I was not a Christian when my daughter’s mom became pregnant. Although she and I were not together and I had no idea of what the future held, I was simultaneously ecstatic about becoming a dad, as well as terrified of the unknown. I remember a conversation she and I had early in the pregnancy. Although I did not believe in (or at least understand much about) abortion, I had to ask her if it was an option. To my relief she said no. Eleven years later, my daughter’s birth is still one of the most significant moments of my life.
Here are some facts many people do not know about when it comes to the effects abortion has on men.
According to a summary of research done by the Alliance for Post-Abortion Research and Training (APART), men are more likely to have observed or experience any of the following scenarios:
- Most men whose partners undergo elective abortion do not perceive it to be a benign experience with many men describing it as one of the worst experiences of their lives.
- Men tend to defer the abortion decision to their partners.
- Men’s relationships may be strained by abortion.
- Men may experience sexual problems following abortion.
- Men’s masculine identity may be threatened by abortion.
- Men who experience abortion may be more stressed than men who experience unplanned pregnancy and fatherhood.
- Men may experience symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and relationship problems following abortion.
The study also states, “The research concerning the potential effects of elective abortion on men is limited but growing.”
When facing the uncertainty of an unplanned pregnancy—guys, your voice matters! Although the woman ultimately has the final say in whether she keeps the baby, you have tremendous influence in helping her make that decision. According to a Beverly Zahl, LBSW at the Pregnancy Resource Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a father DOES play a major role in a woman’s decision of whether to give birth. With almost every mom Bev has spoken to in the past 15 years said, “it would make a big difference in her decision if she knew the father was supportive of her and the pregnancy.”
This is not about politics or the current hot topics in the news. It’s about you, your unborn child, and your future in becoming the father we all know you can be. I realize I don’t know your situation, but I will tell you that by stepping up to the plate physically, financially, and emotionally, you are entering one of the greatest experiences in life: Fatherhood. The Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord, and rightly so. Things may not be ideal between you and the mom right now, and you may be feeling a lot of pressure—I get it. Let me also reassure you that though parenting in any form has its share of ups and downs, the joy and blessings far outnumber the challenges. All it takes is a simple love note from your little girl or a hug and a loving word from your son to melt even the most hardened of us men.
If you are currently experiencing the doubts of an unplanned pregnancy, here are a few quick tips to get you started on the right path:
- Spiritual and emotional support: Find a strong church community, men’s group, or Pregnancy Care Center in your area to help prepare you for the road ahead.
- Prepare yourself: If you and Mom are not on the same page, I encourage you to reach out to us at www.afatherswalk.org and request resources for The Battle Field.
- Know choosing life is the right choice: As stated above, no one wins with abortion. Yes, there may be a few areas people will try to debate, but even then, it’s a mess. Your decision to be a father will not go unnoticed—especially by God.
- Commit your life to fully Christ: Perhaps you are a Christian already, or maybe not. Either way, there is no better Advocate any of us could ever have than our Savior. Will you surrender full control to Him today?
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. –Psalm 40:1-3 (NASB)
Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry, the coauthor of The Daddy Gap, and the cofounder of the Midwest Single Parenting Summit. He is an ordinary guy who chases after an extraordinary God. Matt lives with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.