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Sons friend is pregnant, help

(51 Posts)
therese Fri 25-Jul-14 19:46:59

My son has just told me that his female friend is approx 8 weeks pregnant.
They are not in a regular relationship and he doesn't want to be a father. She is 23 & lives in a hostel, her Mother has disowned her. She has no job, no money. She will not consider a termination.
My son is 23 & lives at home, he works but cannot support himself let alone a family of his own.
I have suggested that he should support her through the pregnancy, & ask for a paternity test when the baby is born.
will he have any legal rights once the baby is born? Or could she just disappear with it?
He wants me to speak to her. So I am going to meet her.
Do you have any suggestions how I should handle this?

Penstemmon Fri 25-Jul-14 20:55:00

If your son is named on the birth certificate I believe (but do not know) he could claim certain rights as the father & will be liable for supporting the child as much as he is able to afford.

The most important thing is the child's welfare.

In one way it sounds as if he is not interested in fatherhood but then you are asking about his rights. Does he know what he wants? It is all a bit of a shock at the moment. This is unplanned and so he is confused.

However if he is the father then he needs to step up to the responsibility as much as he can. Sadly in these situations the dad's can be excluded if the mother just wanted a child.

Can you support him to talk to a person not directly involved (counsellor?) to help him sort his thinking out?

Best for all not to be making too many hasty decisions or demands, for the sake of the child's future pride and anger may need to be swallowed!

shysal Fri 25-Jul-14 21:14:09

If you were a saint, you could invite the girl to live with you, but that might be a step too far. Life will be difficult for her, I hope she will be willing to let you be a part of your grandchild's life. It would be great if, between you, you could reach an outcome acceptable to all, not easy! Good luck flowers

annodomini Fri 25-Jul-14 21:20:50

He should talk to the CAB about his rights and responsibilities. They have all the information he needs. The child's future is all-important. I've been in this position. My GD is now 22 and I wouldn't be without her.

KatGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 25-Jul-14 21:20:52

Just to say we've moved this thread from Webchats to Ask a Gran instead. Best of luck therese. flowers

Mishap Fri 25-Jul-14 21:21:48

To be honest, I do not think that you should speak to her. And I think that you should not meet her. Him wanting you to speak to her is a cop out - understandable from his point of view, but a cop out nevertheless.

If he is grown up enough to impregnate her, then he must decide to be grown up enough to deal with the situation. I fear that if you get involved you will find yourself alienating someone at some stage, and will create a situation where you will lay yourself open to all sorts of accusations.

Much better to try and support him to deal with the situation himself.

I know how much you must want to protect him but (whether the child is his or not) he has clearly had unprotected sex with someone with whom he has only a casual relationship, and with whom he has no wish to stay. He has to take responsibility for sorting it out himself. You can be a supportive ear/shoulder, but you cannot deal with it for him.

These are the consequences of his actions and are his to sort out. It is a harsh learning moment for him, but it is only by dealing with life's challenges that we grow.

This is his moment to grow up - he will be confused and worried, but he needs to be given the opportunity to step up to the plate and make important decisions an adult.

Other people's relationships are best left to them - you never know what is really going on underneath or what the outcome might be - you do not want to have said something which seems appropriate now in these first moments of panic but which might sour relationships in the future.

Take heart - many parents have been in this situation before and time will resolve it - but only he can sort it out.

Kiora Fri 25-Jul-14 21:59:49

Well said mishap I wish you'd been around 18 years ago I'd might have taken your advice and saved myself years of anxiety. What I know is that trying to prop up someone else's relationship is emotionally exhausting. In the end it has to the people involved who make their own decisions. You'll support him of course and be there for the three of them. You may be surprised how much he'll 'man up' if you let him. Good luck what ever route you decide to take. Gransnet will be here to listen.

geeljay Fri 25-Jul-14 22:23:08

Cant help but feel sorry for the girl. She has no options. Ostensibly she is facing 18 years of the trials and tribulations of single motherhood. Her parents should also step forward and give their daughter the love and support she needs.

therese Fri 25-Jul-14 22:28:38

I'm just worried 4 her also, as she doesn't seem to have a support network. Maybe you are right. I should stay out of it.

Tresco Fri 25-Jul-14 22:44:09

Depending on where this young woman lives, there may be help from Social Care. I know of a young woman who was living in a hostel when pregnant, who then went to mother and baby foster care (don't know what it's actually called) where she and the baby lived with an older woman who taught her how to care for the baby and attempted to deal with some of the other issues in her life.

Eloethan Fri 25-Jul-14 22:48:43

I'm wondering how your son's friend is going to cope if she has no job, no parental support and only a hostel to call home. The priority seems to me to be that she gets advice as to what support, in terms of income and housing, might be available to her. Gingerbread is an organisation for single parents - I wonder if they could help.

I believe that if an unmarried man's name is on a child's birth certificate then he will be able to apply for contact, but he will also be liable to pay maintenance for the child. The CSA can set maintenance payments and if the father disputes parentage I think the Court can order that a DNA test be taken. You say that your son doesn't want to be a father but if he is in fact the child's father then, whatever his wishes, he will be expected to contribute financially to the child's upkeep.

Why does your son want you to speak to his friend? What does he expect you to achieve? I tend to agree with Mishap that, although you will naturally want to support him as much as you can, he is 23 years old and, in the main, this is something that he needs to deal with himself.

It seems the relationship between your son and his friend is not one which was intended to be long term but now that a child is involved there is a link between them that can never be broken even if they do not wish to be together. It is sad for both these young people to suddenly be faced with such responsibilities but, for the child's sake, I hope they are mature enough to remain friends and to try to sort it out together.

It must be very worrying and upsetting for you, but I hope that things work out.

Rowantree Fri 25-Jul-14 23:04:53

Dare I say that the girl DOES have options? Why has she ruled out not having the baby (yes, that dreadful word 'abortion')? It might well be better not bringing an unwanted child into the world to unwilling and immature parents who don't have the desire or resources to care for it. Alternatively there's adoption.
Either way, she needs counselling and fast, so she can make an informed decision. I'd put them both in touch with the BPAS and/or and strongly suggest they make an urgent appointment.

Eloethan Fri 25-Jul-14 23:55:09

I too would have suggested consideration be given to an abortion *Rowantree" but the original post said the young woman did not want a termination.

Adoption is a difficult one. For most women, giving up a child causes terrible emotional turmoil that may continue throughout their lives. I believe some research has also indicated that adopted children are more likely to have "identity issues" which can affect their emotional development and cause long term difficulties.

The young woman is very vulnerable and perhaps, given the estrangement of her family, feels that a baby will fill that emotional gap. She may well not fully appreciate the massive responsibility single parenthood will place on her. As you say, counselling might be helpful in this respect - not to persuade her one way or the other but to raise her awareness of the issues involved and the alternatives available, and to enable her to be certain that she is making the right decision.

kittylester Sat 26-Jul-14 08:47:00

Lots of good advice on here Terese and all I'd emphasis is that your son has responsibilities as well as rights and it might be helpful if he went to the CAB with the mother.

You have worrying time ahead (((hugs))) - keep posting on GN, it helps flowers

Nonnie Sat 26-Jul-14 09:22:14

If your son is the father then he needs to take responsibility for his actions. A good lesson in life to learn as soon as possible.

He has no 'rights' parents don't. What they have is 'responsibilities' and the child is the one with the 'rights'. The CSA website is simple and will tell him how much he is expected to pay according to his earnings.

I think the girl needs help and advice from someone who is not personally involved.

Mishap Sat 26-Jul-14 10:17:24

I agree Nonnie - you cannot be the one to help and advise this girl therese. You are too close to the situation. If she is living in a hostel the staff there will point her in the right direction and advise her about her options.

Your only role is to support your son in doing the right things. If it turns out that it is his child, he will have responsibilities to face up to and will need your support and guidance, which I am sure you will be there to give.

therese Sat 26-Jul-14 13:01:25

Thank you for your advice, do you think it's a bad idea if I talk to the girl? I am a nurse & was a single parent for 7 years, so I do have some insight, I just want to do the right thing by both of them.

Nonnie Sat 26-Jul-14 13:16:32

I don't think you should, you could end up as 'piggy in the middle'. Suggest you just point her in the right direction via your son

tcherry Sat 26-Jul-14 13:22:42

therese to be a bit honest he should be handling his own affairs at that age. I appreciate you want to help him we all want to help our children in every way that we can, but we must try and build them into independent capable individuals because we are not always going to be around to pick up the peace's.

He created this situation all on his own and he should sort it out -- be aware that if you do not allow him to feel responsible for this situation he will not think twice about perhaps creating it again.

Tegan Sat 26-Jul-14 13:25:19

Is it horrible of me to think that this girl has allowed herself to get pregnant because she thinks it will enable her to be given accomodation and obtain benefits? If your son thought she was on the pill then it's unfair on him if she then tells him she wasn't. I'm not absolving him of all blame but women, in these situations do have more of a control over their actions than men. And, he may have just been a good friend to her and the situation just went a bit too far. It isn't as if he sounds like the sort of man that happily goes round getting lots of women pregnant and then moves on [I do sometimes catch snippets of the Jeremy Kyle Show y'see].

Riverwalk Sat 26-Jul-14 13:31:30

I don't think it's wrong to meet the girl - she must be feeling lonely particularly as her mother has disowned her and your son presumably has told her that he doesn't want to be a father.

He's asked you to speak to her - what is it he wants you to say?

I rather suspect he's hoping you can persuade her to have a termination.

newist Sat 26-Jul-14 13:38:41

therese what kind of hostel does your sons friend live in? there are many hostels for all different reasons/causes, knowing as to why she is in a hostel might be helpful to you, in making your mind up as to what to to for the best in this difficult situation for everyone concerned

glammanana Sat 26-Jul-14 13:55:36

I don't think it is wrong to talk to the girl as she is possibly going to be the mother of a future DGC if your son goes ahead and requests a paternity test which is something I wouldn't even mention at this stage as it may alienate her against you,just try and steer her towards the best help available for her and her child and deal with everything else when the baby arrives.
She sounds as though she needs a lot of support so go gently with her you son has the responsibility for years to come and will have to provide for this baby if she does go ahead and have it.Take care and tread gently.

whenim64 Sat 26-Jul-14 13:59:45

Having managed a hostel for women who occasionally found themselves in this situation, I am sure this young woman will be getting support and advice, and one question the staff will be asking is whether the young man is going to take responsibility. It would be helpful if the couple spoke to the staff together and your son could tell them that you are around and interested, and that as their's has been a friendship more than a committed relationship, you need to take a back seat until you know he is going to continue to support the child because the child is either definitely his, or they are staying together as a couple and you would become involved if/when he takes a parental role.

Most hostel staff know the pitfalls in such circumstances, and try to build the bigger picture so they can enable the mother to cope well, but they also hear lots of confusing or dismissive information about the men involved. It's very welcome when responsible men step forward.

HollyDaze Sat 26-Jul-14 14:26:00

Not much that I can add therese that hasn't already been said but I would urge caution with what you say to the young woman. If the child does turn out to be your son's child and you would like a relationship with the child, don't say or suggest anything that the young woman could take offence over. It would probably be best to offer support for them both until you know if you are a grandmother or not.

Good luck with it all though.