Pregnant at 21 and don't know what to do - Please help.

(39 Posts)
songbird92 Sun 13-Oct-13 17:04:52

Recently myself and my partner relocated to the South of England from the North in July so he can finish his degree at university and so I can try and make a career for myself (there's not much opportunity in the creative industry in terms of the North).
I started a new job in retail which I don't particularly like and got a promotion to just under a supervisor within 2 months, I've been under a lot of stress with moving, getting a job and barely knowing anyone.
Due to the stress of working 37 hours (which would usually only be 21 but a keyholder left and i'm their only other keyholder) a week and suffering from high anxiety I forgot to take my pill after my week break and now i'm pregnant.

I think i'm around 6 weeks pregnant, I have told only three people including my partner who has had a mixed reaction. We were certain we were going to have a termination but as soon as I found out I walked around town trying to price things up to see if any of this would be doable if I were to have this child. I certainly do not have a lot of money and have been trundling through freecycle.org and gumtree in hopes of finding baby things (they are there). I have been having second thoughts.

My partner has not been the easiest to talk to, he has told me since finding out that 'we are not having it'. Rather than asking me what I want. He has also spent pretty much every night out making uni friends. As it is freshers week.
I really needed him there as I don't know anyone really.. I have spent my nights crying myself to sleep only to be woken up at 4am when he comes back from his night out and then tells me that he loves this baby so much? He likes to sleep with his hand over my stomach even though he is telling me he wants the complete opposite!?

I am completely in two minds about this baby, I scheduled an abortion with BPAS for Monday which I now need to change because my manager changed my day off without asking me to do something she needed to do..
I genuinely do not know what to do.

My mother had me at 21 without the support of my father who is nothing but a disappointment to me, but she never really made a life for herself or a career which is really holding me back as I want a career BUT I also want a family. I always imagined having a family when I was married, and although I have been with my partner for 1 1/2 years we are not looking to get married soon.

I do not know what I am doing, my partner told me over a message last night that he was thinking we should have the baby. We are not financially stable at all, he is at uni - he has a loan, and works about 20 hours in retail to support us and the baby wouldn't be due till around June which would be after his exams?
I have no idea what support I would have from the government? I don't know how housing benefits work? I have tried looking online but it just makes no sense to me as its such a specific circumstance. We are currently in a studio flat which we pay a whopping £625 a month for, there is no room for a baby in here and our lease expires in 3 months time.

Does anybody have any advice for me?
Any twenty something mothers have the same financial issues as me and understand the system?

I just don't know if I can have an abortion but I don't know how i'd support this baby! Let alone childcare, would I work? Would I have to stay at home?

I'm literally a mess.
Please help if you can, any advice is appreciated.

peanutMD Sun 13-Oct-13 17:17:18

First of all try to calm down and stop stressing about finances etc, you've just had some pretty shocking news and you need to decide what you want.

I had my son at 19, my DP and i were living at my mums house as we had given up or jobs and moved 250 miles away to a better area (and to be nearer my family) do it can be done.

Circumstances aside you need to speak to your partner and tell him this is a life changing decision which ever way it goes and that you need to support each other through it.

Please don't be forced into a termination if its not what you truly want as you will regret it but same goes fir keeping it, you don't have to if you feel its not the right time but take your time age think it through!

Financially babies do not need to cost much as they don't actually need as much stuff as advised, the biggest costs are being put of work pr childcare but you will get help with this from the government either way

littlecloud Sun 13-Oct-13 17:19:43

I'm now in my mid to late 20's had my first at 20, second at 22, and am now pregnant with my third. In this time we have brought our own house and got married. DH has a good job but was qualified and working when we had dc1, I had left uni due to financial reasons and was working full time.

We've had our ups and downs over the years as raising kids can be stressful and damn hard work. I went back to work part time at weekends then returned part time during the day when kids were pre-school/school age. We've never claimed more than CB as we both worked. wouldn't change dc1 for the world now smile. I do sometimes wonder what I would have got up to in my early 20's had I been childless. Most of my friends have caught up now and are married and have kids/pregnant also.

But I also went to an abortion clinic where I had a dating scan early on before I decided to not go ahead obviously.

I can't tell you either way what to do but it worked out for us and I love being a younger mum. I will never have the career I want but motherhood is more important to me. Good luck with what ever path you choose.

DropYourSword Sun 13-Oct-13 17:22:21

Agree with peanut...forget about the finances side of things right now. Just focus on whether you WANT the baby because if you do you will figure all that stuff out. Don't let your partner tell you what to do, it's your decision. He's being a total arse the way he's treating you here.

Maria33 Sun 13-Oct-13 17:26:43

I had a baby young: I was 23, so a bit older and my partner owned his flat. We both had excellent degrees and good prospects. I was very unsure at the time.

15 years on, we are still together, have 2 more kids, life has been good a lot of the time but it has been bloody hard work and we have fought hard to make it all work. Sometimes I wasn't sure that our relationship would make it.

I do think that if we'd waited another 3 or 4 years, it would have been much easier. We would have been a bit more grown up and just done a few more of the things we wanted to do. We both feel, though we didn't really realise it at the time, that we were ripped out of our twenties and there are some things we will never have the opportunity to do. What you need to understand is that by the time your child leaves home you will be 42 and your child will need you every single day of those twenty years.

I'm guessing that on some level you know what you want to do. Do it.
Live the life you want to live and be kind to yourself about your decisions. Neither decision will be without complications.

Do not underestmate how hard having children is. It's rewarding, wonderful and life changing but it is no small undertaking, especially if you're not in a financially stable situation.

Good luck - it's a hard decision.

Madratlady Sun 13-Oct-13 17:27:06

First of all if you're having financial issues why are you only wanting to work 21 hours a week? 37 is normal full time work but you sound like you think it's a lot.

Do you live somewhere very expensive? Your flat sounds extortionate. Is there a cheaper option?

We're also pretty short of cash because I lost my job at 8 weeks pregnant and ended up waiting 10 weeks with no income for a start date for my new one. We're managing fairly cheaply with second hand stuff and shopping around. It can be done. As far as I can see it's only really going to get expensive when we have to pay for child care. There's no 'ideal' time to have a baby anyway, if everyone waited till they had lots of money not many people would have children. And I think you'll be eligible for some benefits anyway which would help.

Don't be pushed into doing something you don't want to do or will regret. It's your choice not your boyfriend's. You both need to discuss it properly, face to face not via text, and decide what you want.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

oliveoctagon Sun 13-Oct-13 17:27:07

Me and dh had our first at 23 and it was planned, and I didnt feel young at all. A large proportion of people I know were already parents by that age.

It hasnt stopped us from doing what we want to do. We are still young so lots of energy.

peanutMD Sun 13-Oct-13 17:27:43

Sorry posted too soon.

Being married really isn't such a big thing (in my opinion) and shouldn't cloud your judgement, my partner and i have been together for 12 years and have never even contemplated marriage as we've both seen it end badly within our family/friends and is just not something we worry about.

Your partner sounds as conflicted as you do about this baby but the fact is whilst he is the father and obviously deserves a say it is your body and a big part of your life that you need to take control over.

Having a baby doesn't mean an end to your career and your dreams, it may mean you take a break out but being young means its not a huge issue. I went back to college when my DS (now 7) started school and had the odd night job before that and we've never been well off but we make go and our DS is on the whole a happy and loved little boy.

Infact we now have a 7 month old DD too but this time i have a job to return to in January and she'll be in childcare but that's a decision i'm happy with fir us.

Choos123 Sun 13-Oct-13 17:32:14

I think you have to take a bit more time to think about it, either way it's a complicated decision that is going to be tough in either direction. It has to come from you, what you ultimately feel you most have to do. Good luck op!

songbird92 Sun 13-Oct-13 17:50:03

Thanks for everyone's support so far, It's one of those things that you imagine always happens to someone else and not yourself.

It's hard to discuss with him sometimes as he is still in that 'man-child' phase of playing games, not quite understanding where I am coming from and being selfish. I wanted to talk with him more than a week ago but his friends had come to stay for a visit, which would have been cancelled had I found out I was pregnant sooner. He has been distant and out the house a lot whilst I have sat alone with nothing but my own shadow for company which is not the way it should be.
He told me it was because he is 'trying to deal with it', but i'd love to know how alcohol can fix anything? Sitting down and talking to me would be a benefit, not picking up the bottle! I do rant, I apologize.

I think I am mainly terrified of not doing anything with my life and regretting it. It feels like whatever decision I make will have it's consequences.

Although I don't think 21 is certainly 'too young', I feel that people would give me funny looks or judge me because they will think I am very irresponsible. I know i'm mentally mature, more so than many of my peers. I just wish I could say the same for my other half..

I have wanted a family since the age of perhaps 4? I was very aware of my broken family surrounding and it has impacted me for all of my life. I always wanted to be somewhat stable financially, have a great relationship and a roof over my head. I know things don't always go to plan of course.

Madratlady - I know it's normal full time hours, initially when we moved I wanted a part time job that would pay the rent and have days off to pursue things such as works experience, I hate retail but had to take the first job I could as I have had no financial help from my parents unlike my partner. It's such a quiet store that an hour there feels like 10 hours and I hate selling things to people, I shouldn't be in that sector at all really but it's my only working background at the moment. It also means if I decided to follow through with the pregnancy I would be paid my contract hours (I think..? and not the 37 I am working so I wouldn't have a lot of money)

We moved to Brighton so it's pretty expensive! We were looking to move further out before all of this happened sad

Madratlady Sun 13-Oct-13 18:02:21

I'm 23 and expecting a planned baby (my first) and I'm still terrified at times! I work with a 20yr old with a child who is more sensible and mature than many parents in their 30s. If people judge you on your age then they are idiots.

Your dp sounds quite immature, I think that if you decided you wanted to keep the baby you'd have to be prepared to do so whether or not he was willing to stick around and support you, although hopefully he would be.

I wasn't criticising your working hours by the way, I just wondered what your reason for choosing part time work was. Would your boss increase your hours officially if you decided to keep the baby? Then you could at least save up a little and have money to buy stuff for the baby. Sorry to hear you're stuck in a job you don't like though.

minipie Sun 13-Oct-13 18:05:33

Oh honey - I am sending you a massive hug. What a stressful position to be in, such a difficult decision.

you've had replies from people who had babies young so here is a reply from the other side - I got pg young and unplanned but decided to have a termination.

As everyone else has said, the question you should ask yourself is: Do I actually want to have a baby right now? Because having a baby is such hard work, especially at the start (and especially if you don't have a 100% committed partner) so you need to be sure it's what you want.

In my case, I was certain that I didn't want a baby at that time. I had a termination at about 7.5 weeks and I have no regrets at all about that - of course it was a horrible thing to go through at the time but it was over quickly and was the right decision. since then I've married, got a good career and last year had a baby, quite a few years older and when I really wanted to start a family. All much easier I think than doing it all those years ago and more importantly it was what I wanted. Of course you are not me but just sharing my experience in case it helps at all.

it really is about working out what you want. Can you talk to your mum at all? what does she think?

minipie Sun 13-Oct-13 18:07:07

PS just to say you sound very sensible and mature, and I wish you all the best whatever you decide x

songbird92 Sun 13-Oct-13 18:11:43

I'm so excited for you! I think perhaps if I was 23 it would be a little different and I would be prepared to have it more! It seems like everything comes at me at once: moving, new job, promotion and pregnancy. It's all happened in less than 4 months sad

They are and unfortunately there is a lot of them. I have a 7 year old little sister who I used to take out with my other half and the looks we would get off of old people used to infuriate me (obviously assuming she was mine and his)

I realize you were not! I just thought I would clear it up, I tend to miss things out or go in to TOO much detail so I can't win :P

He is quite immature, I often end up thinking to myself how someone can justify their own actions the way he does... different species indefinitely!
I think he would be as he is also from a fatherless background and hates his father for doing what he has done to him.

She MIGHT but she is so hit and miss with me that I just never know how she is going to react. One minute she is my friend and the next she's shouting at me for something that I haven't been trained up on properly sad
I was thinking of looking in to getting an admin job, because then it's more sitting down, would have no lifting to do or hours of standing on my feet. Not quite sure what the situation is with people hiring pregnant women, I read online a pregnant woman got an admin job and her employer didn't mind she was pregnant!

Maria33 Sun 13-Oct-13 18:11:54

Your boyfriend is being an idiot. Sorry sad It was a hard enough decision for me and my dp was hand holding and supportive all the way through.

You'll never regret having a child but while there is no ideal time to have a baby, it's a lot easier with money and a supportive partner.

My dsis had an abortion at 23 in an unstable relationship and with no money. She is now happily married (she met dh within a month of the abortion) with 3 dc's. Although the abortion was a hard decision, she would say, without hesitation, that it was the right decision for her in the situation she was in at the time.

Loads of people will tell you that having kids is great. Maybe it is unremmitingly great for them. Lucky them. I really take my hat off to them.

Most people I know (in rl) with cars, houses, great jobs etc find it hugely demanding and exhausting as well as rewarding. The people I know (some of whom are v close friends) who have done it on their own and on benefits have found it very tough also rewarding and wonderful but I don't think they would recommend anyone do it in that way.

worley Sun 13-Oct-13 18:12:46

I was 21 when I had ds1. I'd just left my full time job and my own apartment (moved back to my parents!) to go back to college and retrain. Then I discovered I was pregnant. Tbh at time it never occurred to me not to continue with pregnancy but I was very stressed with the situation. Luckily my parents and exdp were supportive. I moved in with exdp, went back to my original job part time once DS was a year, and then went back to college and gained my degree when DS was 6.
I won't deny its hard work and I had issues with exdp who didn't grown up, even when we split after 14 yrs he still acted like we were teenagers... But I wouldn't change how it all happened.
Things work out in the end..

songbird92 Sun 13-Oct-13 18:19:54

Thanks for your advice minipie, It's horrible to go through.
I always imagined I would be a little bit older and with someone with a little bit more maturity when this sort of thing happened.

How did you feel when you had your termination? Were the staff nice enough to you? I've heard horror stories of pregnant women getting scans of their babies while other women sit waiting for terminations. I'm not sure how I would react to that.. but I'm pretty sure BPAS is for abortions? A girl who referred me at a sexual health clinic warned me that there have been pro-life protesters there before. The last thing I need! Although I'm sure they're not allowed on the premises or to harass you...
And thank you for your kind words, I know I still have a lot of growing up to do but It helps to have a little bit of maturity with things such as this smile

I wish I could talk to my mum about stuff like this, we don't have the best relationship. She favors my older sister and so I feel like I am just left to my own devices and anything I do is just 'okay'. I think if I told her she'd be okay with it but deep down she'd be disappointed because she went through the same things and would probably consider me a failure or not as good as my sister who has had more opportunities than I have sad

Maria33 Sun 13-Oct-13 18:30:19

My sister was terrified about her abortion for the same reasons as you.

She felt very emotional beforehand but much better immediately afterwards. She also paid to go to a private clinic as she lived in London and the waiting lists were huge.

The proccess itself was fine. Everyone was kind and understanding.

You need a good friend to hold your hand and stay with you through the procedure and for the 24 hours afterwards. It is unpleasant and scary but you do recover fast and once the process is over your hormones go back to normal and you can start coming to terms with what happened in a more rational state of mind.

She said the hardest part was once she'd made the decision to have the abortion but was still pregnant.

She didn't tell our pro-life parents. I think that was wise - she didn't need that shitstorm.

Good luck whatever you decide. It's a very difficult position to find yourself in.

minipie Sun 13-Oct-13 20:07:35

Hi, I went to a clinic like BPAS and all the staff were nice. As I recall I had an initial appointment to have a scan and discuss my options (ie what sorts of termination were possible at my stage in pg) and have a counselling session about my reasons. No one was at all judgey, or needed me to justify myself, they just listened. Then a second appointment to have the termination. I think everyone there was having or considering a termination so everyone was in the same position - though tbh I don't think I actually met any other patients. No protestors. I had a surgical termination, under general anaesthetic, there was no pain and no after effects (by contrast a "medical" termination ie using pills means you have a miscarriage at home, I think this could be a lot more upsetting and painful, also probably means more time off work.)

I didn't have anyone with me in the clinic but my mum did drop me off and pick me up afterwards and stayed home with me for the rest of the day. would your DP do this for you (I would hope so!)

hope this info helps.

Madratlady Sun 13-Oct-13 23:07:36

Is there anyone you could talk to in real life? Do you have to talk to someone, like a counsellor or something before you have a termination? And if so could, or would, your partner be involved?

If you changed job while pregnant you wouldn't be entitled to maternity pay through the company but you would get Maternity Allowance (£138 a week) which is I think a similiar amount to statutory maternity pay, and you'd get child benefit of course (£20.30 a week).

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 14-Oct-13 09:21:52

As you are approximately 6 weeks along you have plenty of time to decide what to do so don't rush in to anything. Neither decision is right nor wrong.

As I understand it technically you have until 24 weeks if you choose termination. Bear in mind after 12 weeks options can be more limited.

Write a list of the pros and cons. Which problems can be resolved? Support, emotional practical and financial, is essential. Usually if a partner is unreliable then parents or family or friends are a huge help.

As Madratlady says, There's no 'ideal' time to have a baby anyway, if everyone waited till they had lots of money not many people would have children.

You're both adults and, hopefully, trust each other with money. If it helps draw up a spreadsheet, if you dont already start to note everything, account for every expense.

You are right to weigh up financial considerations but truthfully there are other issues.

In his favour it doesn't sound like he has hinted you set out to trap him but think about what you want and what is realistic. Pregnancy aside, do you want to be with this "man-child"? Is your partner liable to accept things will change, financially but also socially, sexually, up to and for some time after the baby arrives?

Eg Classic student behaviour, go to bed late and get up late. As your pregnancy advances you'll find your energy is flagging, even if you have a trouble free, sickness free time. It will be beyond irritating when you are dealing with a baby if he goes out, comes back late or in the early hours, goes to bed and gets up when he pleases.

It feels like whatever decision I make will have it's consequences.

My advice fwiw is don't terminate because you worry your partner will leave you because further down the road it could be something that you regret. Make sure it's the right decision for you. Make your decision yourself and then tell him what path you're taking. Then he can choose what he wants to do.

21 is young but you sound sensible and ambitious. Don't be put off by judgey people, I am sure the majority of younger mums are capable and responsible, it is an unwritten law you have to grow a thick skin when you become a parent, everyone else knows best.

If you do come to the conclusion that you aren't yet in a position to afford or cope with a baby, then you have very reasonable grounds to terminate.

mrsmartin1984 Mon 14-Oct-13 12:57:38

I think you need to give your other half a chance to get his head around it. It must be a shock to him. What you have told him will change his whole life. Allot of men have little or no experience with babies, and the idea of having one is terrifying. How long has he known?

delilah89 Mon 14-Oct-13 14:39:46

Hi!
I didn't have a baby young but may have some practical advice. If your other half is at uni for three years you may be eligible for family accommodation through the university, and also things like nurseries.
You could decide to become a stay at home mum while he studies? If neither of you are officially working you won't have to pay any council tax and could do it on the cheap.
You may seriously regret having the abortion. I know a few people who had them at that age and did regret it for a long time.
Good luck with whatever you do!

matana Mon 14-Oct-13 14:50:58

Oh gosh OP, I really feel for you - what stress you must be under. And how difficult to offer you advice, having never been in the situation and not wanting to influence your judgement. You will have the rational side of your brain arguing with the emotional side and that's incredibly difficult as neither is right or wrong. I don't know whether you have a 'gut instinct' or usually prefer to be reasoned in your approach. If your gut instinct is usually reliable what is it telling you?

This may not be popular and might not be what you want to hear, but your partner sounds very immature. I know it must be a shock to him and that much of his immaturity is just that - he is still young - but if you can't rely on him to talk to you and support you now, what makes you think that your relationship will endure - either with or without a baby - in the future? My advice would probably be that, whatever you choose, you plan on a future that may very well not include your partner. It is possible, as many wiser people will tell you on here.

If you choose to have an abortion I am very sure you will receive the best care, so please don't worry about that - in the grand scheme of things it's your future mental wellbeing that is the most important thing here. I am neither in the pro- or anti- camp. Is there anyon in real life other than your partner that you can talk things through with, considering what your plan of action might be in both circumstances? I don't think you should rush into an abortion without having had the opportunity to talk it through properly and first trying to get some clarity around your feelings.

Financially there are always options, so don't pin everything on that. Some women have babies early, allowing them to concentrate on their careers at a point when other women are temporarily giving up their careers to have children! Neither is the 'wrong' choice. And many mums (such as myself) work full time and have perfectly normal, happy, close relationships with their DC. Many fathers who are not 'every day' fathers (such as my DH) can be there for their DC regardless. And if they're not, then the love of a child's mum is all that's needed. You sound like you have it in you and you know it will be no walk in the park. But parenthood isn't - even if you have all the traditional boxes ticked.

Give yourself some time and please count only on yourself and not your partner, whatever you choose.

absentmindeddooooodles Mon 14-Oct-13 14:56:33

Hi smile

I had my ds at 21. Found out I was 5 months pregnant when I was 20. My partner was 19. We were not in a good financial position. He had a low paying job and I had just had to leave mine due to some rather horrid circumstances. We had been together 2 months when I fell pregnant. 7 months when I found out I was on the pill and rwligious with it. It just didnt work.

Anyway, it was terrifying and bloody hard work. But we did it. If you move into a rented place with your partner and he is working you will get enough support from the govornment. I so desperatley wanted my own career before kids.....and I still intend to do that. Ds is 2.6 now and cheesy as it sounds hes the best thing that ever happened to me. Unfortunatley his dad and I did not last, sad for all concerned, but we still have a brilliant relationship and ds is loved and looked after by both of us.

Your boyfriend needs to stop giving you mixed messages. You need support from him. Sit down and really talk it out. Its obviously a very personal dexision wetjer to go ahead with the pregnancy. But I just wanted to let you know that if you do dexide to go ahead, it can be done. There are so many cheap baby bits around. Most of my stuff was second hand, and still is. Nothing wrong with it whatsoever.

I hope you manage to gwt through this with the best possible outcome for you. X

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