Dear Straight Talk: My girlfriend since last Christmas just told me she is pregnant. She is 17 and I’m 18. She’s been on the pill since she was 16 but maybe forgot to take them some days?? All she does is cry, call me constantly, then push me away. I want to tell her parents, but she forbids it. She won’t say what she wants to do, just that, “I have no idea what this is like.” I’m leaving for college six hours away and we were planning to go nonexclusive. I’m freaking out, too. This is affecting both of our futures, not just hers. How do I get her to calm down so we can figure something out? —Tony, Santa Rosa
Moriah, 17, Rutland, Vt.: Is she blood-test sure? So many friends have gone ballistic over missed periods or false urine tests. Even though it’s crucial to think fast, stay calm, supportive and demonstrative that you care about HER. Then she will feel safe processing with someone who isn’t freaking out about “how much time is left.”
Katherine, 17, Redding: This is more common than parents realize. No one can understand the stress a teen feels getting this news. It is worst for the girl. Your girlfriend honestly has NO idea what to do and doesn’t realize you’re stressed, too. Try to be understanding, get her to a doctor, THEN work on telling parents.
Kira, 22, Moraga: Don’t pressure her into a decision or talk about how this is ruining your future. I just finished “To Save a Life”. The main character has a basketball scholarship and like you, was about to leave. Make this about HER. Tell her (and mean it) that you’re on her side and will support whatever decision she makes. You will regret forcing something.
Molly, 22, Oakland: My partner and I went through the experience of terminating an unwanted pregnancy and it was a decision I wouldn’t take back in a million years. Please know there is no shame in taking this direction and millions of women have done it.
Andrew, 24, Cloverdale: A friend learned recently his girlfriend had an abortion without telling him. He felt completely powerless. Share your values and outcome desires and encourage her to do the same. Above all, you must respect her decision and be supportive no matter what.
Maddie, 15, Cotati: This IS a lot bigger for her. After she tells you what she might want to do, only then share your thoughts. There are heated opinions about adoption versus abortion, but I have nothing against either. This is your decision to make, not anyone else’s.
Rose, 23, Ukiah: Several friends had kids in high school. What mattered most was having their boyfriend’s total support from the beginning, no matter what decision they made — or how erratic they were acting. Go to Planned Parenthood. Everything is confidential and you’ll get all the info you need. Just keep showing up unconditionally, including being ready to pay child support.
Dear Tony: Welcome to adulthood. Please absorb the panel’s every word — they nail this. Now, my turn: If your girlfriend decides to keep the child, you’re a FATHER, and indescribably important to your child’s life. College becomes even more important so you can provide — however, studying locally probably makes more sense. WHY? We now know that a mother’s stress is actually toxic and compromises the neurology of both the fetus and young child. You — and both sets of parents — hold the keys to making this young mother either stressed-out or emotionally stable. Should she take the route of motherhood, please do the right thing for your child and society by taking fatherhood responsibly. — Lauren