How to handle a breakup when you're knocked up
Pregnancy isn't always a time for couples to bond over baby — sometimes, it's about breaking up.
If breaking up is hard to do, then breaking up with a baby on board is even harder.
We might have the vision of pregnancy as a time in a couple's life when they are more in love than ever, but sometimes, that's not exactly an accurate picture. Breakups happen. One-night stands happen. Bad relationships happen. And figuring out what's best for Baby and for you?
Isn't always easy.
When relationships go wrong
If you are expecting a baby and having relationship trouble, it can be hard to determine the exact cause of the problems. Is it hormones? The stress of the pregnancy? The fact that you ate the last of the ice cream in the freezer? It may be important to look at your relationship beyond just the scope of the pregnancy.
"At the time of our breakup, I thought it was the pregnancy," relates Nicole Brabandt, whose boyfriend broke up with her six months after they found out they were expecting. "In hindsight, we were just not meant to be and the relationship had to expire at some point."
For the baby's sake
Women who have gone through a breakup while pregnant recognize that staying together "for the baby's sake" may not be the best move for anyone involved. Many may fear being labeled with the "single and pregnant" status. For example, Brabandt struggled with the stigma of being alone and tried to continue the relationship because the couple was having a baby together.
"I was completely mortified that we could spend three years of our lives together and then he could just leave me alone and pregnant like it was no big deal," she says. "I felt like I was not worthy of a valid relationship and I was completely embarrassed to go out in public being a single pregnant girl. I felt alone and embarrassed for the last three months of my pregnancy."
However, doing what's best for you — and your baby — is nothing to be ashamed of. "If I could have done anything differently I would have let him go sooner," confesses Brabandt. "I tried to hold onto the relationship for so long because I did not want to be the single pregnant girl."
What's in a name?
For couples who aren't married, it will also be important to consider the ramifications of choosing your significant other's last name for your baby. If you are doubting your relationship, or having problems, breaking up could leave your baby with a name that isn't exactly familiar.
"I completely regret giving my daughter her biological father's last name," admits Brabandt. "She is very aware that her last name is not the same as mine or the rest of our immediate family and she is very self-conscious about that."
Not all breakups will end unhappily. It is possible to move forward from a breakup during pregnancy and find love again. Take Brabant, for example. She met her now-husband when her daughter was 18 months old and has found happiness in growing their family with the addition of the couple's son. "My husband has treated my daughter as his own since the very beginning," she beams.