Ask E. Jean: I’m Pregnant With Another Man’s Baby

Life & Love

Dear E. Jean: Several months ago, I informed the guy I’d been dating for two years that I was five weeks pregnant. He snapped at me to “sort it out!” He said he already had kids and was “not prepared for more.” I’m 33 and have no children, and he’s 39. I want the child very much, and I ended the relationship.

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I began dating a new man, and I somehow let him think he’s the father. Yes, call me names. The new guy is my age and has been here every day—paid all my prenatal bills, scratched my back—and he’s happily planning our future life together. Now that I’m on maternity leave from work and have time to think, I realize what a big shit I am. How do I name my baby? How do I fix this mess? I feel bad, but I really have no romantic feelings for this new guy. So do I tell my former boyfriend, the man I possibly still love, that I kept the pregnancy and will give birth soon? The baby won’t look like the new guy, so do I tell him I was already pregnant and that the child isn’t his? This will kill him! OMG! I messed up so much! Or do I just not confess to anyone? Please help! I’m really scared now!—In Deep Distress

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Deep, My Love: This is a celestial command: For the baby’s sake—speak up! Neither man will like the news (or, possibly, both will), but each will require time to recover and to think about his own future. However, darling, it won’t kill them.

Cut to the chase with a simple “I want to tell you something that may surprise you”—research shows that long preambles only add to the distress of the recipient—and state the plain facts. (In the case of the second chap, he may have already suspected something was amiss, or he may be in deep denial, since the math—you’d have to have been at least five weeks along when you met him—doesn’t quite add up.)

I receive so many letters from women who are distraught because they can’t have a baby; my wish for you is to relish this joyful time—not fear it. The two men may be the best, most upstanding, kindest, tenderest men in existence—or they may be scalawags. Either way, rely on yourself! Join a new-mothers’ group (find one through your local college, clinic, church, or hospital) for a support network. Good luck. I believe you can bear down much more opposition than you’ll meet with!

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at


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