Disclaimer to my male audience: Your take-away here is probably not going to be pleasant. I feel equal parts bad for anyone who makes it through this girl talk and happy that I can impart a mindfuck on the male population, the likes of which I have been a recipient in the past. You were warned. This happens way more often than you think.
This past week was apparently the week of the pregnancy scare for my guy friends, one of whom is soon to be an unwilling father. My currently admittedly strange social circle all reacted to this story with the same levels of stress we developed in reaction to pregnancy scares in college. The conversation about this news occurred on a fishing trip arranged in order to christen a new boat (kind of an odd parallel to the whole baby thing, now that I think about it). I naturally showed up with three bottles of Veuve, assuming I was with a group of people who were trying to savor some good bubbly, rather than the actual male-dominated group of 22-26 year olds who were actively trying to drink away the unwanted infant on their minds.
Nevertheless, this news has sent me into an anxiety-ridden spiral, thinking of those times I was a supportive party to that kind of terror. If you are part of the *gulp* incoming class of 2016, I promise that at some point in your four years, if you make any kind of interesting friends, you too will hear a sobbing girlfriend informing you she may be
disowned by her family and society pregnant. It will be your responsibility to help her calm down. And you REALLY need to calm her down. In a shocking turn of events, I realized this week I actually managed to have some knowledge that may help you navigate this.
First, let me tell you what was going on every single time someone was late and hysterical about it. The girl was not in a stable relationship, generally having gotten out of one within the past 4-5 months. She was experiencing some combination of dieting, drinking heavily, stressing about her grades, and stressing about this guy she was hooking up with. Most importantly, she was not even sure that she was late. The knowledge of this possibility, however, caused her to completely panic (cue stress hormones) which put a screeching halt to everything and then caused the panic. A panic which, possibly, is a more likely cause of a late period than a pregnancy with someone she’s not regularly having completey unprotected sex with.
I don’t really know what to tell you if your friend is in a stable relationship and has been what my guidance counselor in high school determined was “mature enough to have sex.” In that situation, she is with a completely honest guy, and is sure his responses to questions about the possibility of a pregnancy are not driven by ulterior motives. However, I never saw this happen in college, and I assume if it does, she can just talk to him about it rather than hysterically sob in the middle of a late night viewing of How I Met Your Mother.
If, however, your friend is in the real world, do not allow her to have the “What are we going to do about this?” conversation with the guy in question if she’s not positive she’s actually pregnant. You do not want this getting out, and it is supremely unlikely that the fellow is able to offer anything other than an, “Uh, so, I guess you need a check or something,” which will make matters so much worse that it’s not even funny. No, no, this needs to be a girls’ situation, contrary to what reasonable adults would tell you should be done.
Your only order of business here is to get her from the point of unnecessary freak-out to actually taking the damn test. They are reasonably accurate and one should be taken as soon as she knows there is a potential issue. I was continuously shocked by the reluctance to do so I witnessed. Once I actually had to purchase the tests, leave them in my bathroom, lay in wait for her to go to pee, then tell her that she wasn’t coming out until there was a verdict. She thankfully did not fight me anymore at that point, but be forewarned that it can get that difficult. Don’t have celebratory alcohol hanging around because I am superstitious and think drinking heavily or doing any kind of drugs in that time period will ensure fate frowns on her.
Congratulations! She’s not a mom yet! (I have no words to offer you if she is. Sorry. Everyone knows who the girl on campus is who can offer you that kind of guidance. Yikes.) Now go get “I don’t have to worry about fetal alcohol syndrome” drunk and listen/force her to swear up and down that she learned her lesson and will never be in this kind of situation again. She did, and she won’t. And if she didn’t, she’ll know better than to come to you about it. No one should have to be in that position repeatedly. And guys, you brought whatever emotional turmoil you are in upon yourselves. Go drink some scotch and be nice to your “lady companions” now.
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