GIRLFRIEND PREGNANT IN HER FORTIES
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR::
My girlfriend and I are both in our 40s, and she just tested positive for pregnancy. She is 45, and I am 48. I know we should have known better than to allow this accident to happen - but it has, and now I'm trying to figure out what to do. She is a born-again Christian, and does not believe in abortion. I am Christian but not a very good one - which means I do not go to church but maybe once or twice a year. We are both divorced and have been dating one another for six months. She also has 3 other children ages 12, 14, and 16. Please give me some advice.
MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER:Thanks for writing in. Your situation is a bit uncommon - and I'd say you have some quick and life-altering decisions to make. I will do my best to give you some things to consider.
First of all, it sounds like aborting the child is out of the question - because you state that your girlfriend is very religious. In a way, this option being completely off the table could be viewed as somewhat of a relief - because imagine how hard a decision like that would otherwise be. If abortion is still an option, then think about it very carefully - because you will have to live with that decision for the rest of your life. She could also give the baby up for adoption - which is a great alternative to terminating a pregnancy.
Since your girlfriend is age 45, then there are still a lot of risks to both her and the unborn child. The risk of having a Down syndrome child increases significantly when the mother gives birth in her 40s. There are also a lot of health risks to her - which I won't go into here, but which you can google to learn more about. My point here is - there are many health risks involved in having a baby in your 40s, so be sure you are prepared to deal with all of them, including the risk of the pregnancy self-terminating prematurely.
Now your girlfriend is divorced, and has three other children. Are you planning to marry her? That's an option for you - although I would give that some serious thought before marrying her immediately. What I mean is - are you completely compatible with the rest of her family? Do you feel like you know her and her children well enough to marry into that situation? Where I'm going with this is - you do have the option of NOT marrying her, and basically paying child support ... and still having the opportunity to be the father that you want to be to that child. That's probably not the best situation for the child (starting off in life with parents that are not married, and not together), but it's fairly commonplace today.
I am not anti-marriage, but I do think you have to be extremely careful when considering marriage. You can lose so much in a divorce today - and so it never hurts to be very proactive with respect to protecting any assets you have prior to getting married. I'm assuming that you do have assets to protect. :)
The only other thing to consider has to do with YOU - you didn't state if you already have other children yourself. If not, then this might just be your opportunity to have a child - assuming you want one, of course. Whether you marry your girlfriend or not, this is your chance at becoming a parent. Be a good parent, please!!!
For some additional thoughts or input, I also ran this issue past our crew over in the Midlife Dating Forum - where we often discuss various dating issues. Please feel free to join our community, and add value regularly. The thread that discusses this is:
Pregnant in Her Forties - What Would You Do?
Good luck! Oh - and anyone who wishes can also add a COMMENT to this article directly below, in the COMMENT section.