Tell Me About It

I’m a non-EU citizen, pregnant, and my Irish partner is scared

He is 30 years old, not a teenager who didn’t know what he was doing

PROBLEM: I am a foreign woman, 30 years old, in a relationship with an Irish guy for almost a year. I just discovered that I am six weeks pregnant and he is freaking out.

First he got scared but said that he would stay by my side. Now, after one conversation with his parents about our relationship, he has started to freak out again. He is living with his parents to save money for a house.

His parents say they don’t see a future in our relationship because I am not an EU citizen and I don’t have rights here. Because he was acting weird, they asked him if I was pregnant, and he said no. They said he would be on his own if this happened, but come on, he is 30 years old, not a teenager who didn’t know what he was doing.

He is so scared that he is making huge mistakes in his job. He doesn’t sleep well and gets sick all the time.

I haven’t known his parents a long time but I know that they will never turn their backs on him. They love him so much and that’s why they are concerned.

At the same time he is worried about me. He came to the first doctor’s appointment, which he also booked. He asked when I would book the next one, and then he got upset because I booked a scan at a time when he can’t come along with me.

I called my mother asking for advice, and she was very straight, saying that I can’t have an abortion, that there is a life inside of me.

But he keeps pressuring me, saying that he can’t cope on his salary, that his parents will have a heart attack. I am working and I see some possibilities to raise this kid together, but if he doesn’t want to he can live his life without us.

ADVICE: This is a very difficult situation and it is obvious that you see a future with this man and his child. Your partner is frightened and stressed by this crisis, as he feels that the plans he had for his life are now at risk: saving for a house and his sense that settling down should perhaps come after this. He is frightened, as are you, by the consequences of the pregnancy. Perhaps he needs time to consider the future.

It seems your partner is ambivalent in that he wants to attend the doctor’s appointments with you but then is asking you to consider not having the child. It may take him some time to adjust to this new reality, and the question is whether you can allow him this time.

He is clearly worried about the financial impact and the effect on his own family. These are all very laudable concerns, but in this situation it feels as if these issues are operating against you.

Your partner has many supports: unconditional love from his parents, a job and a community, not to mention the regard you seem to have for him. However, you may not have the same supports and your situation may be more precarious.

The HSE operates a crisis pregnancy advice, advocacy and information agency on Crisispregnancy.ie. You will need support, practical help and a safe place to consider your options, and this might be the first step in this direction.

You talk about your partner’s stress levels and, while these are very real concerns, your main concern needs to be your own wellbeing at this time. It sounds as if your mother is very involved but not geographically close and your status in this country is in question: these are extremely difficult and isolating issues.

Perhaps you think that if your partner commits to you, these issues will be solved, but, even if this is a likely outcome, it may take some time to come about and might not happen at all. Linking in with medical, social and perhaps legal supports are all very important, but you will also need friends to see you through. Can you garner this support?

My guess is that, even if you decide to give your partner a chance to commit to you, the relationship will need addressing, as there is now a lack of trust, some level of betrayal and perhaps a sense of being trapped in it. If this goes unaddressed, the relationship might suffer into the future, whether you are together or not.

A couple of sessions now with a counsellor or psychotherapist might offer both of you a chance to be heard, to learn stress management techniques and to get independent support.