Have you just received the news that your teen daughter is expecting a baby? You will almost certainly be shocked, and a whole host of other emotions will be making an appearance as well. They may be disappointment, worry, fear and guilt, and excitement over becoming a grandmother. You're certainly in for a tough ride, but your teen needs all your support!
Whether you never, ever thought that your daughter could be one of those girls from MTV's "16 and pregnant", or already knew that she was in a sexual relationship and are not all that surprised, you are probably confused and worried. And, you are probably not sure how to react to the news. So, what can you do when your teen is expecting a baby?
Although it's your child who is expecting, your life will change forever as well now. That is true if your child chooses to have an abortion or to give the baby up for adoption, but even more so if the baby will become part of your family. Counseling is in order if you are feeling conflicted. Even without that, it is wise to allow yourself time to listen to your own emotions regarding your daughter's pregnancy rather than only focusing on her. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Are you willing to support your child through whatever decision she makes?
- Are you willing and able to offer financial and practical support once the baby gets there? (if relevant)
- How would you react if you are pro-life, and your daughter chooses abortion?
- How do you feel about becoming a grandma much earlier than expected?
- How is the changed situation affecting your relationship with your daughter?
And for her
Now matter how disappointed and shocked you are, your daughter needs you now more than ever before. Pregnant teens would most like you to listen to them with an open mind, and for you to allow them to talk about all their feelings good and bad surrounding their pregnancy and probably the baby's father. Trying to react in a compassionate way is most productive.
Offering to drive your daughter to counseling sessions or prenatal appointments, and even mediating between her and her boyfriend if necessary, could mean so much to your daughter. Remember that you are not dealing with the situation you had envisaged before anymore whatever will happen later, your daughter is pregnant now, but as a teen still needs help navigating her path to the future.