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Doctor E
Doctor E, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 51
Experience:  I am a Ph.D-level therapist and college professor with a specialty in couples counseling.
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I have been sleeping with my boyfriend, but havent got my

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I have been sleeping with my boyfriend, but haven't got my period. I'm freaking out about it. He thinks we should "take chances" and will support me no matter what. I have been very stressed lately as financially things have been. bad. I tried to take a pregnancy test but freak out before I do it. I have had bad cramping just like I do when I have my period. What to do? I'm scared
Of course you're scared, but 'scared' doesn't accomplish much does it?
You MUST take the pregnancy test. Knowing is important. Taking the test won't alter your condition, it will just inform you so you can make the best decision for yourself.
If it's positive you will have difficult choices to make and a future to plan - the sooner you know, the better you will be able to prepare
If it's negative you will have another difficult choice to make. Whether or not to stay with someone who thinks bringing a child into this world should be left up to chance, or moving on with your life in a different direction.
This is your wake up call
Also, if it's negative, YOU need to make choices that are right for YOU and your body. Until men start having to support a pregnancy in their body for nearly a year, they shouldn't have any controlling voice in how to play it fast and loose with your body, your life or the life of a child.
At the very least you need to find a method of birth control, even if it's firmly saying "no!" that puts you back in charge of yourself
If this relationship is to continue, I suggest you do whatever you have to do in order to get him to join you in couple's counseling.
Here you will have a moderator guiding the both of you in better ways of communicating, supporting each other, respecting each other and compromising.
Most churches and synagogues now require a month of couple's counseling before they'll perform a wedding ceremony. It really works.
No matter what though, I will stand by you through this ok?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks. but I prefer not to go to a church and have someone push their religious beliefs onto me. And that abortion etc is wrong. I'm atheist
What church? I don't believe in organized religions either. I would NEVER recommend a church for that.
Counselors at a church or synagogue offer services to all faiths, including no faiths, agnostics, atheists, etc.. Most will not make it a religious event. A counselor is a counselor.
If you're uncomfortable with finding help with a counselor in that venue, then try any mental health facility. Not for 'mental health' but for their list of counselors
Or your insurance plan if you have one.
I only recommended those outlets as a starting place. Don't let my being a minister fool you. I run an animal care ministry. Ministry as in meeting the needs of abandoned, abused and neglected or hurt animals that need loving hands to rehab them and get them trusting again so they can end up in forever homes.
I also do human counseling, but not to propagate any religion. To propagate honesty, ethics and a return to living with the strength of our character.
Here I am trying to support you and let you know you're not alone. You are strong, you are capable and you will handle whatever comes your way because that's what you need to do.
I am sorry for any misunderstanding
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
That makes me feel better. I worry I'll never make a decision if I want a kid or not. It seems women regret no matter what they choose

What I've seen in my lengthy career of counseling is that IF a woman is pregnant and either has a miscarriage or an abortion, she's likely to continue experiencing confusing and contradictory effects of from her pregnancy-altered hormones for the duration of the pregnancy. And THAT affects how she thinks&feels (they're ALWAYS inextricably linked, can't think w/o feeling & usually also can't feel w/o having feeling-colored thoughts). And IF she's able to remember some vivid thought/feelings from that period, she will be capable of regret AND able to apply rational counterargumentsto those regrets (including those colored by the relief & excitement/pride&joy attached to what she has done INSTEAD of raising or giving up a child at that time) for many years, depending on how often she chooses--or is accidentally reminded--to remember.

And I agree with everything Rev.Dr. has written, minus the apparently negative judgment about your partner. Youngish men are usually so unaware of themselves and their emotions & effects on their GF that they don't realize what their doing and its potential future effects. I think you can assert yourself for a more responsible approach to birth control, without going to a counselor--unless you haven't developed that assertiveness in your romantic relationships yet. In that case YES, go to counseling alone or with him, or talk to an older woman who is more assertive in love relationships than you are. The differences in young people's assertiveness are very impactful in romantic relationships(men naively doing&saying what their emotional-thinking tells them vs women naively being submissive to please and avoid disappointing anybody whose love they live on like emotional food) and it does take considerable training and experience for them to develop awareness they don't yet have.

I would also add, that I wouldn't want you to choose life-long coparentship with your boyfriend on the basis of an accident, because the quality & quantity of that coparentship ALSO has an unavoidable effect on the child if there is one, unless you marry somebody else within a year, and make sure the biological father can have nothing but a beneficial effect--and that's not entirely in your power. A lot of young people put their first supposedly enduring partnership at severe risk by committing to it before a year of premarital testing has passed. And it can take as long as a year for the most difficult-to-live-with differences and problems arise in a love relationship. And if you keep escalating the highly emotional stages of your relationship (such as getting engaged, coping with parental disapproval--aka Romeo&Juliet-Effect, pregnancy, childbirth, getting deployed to Afghanistan, etc.) you'll never get a chance to discover what's likely to present very difficult problems between you as your years together mount up. In fact the most likely times for divorce in cultures world-wide that permit divorce without huge struggles are YEARS 2, 3 and 4 since the beginning of the romantic relationship, because the biologically-induced PASSION simmers down by year 3, and interpersonal structures for managing differences and conflicts have not been developed, because nobody wants to worry about them when the LOVE IS SO GREAT.

I'm taking responsibility for an admittedly biased advice to you (using "I wouldn't want") because I realize that abortion vs accidental birth is a very emotionally charged topic for anybody who's ever had a close brush with those issues. Both the RevDr and I (Dr.LicMarriage&FamTherapist) are preaching to you, because the issue matters a lot to us (tho I'm presuming knowledge of her that I don't have--so I apologize for that). That also implies that you'll get strongly emotion-colored responses from almost everyone you talk to, even if a counselor is trying to appear completely neutral. In fact, I don't think complete neutrality is morally defensible for a licensed counselor, because one must consider the lifelong issues that are statistically likely for the unborn child, even though lots of church-related counselors may ignore them when they counsel that abortion is a sin and a crime.

Since you're an atheist, you might have your own bruises from religious influences in your family of origin or your present life.

I hope my imbedding of abortion-regrets in the physiological context of a woman's bodily experience helps you to perceive your emotion-colored thoughts ALSO from a more "objective" (that is, NOT just immersed in the colored-fluid of emotions) standpoint. Feel free to respond to either me or RevDrAbbot, and it's your choice only who you decide to pay when you release your deposit. Perhaps making that choice will exercise your courage muscles (French for "heart-stuff") for disappointing another person because you choose one path and not another. Life is full of such choices, and dodging them because you don't like the guilty feelings that you have when you consider choosing only postpones the time in your life when you're strong enough to stop hoping to please everybody.

Sorry I preach so much. But I've had 40 yrs experience in therapy, and I'd rather pour more into your teachable moment if you're mentioning it at all. I'm keeping track of what I've learned when I write this way, because it matters to me, but it's none of my business to insist it should matter to you--except as a fulfillment of the Hippocratic Oath (First Do no Harm) extended into expressing concern and forewarning about potential future harm as the responsibility that goes with the expanded knowledge involved in both individual and marriage & family therapy.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks but being a member of a long term forum it seems people either regret not having kids or regret not having more. Plus there's always pressure eg The media loves blaming women for leaving it too late, no matter what. I'd prefer not to breakup with my boyfriend, everyone else has been an asshole.

I have not suggested that you should break up with your boyfriend, but that you need to tell him he must join with you in preventing a pregnancy. I've suggested that perhaps you don't know how to say clearly what you will and will not do with him, because you were never allowed to do that when you were growing up, and that you need to not fear disappointing him if you refuse to have sex unless you are protected from conceiving a child. You say you don't want to break up, and that might mean you think that if you tell him you must have protection against pregnancy he will not like that and might leave you. Is that what you think? If thoughts like that keep you from asserting yourself, then you need to talk to other women who DO make sure they won't get pregnant with their boyfriends, or you need to have a session with a licensed counselor who can teach you how to stand up for yourself. If you have had many boyfriends in the past who were assholes, then you definitely need to learn how to stand up for yourself, because that will send the assholes away, and only a man who can compromise and care about what you want will stay with you.

Women who find themselves with assholes often have usually been raised with a messed-up father or brother(s), so they've never learned that they don't have to just struggle to survive in a situation that's not pleasant or even always safe. It's not your fault if you did have mean or messed-up parents (or father & then similar boyfriends). But it takes a lot of personal change for you to make sure you can make this or your next boyfriend be even better with you than he has been so far.

If you learn how to stand up and speak out for what you need (protection from accidental pregnancy) with this BF, then either he will understand you and want to protect you and himself from an accidental baby, or he won't accept your need for control over your body and WHEN you are ready for motherhood (my wife was 37 when we got pregnant, my mother was 45 when she had me). If he won't respect your need, then you may have to get another BF, but then you will know how to talk to the next guy so that you don't have sex without being safe. And if you're not 40 yet, then you don't have to be scared you'll never have a child.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The problem is I've tried counseling and didn't find it very helpful. I'm in-between jobs at the moment and there was no option for a payment plan for this
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can I please have a female expert? I had requested a female and this didn't happen
I'm sorry, but I didn't see that you wanted a female. Dr. Abbott was a female, but I'm not. I'll opt out so you can have what you want. If you should decide you want me back, you can just request me and I'll return.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'd really like a female expert for this question please
Hi there. My name is***** and I hope I can be of some help to you. First of all, I'd like to acknowledge what a difficult situation you're in. I think you're absolutely right about the ambivalence of our society and the expectations placed on women. One thing that I always find inappropriate is how other people love to weigh in on the very intimate decision of having children, whether planned or not. There are so many folks out there with strong opinions and it always seems tied to morality, and the worst thing is that whatever decision you make, it's going to be "wrong" to someone. Nobody is in YOUR shoes and people love to spout opinions without experience. The only thing to do is to make a decision in your own best interest, and to go through a process of decision making where you feel you are weighing all options and outcomes carefully. I'm not referring to a situation of abortion or no abortion, I'm talking about your relationship with your boyfriend, how being a parent might affect you, and what your own opinions are about raising a child. This is very complicated, reflective stuff. I also don't think it is so healthy for you to let your thoughts spiral out about the "what ifs" of the future right now and the decisions you make regarding your relationship. You need to be focused on the here and now and what's coming up in the short term. The long term will get here eventually, and you will deal with it then.
But first, let's also talk about physiology and the likelihood of you being pregnant or not. Sometimes, if you are experiencing a lot of stress, this may delay your period. Conversely, if you're pregnant, the cramps you are experiencing may be an indication of implantation (a fertilized egg settling into your uterus). Sometimes when implantation happens, you can experience bleeding. I don't think there's a rush for you to take a pregnancy test just yet because I think it might be valuable for you to explore the issues that the possibility of being pregnant brings up for you. I think you've started to do that already by writing in. It seems that you care deeply for your boyfriend and he is supportive of you. That's good. On the other hand, you're responsibly trying to figure out what your financial situation will be now and in the future, and if that could affect the choices you make.
Undoubtedly, having a child is costly, but not just financially. Emotionally you're put into a place where you're on-call, 24/7, for a little being that relies on you 100% for all his or her needs. Some people feel empowered by this: they instantly feel connected to a child, as a mother, while others are frightened by this dependence and need. Becoming a parent is a major life adjustment and there is no one "right" response to the issues it brings up. Even people who know they want kids can find themselves pregnant and wonder, "what were we thinking??? Can we do this?" It's all totally normal. But yes, having tight finances will put a strain on what you might be able to offer for the baby, though there are also tons of community resources out there that can also be obtained with the help of a social worker.
Finances can stress out relationships. So what it also comes down to is, how supportive is your boyfriend? How much responsibility is he willing to take on, and can he help you out? Can he be supportive not just in loving you when you are stressed about childcare but helping to bring in extra income if you need it? Plenty of people have kids when they aren't planned, or aren't ready, but some of them rise to the challenge, even though it can be such a huge struggle at first.
Anyway, this is just the kind of stuff you might want to be thinking about. When you're ready, take a pregnancy test. At the same time, this brings up lots of good topics for you to be discussing with your boyfriend anyway: the future, money, how supportive you can be of each other. Ultimately if you're pregnant, you will have developed open communication with him to decide what to do next.
But please try to stay away from the social morality judgments of pregnancy and abortion because there are too many popular opinions for anyone to be right about YOUR situation. You know you best, ***** ***** can and can't handle, what responsibilities you're ready for, and what the consequences are. There will be opponents of whatever your decision will be, so you need to go through a process where you can justify and live with whatever you do: whether it's raise a child, stay together, have an abortion, whatever. We can only make the decisions we can with the information we have available to us.
Please don't judge yourself too harshly during any of this. I'd be happy to talk to you about this further as you sort through everything. I'm also happy to opt out if you'd like to talk to someone else.
My best,
Doctor E, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 51
Experience: I am a Ph.D-level therapist and college professor with a specialty in couples counseling.
Doctor E and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
take the test...find out if you are pregnant...then you can figure out where to go from here. I would be happy to help you after you have the results.