Child Pregnancy: What To Do, How to Act
WHEN YOUR Child FIRST BREAKS THE NEWS TO YOU, YOU MAY FEEL
YOU MAY THINK:
“Her life will be shattered, our lives are ruined.”
“All of her (and our) hopes, dreams and plans are threatened!”
Perspective Check — While it may not be good news, It’s also not the end of the world.
Avoid assigning blame or condemning.
Focus on the positive (new life is a gift from God and full of new possibilities).
Show grace and mercy as Jesus would.
Step Into Her Shoes — Understand her fears. She is probably overwhelmed:
Feeling like she has lost your love and confidence.
Feeling alone and needing a support group.
Wondering what her options are.
Facing a future she hadn’t planned.
Step Up — Be an asset to your daughter by:
Reassuring her of our unconditional love and concern.
Affirming your confidence in her.
Trusting God whole-heartedly.
Simply Say It — She can’t read your mind. You need to speak the words:
“I still love you, no matter what.”
“I’m here for you and will help you in whatever way I can.”
“You do have options.” (marriage, adoption, single-parenting, you can continue school and graduate)
“Some people may look down on you, but many more will extend their compassion”
“You are ultimately accountable to God, not other people.”
“You have a whole lifetime ahead of you. This child can be a great source of inspiration to your future.”
Health First — Her health should be tops on your priority list. Be sure to:
Find a compassionate and caring health care provider.
Make sure she has proper nutritional care.
See that she exercises appropriately.
Be aware of hormonal changes affecting her emotional well being and adding stress to her body.
Acknowledge her feelings of attachment (it’s a normal maternal feeling).
A Comfortable Environment — Create a non threatening atmosphere by:
Being willing to listen as she talks about her feelings.
Giving advice only when asked.
Enabling her to make rational, thoughtful decisions.
Respecting her privacy (allowing her to ponder secret thoughts).
Respecting her feelings about the baby’s father (whether the relationship continues or is terminated).
Guiding the baby’s father into responsible participation.
Family Matters — Lighten your daughter’s burden by offering to tell close family members about her pregnancy.
Family allows an opportunity to express their genuine concern.
Siblings may offer her unique sympathy, because they are closer in age.
They may have suggestions you haven’t thought of.
You can unite as a family to be a support for her.
After sharing the news, remember:
To respect one another’s opinions.
You are not obligated to act on every suggestion made by others.
Family members may strongly disagree on some decisions.
Ultimately, it’s your daughter’s life and the life inside of her who are affected by her decision.
Loving support is essential.
Decisions, Decisions... Your daughter faces many decisions. Be her guide as she considers her options.
How much do you and she actually know about how adoption works today?
Would this option free her to continue the life she’d planned for herself?
Have you considered the statistics which dramatically demonstrate the importance of a father in a child’s life?
Help her weigh the pros and cons.
Parenting the child
Will she move out and raise the child on her own?
What are the financial implications?
What role are you willing to take in the child’s upbringing?
Will she depend on you to help her raise the baby? Explain that, as the mother, she is the parent.
Sort through your own feelings and only offer that which you feel comfortable.
Is your daughter in love or simply trying to remedy the situation?
Are they mature enough to bear the responsibilities of marriage and be effective parents?
What are the long-tern implications? Another mistake — divorce?
Objectively and lovingly share your concerns. Then give her freedom to make the decision.
Refuse to worry about your family’s reputation. It does not matter what other people may think about her pregnancy.
If she’s of Christian faith and conviction, reaffirm that life begins at conception. It’s not only faith based but scientific fact.
Serve as a steady, rational voice when your daughter is tempted to overlook her beliefs.
You need support too!
Don’t Deny It — You need support too. You can best help your daughter when you are strengthened and healthy. Check out the people and places ready to help:
Women’s Care Center of Sevier County, Inc.
Church (pastor, Sunday School and Bible Study groups)
Youth leaders (They are in-tune with what teens are dealing with.)
Other parents who have gone through similar experiences
An existing parent support group (or be willing to start your own!)
Other agencies in our area working with unmarried pregnant women
What you’re going through is not easy. There are no simple, pat answers to direct you on this unexpected journey. Though this website provides some guidance to help you, you may need more insight and support. Contact the WCC.
Remember, your daughter may make a decision without your permission. So stay involved in your daughter’s life and be willing to walk through difficult times with her. Often daughters just want to please their parents but the shame of an unplanned pregnancy may prevent her from sharing with you. She simply may not want to disappoint you so this keeps her locked up and isolated from you. Do not leave your daughter to make these heavy decisions alone. Go to her, throw your arms around her and tell her that you love and support her no matter what!
Your child does not have to be a victim of confusion. Let us help you. We offer counseling, education and community resources.