“My parents are going to kill me.”
This is a common reaction from a teen or young adult who has just found out she’s pregnant. Sharing the news of an unplanned pregnancy with parents can be daunting and difficult. Depending upon what she feels your goals and expectations are for her, your daughter may be terrified to approach you. So, if she comes to you in tears, with the news she is pregnant, you can be proud that you have raised a courageous young woman.
Realistically, though, it’s more likely that other, less positive emotions are flooding your heart and mind — especially if the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy are less than ideal. Shock, anger, disappointment and humiliation are all common reactions to discovering your son or daughter is going to be a parent sooner than you had hoped or expected. But be assured that you are not the first parents to face this situation. You’re going to get through this one step at a time.
Here are some steps to help you move forward.
STEP ONE: DON’T OVERREACT
Don’t jeopardize your future relationship by saying things you will later regret. If you’ve already blown it, you can still go back and assure her of your love.
Avoid blaming or having a condemning attitude. Put yourself in her shoes and try to understand her fears. Trust God’s ability to bring beauty out of brokenness. He specializes in this!
Here are some words she needs to hear you say, from the booklet She’s Pregnant, Now What published by Focus on the Family[i]:
- “I’ll always love you. No matter what.”
- “We’re here for you and will help you in whatever way we can.”
- “It’s not what we planned, but it will be okay.”
- “We will get through this together.”
STEP TWO: HELPING HER PROCESS HER NEXT STEPS
Here are a few ways to be a support to your daughter:
- Affirm your confidence in her.
- Help her make a pros/cons list of her options.
- Encourage her to make rational, thoughtful decisions.
- Avoid saying, “We’ll support you whatever you decide.” This could make her feel she’s alone in the process.
- Share things that you’ve learned from your own life experiences.
If your daughter is not ready to be a parent, Life’s Choices can provide information about her options as she processes this very important decision. We have information about any option she is considering whether it be parenting, adoption or abortion.
We do not provide or refer for abortions, however we have factual information so she can make an informed decision. Please contact us if we can help in this way.
STEP THREE: SHARING THE NEWS
It’s okay to be happy about a new baby coming! You may disapprove of your daughter’s actions that led to the pregnancy, but being pregnant is not a sin. It’s okay to celebrate it! Throw her a baby shower. Be supportive even while you allow her to experience the realistic consequences of her situation, both joyful and difficult.
Remember to focus on what is best for your daughter and not on what others think. You will get a variety of reactions and opinions, and not all will be helpful. Try not to be offended. Be honest about your feelings with trusted friends. There will be many opportunities for growth and character development in both you and your daughter in the coming months.
STEP FOUR: FINDING SUPPORT
Your daughter is fortunate to have loving family to support her, but she may need more than you can give. Allow her to show responsibility by contacting local agencies to help her provide independently for her child as much as she can.
Life’s Choices is here to help. We can offer the following free resources:
- Free ultrasound to determine gestational age, detect heartbeat and confirm a viable uterine pregnancy
- 60 day supply of prenatal vitamins
- Childbirth and breastfeeding classes with trained R.N. instructor
- Pregnancy and parenting classes one-on-one either in the office or virtually
- Opportunity to earn free baby supplies including diapers, wipes, clothing and a brand new car seat.
- “Earn While You Learn” classes are available throughout pregnancy, as baby grows into toddlerhood and beyond.
- Referrals to other resources like medical assistance, food pantries, etc.
STEP FIVE: CELEBRATE THE POSITIVE THINGS
A new life has begun! The timing might not be the way you would have chosen it, but every life created is a gift from the gracious heart of God. This baby – your grandchild – was created for a purpose.
Celebrate your grandbaby! You might not feel ready. In fact, you might feel much too young to be a grandparent. The truth is, Nanas and PopPops seem to be much younger and cooler looking than they used to be. Being a grandparent is an experience like none other, and you are going to discover a new kind of love you never knew existed. Don’t rob yourself of the joy by clinging to your disapproval.
Now, you are going to have a new, common bond with your daughter – being a parent. Your relationship will change as your daughter becomes a mother. She’ll understand you better, and you can be a mentor and model to her. She’s going to grow up fast, and you will need to allow her the space to do that. Be supportive, but resist the urge to step in and take over.
Whatever lies ahead for you and your daughter, we’d love to walk beside you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help:
[i] 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family She’s Pregnant, Now What? Written by Holly M. Duncan, M.Ed., LPC