I sat on the floor in my room, holding a positive pregnancy test. “It’s positive,” I whispered over the phone. He was silent. I held my breath.
“Well.” The sound of his phone shifting from one ear to the other. “Do you hope we have a boy or a girl?”
Tears streamed down my face in relief as this simple question told me all I needed to know—I wasn’t doing this alone.
John* and I weren’t ready for parenthood. We didn’t have stable jobs with great health insurance. No cute starter home with the perfect spot for a nursery. John was waiting tables to work his way through school, one semester away from graduating a year early. I had one class to go before I started the (unpaid) internship I had worked so hard to get. Our relationship had failed to reflect God’s best design, and here we were.
Together, we decided to do the next right thing—for us, that was to make our little family official. And to ask God to give us grace.
A month later we were married, and John sat with me in the doctor’s office as we saw the first glimpse of our baby. Seeing the ultrasound was incredible; it made everything feel so real. I couldn’t help but laugh when my new husband squirmed a bit as the OB/GYN talked casually about my uterus.
Pregnancy was challenging in many ways. But through it all, John continued to show up and step up in so many ways: driving 500 miles to pull off a surprise proposal in my hometown. Ever so cautiously suggesting it might be time for maternity clothes, and then being there to tell me I looked beautiful as I tried to find anything that felt comfortable. Watching his classmate’s jaw’s drop when his professor asked what everyone had done over winter break, and he boldly announced “I got married!” Holding my hand to walk together at our college graduation. Working tirelessly to provide for our growing family.
He continues to show up and step up. Today that looks like taking our little girl to her first baseball game, water gun fights, cheering at ballet recitals, and decorating cookies at our youngest daughter’s class party. He’s still working hard, and works just as hard to be there for his daughters. Nothing compares to the joy it is to see him parent our girls.
His fatherhood may have been far from planned, but it is no less amazing to watch. God took our messy beginning and has blessed us with 7 years (and counting) of marriage and two beautiful babies. We’ve had lots of adventures, but raising our girls together is by far the best one.
Becoming a dad in even the best of situations can make a man feel inadequate. But for an unplanned pregnancy, even the most confident man might feel like fatherhood is more than he can handle. Here’s some encouragement from someone who’s been there:
When you are surprised with a pregnancy, it can be tough, but more than anything it’s your chance to be a hero. The most important action you can take for your child and his or her mother is to make sure they don’t feel alone and that they have your support. Becoming a father saved my life and put me on a better path. It brought me closer to my family and to God. Now, everything I have is because of them and it’s all because I was simply there.
Planning to Show Up
Dads, our Parenting 101 class is a great way to connect with other parents who understand what you’re going through. This free class covers all you need to know about welcoming baby. It can prepare you to take on fatherhood.
To the women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy without a partner—you’re not alone.
Regardless of your situation, you deserve support during and after your pregnancy. The free classes, relationships, and resources at the Pregnancy Network have helped many single mothers build the community they need to thrive in parenthood. Find out more here.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
This story was shared with the TPN staff, and then written by a TPN staff member.