again that nothing was more important to her than us and that she would go through hell and back for us, and I can't tell you how deeply comforting it is to have a mother like that. It doesn't matter what else happens, I know without a shred of doubt that my mother will always be there for me. Your actions are laying that very same foundation of trust and love for your kids. Even if they're too young to be vocally appreciative now, one day they will look back on all the sacrifices you have made for them and they will be more grateful than words can express. Some people are unlucky enough to grow up questioning their place in their parents' lives; my siblings and I and your kids are so lucky that we never had that doubt with our mothers. Moms like you are rare and wonderful. Thank you so much for your unflinching dedication to your children; it means more to them than they will ever really be able to tell you.
@137, it seems to me that, until she became pregnant, her shit was reasonably together. She was a year or two out of a bad relationship, she's working, she's getting her GED. She doesn't say how old her kids are, but probably the older two (at least) are in school. She had a reasonable belief that birth control was covered. Why not date?
@140 - huh, usually the racism on Slog is more subtle. Or is there some content to "Shaneequa" that a google search doesn't turn up, besides that it's a stereotypically black woman's name?
(@143, I take that back, there's plenty of unsubtle racism on Slog. But it usually stays out of the threads on sex relationship advice...)
Lena: If you are newly pregnant and have an IUD, I hope you have gotten medical care to confirm that you do not have an ectopic pregnancy, which can debilitate or kill you if left untreated. Ectopic pregnancies are far more common when there is an IUD in place.

IUD pregnancies are considered high-risk. If you plan to keep the pregnancy, please find medical care which can direct you to a high-risk specialist.

If you are planning an abortion, sometimes having a doctor remove the IUD will trigger a miscarriage. Again, please get timely medical care.

As far as what to do about the father, IF you choose to continue the pregnancy, you do NOT have to give up custody of the child in order to get support from the father. He has to legally provide child support at the level of his income. He cannot dictate terms to you like "Give the baby to me and I will support it."

Please see your local US attorney, the local Family court, and perhaps an attorney to find out how to obtain child support for your child.

You may also need help with setting up visitation rights for the father, once the baby is born. You will need the help of the Family Court in your county to do that. Visitation is determined by what is best for the child. The father does not get to demand visitation simply because he provides support.

Lena, it looks like answering your critics' posts here is raising your blood pressure. It's not worth it! Stop reading in here, make the best decision for you with the information you have at hand now, and don't look back. You don't have to prove to us that you're doing the right thing. Make a decision you can live with, and move on. If you're not sure what that should be, write it out on paper, or meet with someone whose judgment you trust, and talk it out--that might mean going to Planned Parenthood. Don't take the comments on a website by people who don't know you so much to heart. Best wishes to you.
@145 sounds like her IUD fell out without her noticing. Doesn't that mean that her risk of ectopic pregnancy is at normal levels, because the IUD wasn't there when she got pregnant?
@143: Sounds like your average South Park Republican to me.
Lena! Quit reading, dang it! If there's one thing I learned during two pregnancies, it's that strangers' opinions, especially when rendered on the internet, are incredibly not helpful, and probably don't mean to be.

Just for other bored people reading though, IF YOU GET PREGNANT with an IUD, it is more likely to be ectopic. That's not to say that IUD's raise your risk of ectopics, or cause ectopics. The copper IUD works by irritating the uterine lining and preventing implantation. Also by mysterious ways involving sperm motility. So you are no more likely to have an ectopic BECAUSE you had the IUD, and if it's been a month, you'd have lost a tube already.

Also, regarding the IUD, you have to check the string, not only that it's there, but that it hasn't changed in length. You're supposed to do that monthly. I don't have one, btw, I just read up on them obsessively considering one. They freaked me out quite a bit.
Actually, IUD and BC Pill both reduce your risk of ectopics, because they prevent fertilization.
I'm glad someone brought up ectopic pregnancy. She really needs an ultrasound for health reasons and everything else in the letter is secondary/contingent upon that.

Another health related comment, having an IUD in place increases her risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which can't be carried to full term and endangers her life.

She needs to get checked by her doctor ASAP, confirmed pregnant, get an ultrasound to find the little ball of cells, and have a discussion with her doctor about what can happen. It's very likely that this pregnancy is a nonstarter and the doctor will be able to tell her (and the boyfriend) that so this stops impacting their relationship.
She didn't have an IUD in place when she became pregnant. So why is there an increased chance of ectopic pregnancy?

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