Can a married woman have a crisis pregnancy? What about a man? Can he say he is in a crisis after impregnating his own wife?
Before we start this discussion, let me first introduce myself. My name is Ginny and I am a counseling consultant with Crisis Pregnancy Ministries in Nairobi. As a counselor, I have talked with hundreds of women and girls and even men about their crisis pregnancies.
Let’s start by defining “crisis pregnancy”. It is a pregnancy that, besides being unexpected or unplanned, is unwelcomed. The woman may be in a marriage or single, a first time mom or a parent, but the bottom line is that the pregnancy is not in her immediate life plan. Age is not a factor; it can be a 10-year old girl – the case of child mothers – or a 40 year-old woman. A “crisis” is said to exist if the pregnancy presents a watershed moment (a breakpoint) in a woman’s or girl’s life. Or for a man it is a crisis if it causes anger, anxiety or dread.
Fear of the unknown
I have found one theme that comes up over and over again with people experiencing a crisis pregnancy is the fear factor – fear of the unknown or what friends, family or associates will think. I will be talking about our experiences and reflections at Crisis Pregnancy Ministries on this blog spot in the coming weeks, so be sure to check these out. Today I would like to focus on crisis pregnancy in marriage.
Pregnancy most often is the happy result of the search for a child, but it can – if not anticipated – make someone shudder. For many couples, the thought of a child on the way brings joy. But for some others, it is not a joyful discovery; it is a crisis of the highest magnitude. Why? What makes the difference?
Let’s look briefly at some of the reasons:
“I’m too old / too young to be having a baby right now!” or “My career / health / life will be jeopardized!”
“We have enough children; we don’t need another mouth to feed and more school fees to pay!”
It could be a child conceived through an illicit affair. The woman is guilty laden or fears what will happen when her husband realizes the baby isn’t his.
Boy or girl:
An ultra-sound has determined the gender of the baby. The couple was hoping for a boy or girl after having had one or more children of the other gender. This child’s gender is not what the father or mother hoped for.
Too many children, too closely spaced, too big an age gap between this baby and the last child, etc. may be some of the opinions expressed by those around the couple, thereby exerting pressure, shame and dislike for the pregnancy.
The woman is suffering from a health condition that will make it difficult to carry the baby, give birth or bring up the child.
The couple may be going through difficult times in their marriage and the pregnancy may be a result of a bonding moment or unguarded comeback, without being ready for a child. In some cases the couple may be on their way to separation when pregnancy is discovered.
The real problem is the state of the relationship within the marriage
Whether it is the timing, financial strain or other issues, this baby was not in the plan and is causing chaos in the marriage life of the couple. The real problem, however, is not the baby. For the most part the real problem is the state of the relationship within the marriage. The vows they made, for better or for worse, may have been forgotten, taken lightly or just seem irrelevant in the light of modern day societal pressures. Handling of the baby issue can be in a sober manner once the couple works on their relationship.
The Lord had chosen to give them another child
A typical case is a couple whose children were in secondary school, and they thought they had closed the baby chapter in their lives. Suddenly the wife found she was pregnant, and her husband was NOT amused! His initial response was to tell her to flush the baby. After offloading her fears and anxiety in a counseling session, she felt empowered to talk again to the husband. They also sought help from their pastor (the wife was born again, the husband was not). In the end, they accepted the baby into their lives. The financial issues and implications didn’t change, but their attitudes, even towards each other, did change. They had their “oops” baby with resolve to enjoy this late-in-life child, no matter what. The Lord had chosen to give them another child, and who were they to doubt His plan and ability to provide what they needed to raise that child.
Crisis pregnancy is a crisis when it is perceived as one
What am I saying? Crisis pregnancy is a crisis when it is perceived as one. It is the same physical phenomenon as the one that is received as welcome news . Have you been or do you know someone who is married and has been in a crisis pregnancy? Let’s talk about this for the sake of others and ourselves!
Ginny Reczek is a consultant to Youth for Christ Kenya, a missionary of Youth for Christ/USA. She has been working with Crisis Pregnancy Ministries, a part of YFC Kenya, for the past 15 years. She has a degree in psychology, a masters in biblical counseling and is a mother of two and grandmother of two.