Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

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Friday, December 6, 2013

What If She's Pregnant?

[Dear Readers,

The following post is a bit more graphic than we typically post here.  I've thought about editing it for content, and have removed some details, but I have chosen to leave the remaining details in because I think, for some of you, there's value in understanding what can lead someone from "cuddling" to "going to far" and just how quickly it can happen.

We Old Married People know how short of a distance those two things are apart, and that's why we so often tell you "things not to do".

I'm also hoping you'll notice how this young woman feels.

Please understand, I don't blame her alone for what happened, but she could have prevented this had she made some very different, but very simple, choices.

- Bro Jo]



Dear Bro Jo,

I feel really embarrassed and disappointed in myself to talk to you about this.

But I need help. I’m going out with this guy, he’s a great guy.

I talked to him about my values, and what I believe in because he is not LDS.

He told me he understood and would respect that.

Well two days ago I went to his house to just hang out.

We were in his basement just watching movies . . . cuddling up in the couch.

We started to kiss a lot.

Well we ended up making out.

Things got worse and he ended up taking my pants off.

I know it’s my fault because I let him do this and I’m really sorry about that.

He was touching me down there and since it was kind of dark I really couldn’t see much.

Well I felt something ... and I panicked a little.

He stopped for a little bit but kept going.

I realized [what was going on].

I know I should have told him to stop . . . but I didn’t.

Well he got a condom and kept going.

I told him it hurt so he stopped and threw the condom away.

We kept on making out but later and things got more worse and he did it again ... and I think he had his condom on . . . I’m not really sure.

I kept on telling him to stop but he wouldn’t.

He finally did and I got up and put my pants on quickly.

I realized right there what I just have done.

I have ended up committing a big sin.

I understand all this is wrong and I should be punished big time for all of this.

I broke a promise to god. I fell into temptation and gave in.

I understand all this and I feel sick about it.

I’m really scared.

I’m really scared I might end up getting pregnant from just that one time.

I’m really sorry and I prayed for like an hour about this to my Heavenly Father.

I’m really strong in the Church and a lot of the young women look up to me.

I feel like I’ve let everyone down.

I know I need to tell the bishop and I will on Sunday.

My biggest fear though is becoming pregnant by this.

I prayed and I feel a little more at peace, kind of the feeling that everything will be alight.

But I still feel terrible that I fell into temptation.

I just want some advice from you on what to do.

I really need help.

Please get back to me as soon as possible.

Thank you,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Yes, you need to talk to your Bishop so that he can help you repent and mend your relationship with God. 

It's good that you regret what you've done, and good that you understand why what you did is not what you're supposed to do.

That's a start.

You also need to realize the things that lead to sex that you need to also not do again.

First of all, no more boyfriends, LDS or otherwise, until you're old enough to actually be ready for marriage and children, and even then only choose worthy priesthood holders who can and will marry you in the Temple.

Secondly, be more careful about your activities, locations, and environment. No more "hanging out", no more make out sessions, and by all means, keep your pants on.

As for the possible pregnancy . . . only time will tell.

Double check the box so that you understand what you're getting and how it works, and talk to someone older whom you know will know and can trust, but I think enough time has passed that you can take a pregnancy test.

They're a little expensive, but well worth the peace of mind.

Please, if it turns out that you are pregnant, plan on carrying the baby to term and then giving the baby up for adoption.

I will always be grateful for the choice that a young woman made for carrying me to term and giving me up.

If it helps to know a little bit more of the physiology, in order for him to have impregnate you he would have needed to ejaculate inside you; if that happened some of the . . . stuff . . . would have leaked out of you later.
You may or may not have noticed that.

Condoms break and fall off and have leaks, so while they can help prevent pregnancy they're no guarantee.

As for this creep you were dating, you have to realize what a bad guy he was and is.

Clearly he had planned to have sex with you (he did have condoms, after all, and he did get you alone in the basement, and he did take your pants off) and it's doubtful you're the first.

He had, and has, no intention of "respecting your beliefs", and most importantly, he didn't stop when you asked him to.

I'm not saying that he raped you.

Not at first.

But he clearly has no respect for you.

And you asking him to stop and him not stopping deeply concerns me.  That may in fact cross the line that makes what he did a criminal act . . . but, before you file charges, please be honest with yourself; did you really ask him to stop, or is it now that you wish that you did?

Of course this means that he doesn't love you. So know that.

You're on the right path towards making things better. It may be a long road, but don't give up because the end is worth the journey.

Lastly, be aware that you may need to tell people other than your Bishop, like your parents, especially if you are pregnant.

Your Bishop can help with that.

And keep praying.

That was and is a good thing to do.

Don't worry about struggling with English; it's a weird language and you did well.

Write as much or often as you need.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you for getting back to me.

I couldn’t sleep all night just thinking about this.

I’m really scared.

I feel terrible about this.

I talked to him last night the guy I’m with and told him what’s going on.

Well he told me not to worry because he has a low sperm count.

That he had an accident happen to him earlier that made him now not have cells to have babies.

I’m not sure if i should believe him?

This is my biggest fear is being pregnant.

I’m terrified about it.

If I do turn out to be of course I would keep it or give it up for adoption.

I just have younger sisters who look up to me and I don’t want them to do the same thing.

I’ve always wanted temple marriage and be married to the right priesthood member.

But guys over here I feel don’t find me attractive.

I’m Hispanic with curvy hips. I feel like they don’t like that at all; not ones I who asked me on dates in high school.

This guy showed up and he said great things to me and I gave in so easily because of this.

I honestly just wanted someone to like me.

I wanted to feel loved by someone because my life is so hard right now.

I now this is totally wrong.

I’m really scared to tell my Bishop about this.

We have known him for years and I feel like he would look at me differently.

They all look up to me because of how strong my testimony is in the Church and how strong of a person I am for going through all my trials.

But I obviously didn’t make it through this temptation.

But I have to tell my bishop and be on the right track to repentance.

I prayed about this all and I hope heavenly father heard my prayers.

I prayed to please not get pregnant by this because I am really sorry.

I understand what I did was wrong and I will talk to my Bishop and tell him everything.

I really hope he listens and please does this for me.

I’m really scared.

Also is there any way my mom can’t know about this?

Or does she need to be included?

I want to go through the repenting process with my Bishop, but only me and him.

Afterwards I want to tell her everything.

If I am pregnant that’s a whole different story.

I will take a pregnancy test but i heard it takes a week before I can know?

It’s only been two days.

I know it’s bad what I did and I feel really embarrassed telling you this.

I will regret this for the rest of my life.

I know heavenly father forgets my sins when I go through the repenting process but I never will.

I will always have to remember this and one day when I get married tell my husband I didn’t wait for him.

That really hurts me.

I feel terrible.

Thank you,

- NW




Dear NW,

Scared is good.

You did something scary.

I'd be more concerned if you weren't very worried about the consequences... I've got to say that it really concerns me that you still refer to this guy as "the guy I'm with" . . .

See, you need to learn something about guys . . . pay attention.

For guys "like" and "love" have nothing to do with sex.

Not outside of marriage, anyway.

Being attracted to a girl in a guy's mind is separate from whether or not you like her, respect her, or love her.
A guy can like kissing a girl and still not respect or like her.

(I suppose girls can be like that, too.)

Understand this, please: doing all of that stuff with you, having sex with you . . . twice . . . it's not because he likes you, or wants to marry you, or necessarily thinks anything positive.

He did it because he wanted to do those things, and you let him.

A man doesn't love a woman he doesn't respect, and you can't respect someone who doesn't respect themselves.

Doing what you did, and allowing him to do what he did . . . outside of marriage, shows a tremendous lack of self-respect.

I've got to tell you, I'm worried that you're concerned about being pregnant and aren't understanding clearly enough that what you did, and all of the things leading up to that, are things you ought not do.

Being scared is not the same as being repentant.  You need to understand that fear of pregnancy is not the same as regret for the action.  This situation didn't go from "hugging" to "sex" in the blink of an eye like you first intimated; you did A Lot of Stuff you should not have been doing . . . and I think if you were honest with yourself and with me, we'd learn that this was not your first "basement-like" session.

Scared or not, you need to talk to your Bishop as soon as possible.

If he suggests you tell your mom, then you should.

She may be a part of the repentance process, whether it's to help you or protect you.

Trust your Bishop.

You certainly need to stop seeing this guy.

And stop calling him. (The more I learn about this guy, the less I like him.)

Unless, of course, he did get you pregnant, then he needs to be told. And he needs to be held responsible.

Yes. You'll get better results on the pregnancy test in 8-9 days, depending on its sensitivity.

Usually it's best to wait until after you've missed your period.

We're not necessarily supposed to forget our sins; sometimes that memory is what keeps us from sinning again.

Like you, I wish this hadn't happened.

But I know that Heavenly Father still loves you, and that The Atonement can help you to feel good about yourself again.

Don't give up!

- Bro Jo

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a young woman you have to understand there are different personalities. When I was younger I was a pleaser, I wanted to help and be liked by everyone. As I have grown I realize the important person I need to impress is Heavenly Father. I did some things I regret but I did them out of ignorance. I didn't know how fast a boy could get turned on and he could get turned on just by kissing me alot. Hormones are given to us for a reason but we must learn to control them. A young man who loves you will not push for a sexual relationship. I teach my girls boys are the gas in a relationship and girls are the brakes. As young women we need to hit the brakes a ton more because some boys are persistant and they think we are not serious. They will test our integrity. Speak up and speak clearly.

Bro Jo said...

I might add that sometimes, perhaps because of the misconception that a girl's value is tied to her beimg in a relationship and that can mean doing whatever she thinks she needs to do to get and keep said boyfriend, a girl can be the one pressing the gas pedal.

I love the analogy.

And you're absolutely rigjt about hormones.

Best,

Bro Jo

Frank Pellett said...

Ok first, it's a bad analogy. The boy should be responsible for putting on his own brakes. We should absolutely not be blaming girls for not being able to stop boys, simply because they could not press the "brake" hard enough. Boys and girls, women and men, are responsible for their own actions. Even if a relationship is involved, they are not responsible for the actions of the other.

In this case, yes, the girl has some responsibility, as she put herself into this situation, but that ends even before she told him to stop. Even if not all agree that it was the case when she simply didn't say anything as he took off her pants, when she told him to stop and he continued, this became rape. The situation speaks of practice, meaning this has likely happened before with another girl and is likely to happen again. This boy needs to be stopped.

I hope the Bishop has the knowledge and inspiration to not just let this pass as something the girl needs to repent of, but gets on the hotline Bishops are instructed to use and to get further instruction on what to do in this case.

Bro Jo said...

With all due respect, Frank, you're being a wee bit naive.

Sure everyone is responsible for their own actions - that's Primary 101 - but no one is blaming girls for not being able to stop boys; the analogy teaches Young People (correctly, I might add) that while it would be Nice if other people stopped themselves, in Real Life that isn't often how it goes, and we can't just sit back and let things happen to us or others because "someone else had the responsibility to stop".

Was this rape?

Maybe.

But you need to remember that we're only told one side of this story, from the perspective a girl who's more worried that she's pregnant than regretful that she had sex.

Now, I'll accept some responsibility for that because of the details I omitted, but clearly They Both need to stop engaging in this dangerous behavior.

When these things happen we often find comfort in throwing all of the "blame" one direction, and you're certainly not going to get any argument from me that this guy knew what he was doing (though this may have been the first time he put that knowledge into practice), but in real life it is incumbent upon all of us to be the one ready to put on the brakes.

As for whether or not the Bishop needs further instruction . . . that may or may not be the case.

I certainly appreciate your outspoken comments, and thank you for lending your perspective.

Best,

- Bro Jo

Mama Cheese said...

I agree with Frank Pellett. After she said "No" this became rape. Sure, this sister made some very bad decisions, and it sounds like she also needs to do some repenting, but nonconsensual sex with someone is the very definition of rape, and the fact that she made some poor choices does not absolve this guy of culpability for his own actions. I suggest in addition to seeing her bishop, visiting with an excellent counselor might be helpful for this young woman.

Ok, now that I'm off my soapbox, here's some practical advice. Bro Jo, please edit if this is too graphic, but as a midwife I really hate seeing young people getting inaccurate information, and you're off on a couple things.

1. Pregnancy can occur without ejaculation. It is unlikely, but possible, for sperm to be contained in the pre-ejaculate which is usually emitted before intercourse even begins. This is one of the reasons the withdrawal method of birth control is so very ineffective.

2. There is no reason a pregnancy test needs to be expensive. All crisis pregnancy centers offer them for free. If that's not an easy option, nearly all dollar stores also carry them. In my opinion, $1 does not qualify as "expensive."

3. I do not advocate abortion, AT ALL, but I see the morning after pill as a reasonable option, especially in a rape situation. It does not cause the termination of an existing pregnancy; an implanted blastocyst will remain implanted and continue its normal development even if you take the morning after pill. If you are not pregnant, it prevents pregnancy by triggering an immediate period, thereby effectively "washing out" any sperm and/or egg present.

The rest of your advice is really good--no more contact with this creep, see the bishop, and learn skills to take care of yourself, including better decision making and self defense.

Bro Jo said...

Dear Mama Cheese,

I didn't edit a thing. I appreciate the information, and I'm sure our Readers do, too.


Rape is a serious accusation, and one that I take very seriously. Like most, I think and hope, my default instinct is to lean towards taking the side of the alleged victim.

But we also live in a world where Regret manifests itself as unfair and inaccurate accusation. Boys need to be protected, too.

I would never say that a girl "was asking for it" or "deserved it" (and I don't think I'm being accused of either here), but I also believe that there's a significant number of times In Today's Culture, when girls SAY they said no, when girls CLAIM they were raped simply because A) it's common, B) they like the sympathy, and C) they feel that it absolves them from consequence of their actions.

Look, this whole thing is a very sticky wicket.

Rape happens. So do false accusations.

All I'm saying is, before we convict this guy, let's be sure.

And consider her own words.

First she tells us that she knew what was going on and DIDN'T tell him to stop. Not the first time. Or the second.

When she says "it hurts" he immediately stops.

They keep making out and when they start up again she says she asked him to stop several times.

If she did indeed clearly tell him to stop, then I believe a crime was committed, even though I don't find her guiltless.

If she didn't, and is only now saying so because she wishes she had, that is a totally different story.

Only the two of them and God know for sure.

And neither of these kids may remember the incident correctly.

My primary concern is for her, and that she get the help she needs. Including counseling.

Her Bishop can help with all of that.

Thanks for the comments!

- Bro Jo

Danielle said...

I feel for this girl. It is all too easy to get caught up in the moment and before you know it - it's too late. This girls come across in the letter to be a little ignorant of life. Perhaps a shelter life.

The second time it happened, I can't see that it happened with consent. If she said no, at any point, then he certainly took advantage of her. Possibly even rape. Once she said no, he should have stopped.

As for him saying he has a 'low sperm count' what utter rot! I wonder if he has used that line before. I think she needs to avoid him like the plague.

Going to the Bishop is hard, but it is so worth it. And Bishops are very understanding. And she needs to tell her mum. That's what parents are for. I can imagine that her parents will want to string him up, and he deserves it.

If there is one piece of advise I have - don't keep beating yourself up over it. Repent, Learn, Forgive yourself and Move On!

Heavenly Father still loves us even when we make big mistakes.

Amanda said...

First I would say, that I know EXACTLY how she feels. I'm a convert to the church, but I didn't join until I was 20, and by that time I had already had sex. When I grew up (outside the church), the social pressure to lose your virginity before going to college was intense. And I'm ashamed to say that that pressure was a major factor in why I chose to lose my virginity when I did. I repented of those things when I got baptized, and felt AMAZINGLY better. But I can't forget those things, I can't forget what I did in my past. I am a current Temple recommend holder and have worked very hard to earn that recommend. But it will haunt me the rest of my life that I didn't wait for my eternal companion. That I can't look into my future husband's eyes and tell him 'I loved you before I even met you, I waited for you.' And that hurts more than I could ever relate in words. For a long time I felt like I was a 'second-class' single girl...That no self-respecting Priesthood holder would choose me as his first choice to marry in the Temple. And then at Stake conference I had an amazing revelation: I can't change the past or what I've done in it, but I can focus on making myself the best person I can be, I can make myself Temple worthy and develop worthy qualities that a Priesthood holder WOULD desire in their eternal companion. And as I focused on making myself a worthy eternal companion, I slowly began to think about the past less and less. Does that mean that it doesn't still hurt to think about? No. But my self worth isn't tied to mistakes in my past anymore, and I am that much stronger as a person for going through the repentance process and sticking through to the end.

About a year after I joined the church I had my heart broken by a missionary that I had strong feelings for (after he went home from his mission). At the same time a non-member guy was showing interest and I went out with him almost totally because I was hurt from the other guy. I let myself get into situations that now would be an absolute NO-NO. And because of it I ended up making out with and letting him touch me in places he shouldn't have. We didn't have sex, but I felt so horrible...Almost like my spirit couldn't stand to be in my body and I wanted to scrub a hole in my skin so that it could get out (that was the thought process at the time, it sounds silly now.) I was TERRIFIED to tell the Branch President what I had done (Just some FYI, this was before I went to the Temple). I was so scared that he would tell me I was too far gone, or that I would be kicked out of the church, or that he would treat me differently, or tell other people what I had done. Once I started talking, once the first words started coming out, it was like a flood and it just all came out. And I felt a million times better. Not totally over it, but MUCH better. My spirit could stand to be in my body.
If she can get anything from this long story...It's that it is possible! You CAN feel this weight come off your shoulders. DO NOT give up! I promise you that it is ABSOLUTELY worth it to stick it out. Definitely follow Bro Jo's advice of breaking up with the guy, he's only in it to get in your pants, as harsh and mean as that might sound. Kick him to the curb and block him, because Satan will use him to try and get you back into old habits with the occasional text/phone call etc. Trust me on that one, I know from personal experience. And please don't give up hope on having a Temple marriage. If you fully repent and try your hardest to follow the commandments, Heavenly Father will send you a worthy Priesthood holder who will marry you in the Temple. If you are trying your hardest to do what is right, Heavenly Father will not withhold those blessing from you.
Amanda

Anonymous said...

I am SHOCKED that you didn't tell her about the morning-after pill, which is NOT an abortive in any nature, but could prevent her from having to face a difficult pregnancy or become a young, single mother.

That should have been the first thing that you told her and I find it reprehensible that you didn't include it in your advice.

Bro Jo said...

Dear Anon,

You may find it reprehensible, but I doubt you're "SHOCKED". (You sound like an advocate for Planned Parenthood or a representative from a pharmaceutical company!)

Your comment has given me cause to research the Morning-after pill. Frankly I didn't know much about it; it's not exactly come up in my life before.

What I have learned is that:

1) the medication you're referring to is NOT risk and side-effect free

2) while it can greatly reduce the chance that someone get's pregnant, it's less effective than other contraceptives, and certainly is no guarantee

3) it's more effective the sooner after the incident it's taken

I'm reminded of a TV show where one character got another pregnant even though a condom was used; the running joke being that none of the guys realized that there are no 100% guarantees when it comes to contraception . . . except, of course, abstinence. It is important that people don't start having unprotected sex thinking they can always take a pill after. Plus, this pill does nothing to prevent STDs.

I guess the bottom line is, Anon, even though I now know a lot more about this medication, I'm not comfortable giving medical advice . . . so I doubt I'd have said what you'd like me to say.

Am am comfortable saying things like "go see your Bishop" or "you should talk to a trusted adult", and "there are medical things that are not 'abortive' that you may want to consider; go see your doctor or a clinic immediately; and when you do I think you should take a trusted adult and/or parent with you".

It's been posted here a few times, though you may have missed it: as a person who was conceived in California during 1969's "Summer of Love", and adopted shortly after birth, I've always considered myself an "abortion survivor". I'm grateful that things like the pill you've suggested and legalized abortion didn't exist during that time.

I'm sure that's coloring how I feel about all of this.

Thanks for reading and for your comments,

- Bro Jo