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How can I help my brother through girlfriend's abortion

(11 Posts)
TartanKitty Wed 20-Jul-11 11:22:36

Looking for a bit of advice on how to help my brother.

Bit of background: He's been quite down for a couple of years. Hated his uni course and dropped out then took up another course and failed exams so dropped out of that too. He was unemployed for two years (just started a job yesterday so hopefully that will give him a bit more confidence) and having no money meant he had little social life and was single for quite a while.

Living back home with parents (he's 23 now) he started seeing a girl he knew from school. It has been very on off for the last year or so. She cheated on him at Christmas and he was gutted but forgave her. Still on and off since then. I also found out she gave him chlamydia - again he forgave her. By this point I'm starting to feel the protective big sis and dislike her but it's between them so I've never said anything to him about my feelings. He was due to move in with her a couple of months ago and my dad helped move some of my gran's old furniture in for them. Two weeks later she told him to move out because she "couldn't continue to subsidise him" yet he continued to be round there most days/nights.

This girl (she's 25) has a five year old son. While unemployed my brother effectively provided free childcare and was an active part of this little boy's life, even picking him up from school and attending parents' evenings. I warned my brother about the on off nature of their relationship with the fact she has a child and sure enough the boy has started saying things like "I love you, I wish you were my daddy" and my brother doesn't know how to react to that really. His (ex)girlfriend just ignored the comments.

They went on holiday about six weeks ago - despite having supposedly split up at that point (not to mention he still wasn't working and she took only 100 euros for her and her child for four days so he ended up paying for them all on his credit card and my dad's had to bail him out!) - and had sex. Now she's pregnant.

She is determined to have an abortion. I support this to be honest, it's not a good situation to bring a baby into. My brother knows practically that this is the best option. She had planned a termination with her first child but couldn't go through with it but this time is certain it's what she wants/will do. But my brother is devastated. He told me "I always thought in such a situation I would be pro-choice, but this is my child" He is heartbroken.

So how can I help him through this? I think he needs to walk away from this woman as she is obviously no good for him and the longer he stays the worse it seems to get, particularly when her little boy is getting so attached. But I don't want to seem harsh and really just want to be there to support him. I know he doesn't help himself and he really needs to sort his life out and grow up a bit, but he's still my little brother and I want to do anything I can to help him.

There's not much you can do except listen and sympathise (without saying what a bitch/parasite/slapper/whatever you think the GF is.) He will have to work it out in his own time that the relationship isn't right.
You mention he's unemployed at the moment: could you gently give him some jobhunting guidance and encouragement? Sometimes having something else to concentrate on is a very good way of taking one's mind off a lousy relationship.

TartanKitty Wed 20-Jul-11 11:45:03

He started a new job yesterday, so that's one good thing. Unfortunately her mum works in the same place so not quite a fresh start away from her. It seems to me she's just been keeping him hanging on until someone else comes along and he has been convenient as childcare.

I think (hope) there is support/counselling for women who take the often difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy but is there anything out there for the men? My brother knows it was stupid to get into this situation but he feels so helpless now as he has no real say in what happens as ultimately it is her decision and he will support her. She has confided in a couple of friends but I'm the only person my brother has told. I don't think it's really something he can chat to the lads about and he is worried our parents would be really disappointed in him as after flunking out of uni twice and relying on them for cash for so long he already feels a failure in their eyes. This is just one more thing. I really wish he could have some good luck and start to make something of his life and feel better about himself.

I've told him he can talk to me and is welcome to come and stay with me if he needs to get away. I have a seven week old baby though so not sure that would be the best thing for him right now.

I feel such a bitch for secretly hoping that he will be unable to stay with her after this and finally end it properly. I really want him to be happy but I just don't think this is the woman for him. It's hard to say supportive things to him when I just want to scream that he needs to ditch the #insert insult of choice here# that he seems to have fallen for.

Selks Wed 20-Jul-11 11:51:12

This isn't really about the abortion though, is it? It's the relationship that's the issue, particularly the on-off nature of it, and the impact of that on the child who has a growing attachment to your brother.
He may be young and a bit naive, but he needs to do some growing up about potential emotional damage to the child if the relationship continues to be so on-off. Maybe you could help him become a bit more clued up in this respect.
Honestyly, it's the 5 year old that I feel most concerned for in all of this. Clearly his mother has responsibility in all of this too,. but there is not much that you can do directly in relation to her behaviour, but you may bge able to with your brother.

Selks Wed 20-Jul-11 11:52:00

sorry for the typos

Ephiny Wed 20-Jul-11 11:59:54

Sorry to be blunt, but the thing that jumped out at me is that he needs to be using condoms, until he's in a stable relationship with someone who wants to start a family with him (and who he's reasonably confident isn't going to give him any nasty infections). Not an easy thing to talk to your brother about, but someone needs to tell him this (and maybe buy him some!).

I agree this isn't really about the abortion - or at least, it's about more than that. The relationship doesn't sound very healthy for anyone involved, though I suppose many of us have been there and got ourselves into bad relationship situations at that age, and wouldn't have listened to anyone telling us so sad. It may unfortunately be something he has to work through himself (but he should definitely be using protection while he does so!).

TartanKitty Wed 20-Jul-11 12:01:50

Oh I've said to him a few times he needs to consider that there's a child in all of this (her child, this was before the pregnancy) and I know my dad has too. I was really surprised that my brother was introduced to the boy right away and was staying overnight from the off with the child there. But I've only just become a parent so I didn't feel it was right for me to question her mothering skills. The whole thing just makes me so sad. My brother would be there for them in a heartbeat. He would take on her child and be happy to have this unplanned one. She's the one who doesn't want to commit and seems to me just not that into him and waiting for someone else to come along. I agree that it's not sensible for them to have a child together but I feel so bad for my brother. Saying "it's for the best" and "it'll be alright, everything will work out in the end" just doesn't seem to cut it. sad

TartanKitty Wed 20-Jul-11 12:04:14

Oh, and he agreed he needs to be more sensible about condoms. I didn't go into details with him but did mention he was an eejit for not being careful.

Marne Wed 20-Jul-11 12:08:25

Its her choice and i think its a good one. My brother went through this last year, his GF got pg and lost the baby, both of them were gutted so she got PG again, they then split, she decided to get rid of the baby (as the thought of bringing up another child on her own was not an option), by brother was devistated but at the end of the day she did what was best for everyone. My brother got over it (although he will never forget).

Spero Wed 20-Jul-11 12:16:53

Sorry to be unsympathetic, but I agree with ephiny. Both of them are plenty old enough to know how babies are made and should both have been making very strenuous efforts to avoid conception in all the circs. The fact that they didn't makes me doubt that either of them have the capacity at the moment to care for a baby and it sounds like his gf is making the right choice.

I think all you do is be there for him as much as you can but there is a fine balance between showing sympathy and potentially enabling some one not to get a grip. He isn't a little boy and if he is capable of making a baby he has to start thinking through all that having a baby entails. He has got a taster of it with gf's little boy.

TartanKitty Wed 20-Jul-11 12:30:59

Thanks for the replies.

When I was talking things through with him at the weekend I was saying things like "I can understand you feeling torn when it's your child you're talking about" and "have you told her how you feel, that you would want the baby if that's what she decided" but I don't really want to be supporting him having the baby because I think everyone can see it would not be the right thing. I guess it's just a case of telling him it is the right decision not to keep it and that he will be able to move on (though obviously not forget) and hopefully learn from this experience.

He said things like "I do want kids but not with her - she resents the one she's got" and although he dresses it up as joking around to try to make light of things when he's hurting I do think there's some truth in that and he knows it. I do feel for her little boy, though he does seem happy enough and cared for.

You'd think as a young single mum she would be more careful about safe sex and he should know better too. I can only hope that this is enough of a shock to make him wake up and sort his life out.

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