“Mom, I’m pregnant”. How do you answer this?

You’re a parent. You’ve just found out your teen daughter is pregnant. I’m sure you’re feeling a million things right now. Anger, confusion, disappointment, fear for your child’s future, guilt, sadness, terror that if she made THIS mistake, what else has she done?

You’re allowed to feel all of those things. It’s fine. You don’t have to pretend you’re not angry.

 First of all: stop. Take a breath.

Know this:

1. As insanely overwhelmed and devastated as you’re feeling right now, you won’t always feel this way. You can, and will, get through this. All of you.

2. Today is the day you find out what kind of parent you really are.

3. Today is the day your daughter learns how to BE a parent. Whether or not she continues the pregnancy, whether or not she keeps her baby, she’ll carry this day forward with her, as her template for how to be a mother.

There’s a lot you’re going to have to deal with and think about – some emotional and some practical. Both are equally important and as a family you cannot successfully make your way through this without addressing both. I will deal with both in the next couple of posts. For now, I’ll focus on those first few minutes.

Are you still breathing? Good. Go back and read those three points again. 

Now – as angry as you are – go and find your daughter. Go on, I’ll wait.

Look into her eyes. She is still the same child you have always loved.

Hug her. It’s not time yet for decisions or plans or lectures. Those will all come. Right now your child is hurting. When YOU became a parent – this is what you signed up for. Unconditional love.

It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride for all of you from now. You will all need each other. No matter the outcome of the pregnancy, your family is changed, your daughter is changed, and your relationship with her will be changed. This moment right here can make or break your child’s future, and how she defines her place in the world. What are you going to say?

You’ll be asking plenty of questions in the next few days. Why how who where when why not how could you why didn’t you. You’ll also have to ask yourself some hard questions too:

  • Did she tell you herself? If she did, that is a good sign. I would take it to mean that she trusts you to be there for her. I would take it to mean that she was brave – knowing how hard it would be, she knew it had to be done and she did it despite being scared.
  • If she didn’t – if you found out some other way – ask yourself why. It could be reflection on her, it could be a reflection on you. Have you given her a place to feel that unconditional love? Would she have been too scared to tell you because of your reaction? Was she secure in the knowledge that despite your anger and disappointment, you would still love her? 
These questions are just the beginning. You’ll ask yourself what you could have done to prevent it. Only you can answer that. Maybe something, maybe nothing.
As much as this is about your daughter, her choices and decisions – you’re also going to have to face your own. And if you’re not pleased with the answers to the questions above – if you feel that you could have done better – know that it’s okay. From today, you can all do better.
It will be okay.

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