I’m an 18-year-old guy, and I think my girlfriend wants a baby. My girlfriend and I have been together for a while. We recently got tested and stopped using condoms after she went on the Pill. But her friend just had a baby and all she can talk about is how cute the baby is and how she wants to be a mom. I might want that someday with her, but I’m definitely not ready right now! I’ve been feeling really anxious and avoiding her, and now she’s mad at me. What do I do?!
Great question! The very first thing you should do is talk with your girlfriend. It sounds like you guys have already navigated some important decisions about getting tested and using birth control together. Hopefully, that will help you feel confident opening up this dialogue. Check in with her directly about whether her comments are just offhand (babies are pretty cute), or if there is a deeper mismatch between what you both want.
If she’s serious about motherhood right now and you don’t want to be a dad, it’s better to communicate that now.
In the meantime, let your girlfriend know that you’d like to go back to using condoms. Until they develop more (much needed!) birth control methods for people with penises, condoms are the best way for you to manage your risk, yourself. They provide great backup protection for the Pill (and the only protection against STIs!) and will help you feel more secure while you figure it all out.
If you’re feeling uneasy bringing this up, think about why that might be.
Do you often avoid tricky topics so she doesn’t get mad? Sometimes it can just feel downright difficult to raise sensitive subjects, no matter how well your partner responds. But if your girlfriend often reacts negatively when you speak up, that can be a serious red flag. Remember that you can always enlist the help of a medical or mental health professional to help mediate the discussion.
If you’re worried about relying solely on the Pill, which has a high opportunity for human error, you can also talk with your girlfriend about more reliable and long-lasting forms of reversible contraception, like the implant and the IUD.
Hopefully this isn’t the case, but it’s important to note that intentionally skipping Pills or seeking pregnancy against your partner’s wishes is NOT okay–in fact, it’s an extremely serious form of abuse called reproductive coercion. Speak with a trusted mental health or medical provider right away if you suspect this at all. At the end of the day, it’s her body, and her choice of method. However, you can protect your own by advocating for yourself and using condoms every time you have sex.
A version of this post was originally published in January 2017.