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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.
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.
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.
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.
Or email me at EricaPSavage@gmail.com if you'd like more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
@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.
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.
> 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.
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.
@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!
That guy is a manipulative asshole and he will be a terrible father.
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.
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.
That's a really good point. Good luck to you, Lena - you're very wise!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.