Pregnant Teenagers – Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy

Pregnant TeenagerHearing the words “I am pregnant” may feel like a parent’s worst nightmare when finding out you have a pregnant teenager saying she is 6 weeks or 7 weeks pregnant, 8 weeks pregnant or more. Dealing with the earth-shattering news that your daughter is pregnant, or your son and his girlfriend are experiencing an unplanned teenage pregnancy, can be one of the scariest and most difficult situations to deal with.

Hearing you have a pregnant daughter likely came as a shock, and you may be feeling upset, angry, disappointed, hurt, embarrassed and scared about the changes now taking place in your pregnant teenager’s life and body. It can feel as if “our lives are ruined” with hopes, dreams and plans for her future forever shattered into pieces, and thoughts of “where did I go wrong?” keeping you up at night and unable to sleep. Your pregnant daughter was undoubtedly worried sick about “how do I tell my parents I’m pregnant”, and she needs your love, support and guidance, not criticism, blame or ridicule.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the statistics of teen pregnancy are falling to 40.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years. The statistics are good news, but it doesn’t change anything for a parent dealing with a teenage pregnancy. The reality is that your daughter is pregnant and a mother-to-be, and you are going to be a grandparent.

Take a deep breath, and calm your racing thoughts and emotions. Most teen girls have the “it won’t happen to me” belief, yet there are two lines showing “positive” on the pregnancy test, removing all doubt that pregnancy can and did happen. Telling your daughter her actions were irresponsible is one thing, but yelling at her and calling her names won’t do anything to change the fact that she is pregnant.

Even if you have discussed sex with your teen, encouraged abstinence or birth control, teen pregnancies do happen and the life-altering consequences of getting pregnant are very real for parents and their child. Your daughter is pregnant and scared, and the father of the baby is dealing with his own fears and concerns about becoming a father. Thank your daughter for coming and telling you, which is the right thing to do, and let her know you will support her 100% of the way.

Your daughter has the right to decide what she wants to do with her pregnancy. If your daughter decides she is keeping the baby, as opposed to putting the baby up for adoption or getting an abortion, your daughter’s health and the baby’s health must be your primary concern. Immediately make an appointment with a doctor or clinic to begin the monthly visits and evaluations to ensure your daughter and baby are getting needed prenatal care, vitamins and professional medical attention.

Help your daughter ensure she’s eating right for a healthy pregnancy, getting needed exercise and eliminating any unhealthy vices such as smoking, drinking or drugs. Teens who become pregnant often decide to drop out of school. Encourage her to stay in school, complete her education, graduate from high school and plan for college. Many schools offer teenage parenting programs, so make an appointment with the school counselor to discuss the available options for your daughter.

Encourage and help your daughter by having her read pregnancy books like the What to Expect series, along with the pregnancy journal and organizer, which includes information on what to eat while pregnant, the week-by-week changes and stages during pregnancy, weight gain during pregnancy as well as important information about dealing with morning sickness, basic baby care etc, so she is better prepared for what is to come.

Your daughter and the baby’s father will need to decide if the baby will be born in a hospital, a birthing room, a birthing center or even a home-birth assisted by a doctor and/or midwife, and your daughter will want and need your guidance and suggestions. The father of the baby also needs to read books about pregnancy and parenting such as The Expectant Father series, in order to better understand and deal with his own feelings about becoming a father, the week-by-week changes taking place with the baby and mother, preparing him for fatherhood and responsibilities of caring for a baby.

You also need to accept that while you are the mother to your daughter, your daughter is the baby’s mother and you must allow her the needed space to be the mother of her own baby, and handle the responsibility to parent her own child. Your suggestions, guidance, advice, love and support are certainly needed, but don’t confuse your role as grandparent to the point where you are driving a wedge between you, your daughter and the baby’s father.

Some grandparents-to-be have the tendency to confuse accepting the pregnancy and condoning teenage pregnancy, but they are not the same. You likely wish you didn’t have to deal with your daughter being pregnant as a teenager, but wishing it weren’t so and the hope of waking up and discovering it was all just a terrible dream is an unrealistic fantasy and you must let it go. Your daughter, and the father of the baby, likely already know you don’t condone teen pregnancy and it’s time to accept it and make the best of it.

Babies raising babies, or teens raising babies, is very hard to do. Your lives will never be the same again and your pregnant daughter and the father of the baby will undoubtedly grow up very fast, in ways neither of them can even imagine. Be supportive, loving and helpful now and throughout the future. You will be glad you did, and the teen parents will be forever grateful and appreciative of your efforts.

Join CafeMom, which is an online support group for women, mothers and moms-to-be, where you and your pregnant daughter can discuss with other women and moms topics about pregnancy, parenting tips, suggestions and ideas about taking care of a baby, with other moms and grandparents just like you. CafeMom has a very active group of young mothers between the ages of 16-25 that your daughter will surely enjoy and receive additional emotional support throughout her pregnancy and after the baby is born.

Related Articles:

Birthing Options – Natural Childbirth Options For Expectant Mothers
Baby Needs Checklist: Basic Baby Needs for Newborn Babies
The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be


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15 Responses to “Pregnant Teenagers – Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy”

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  1. Annette says:

    Good article, after I got past the disappointing first sentence. Finding out that a daughter is pregnant is not a parent’s worst nightmare. Speaking as a mother of five (all teens or young adults now) a mother’s worst nightmare might be to get a phone call that your child is in the hospital after a drug overdose or car accident. Or finding out that they are autistic or have a life threatening illness. Expecting a baby is a normal, natural life experience in the life of most females , and while it is of course best for our daughters to wait until they are out of school, self-supporting or married, I think it is wrong to act like the baby is a tragedy. But I agree that love, support, and any assistance we can offer is vital, along with our total acceptance of both baby and mother-to-be.

  2. Lin says:

    Hi Annette, perhaps that sentence should have read “it CAN feel like a parent’s worst nightmare”, but I completely understand your point.

    I agree that there are definitely worse things that can happen, like the things you’ve mentioned about autism, car accident etc. I think for families with teenage daughters around 13, 14, 15 etc the news of a pregnancy can hit like a ton of bricks, and can feel overwhelming at first. Then things settle down and the love and support and help begins to flow, along with acceptance.

  3. renita says:

    I think it’s wonderful that there is a website dedicated to young mothers since being pregnant can be overwhelming for a new mother, teen or adult.

    I also agree that nothing is better than to have the support of your family, however, there is a fine line b/w support and enabling your child.
    I believe that regardless of the age, if a teen chooses to have sex than that teen needs to be accountable for their actions.

    Some parents, when they find out their teen is having a baby take over the role of parent rather than grandparent, which I feel is detrimental not only to the baby who misses out on truly bonding with their mother/father but also the teen parent who goes back to life like normal and unchanged.

    I agree with love and acceptance but how much support do you give your teen?

  4. Lin says:

    Hi Renita, just like there is a difference between helping and enabling grown children who are adults in every way, it’s extremely important for the parents of teen mothers/fathers to realize the boundaries and not take over the role of mother to the baby. The mother of the baby and the father of the baby must be allowed to carry the responsibility of parenting their own child, while grandparents to the baby can give guidance, suggestions, direction and help without enabling the teen parents.

    How much support you give your teen depends on your definition of “support”. Emotional support, absolutely. That goes without saying. Depending on the ages of the “teen” parents, there may very likely be help/support needed in financial ways as well, without stepping over the line into enabling. There are many government programs for young mothers, teen mothers etc (WIC is just one of them) that offer help and support in a variety of ways, that the teen parents can and need to know about, perhaps even driven there if not of driving age, in order to benefit from these programs. Helping and supporting teen parents can definitely create a situation of becoming full blown “enablers”, so the parents of the pregnant teen have to be very careful they don’t step over the line and find themselves doing everything for the baby and the teen parents.

  5. wilson says:

    Lin, if I’m not wrong, I have been told you the story about my friend, Mikey that getting married with his pregnant girl friend, Lindsay…

    Well, although it’s a very tough and hard situation, but they did managed to overcome it in the end!

  6. Lin says:

    Hi Wilson, yes I remember you telling me about your friends, and I’m glad that everything worked out well for them. Teenage pregnancy and becoming a parent as a teenager can be/is very difficult but it is doable. The parents of the teens (grandma and grandpa) have to be extremely careful to not overstep reasonable boundaries and basically become the parents of the baby. Reasonable amounts of help is one thing; but taking on the primary role of parenting the baby or becoming an enabler of the parents is an entirely different matter.

  7. Jessie says:

    This type of teen pregnancy takes place due to lack of awareness. Some times things do happen, but we must have the heart of acceptance. never criticise them and let them to decide what they wanted t do. Support them morally and mentally.

  8. Lin says:

    Jessie, most teens are very aware of the chance they can become pregnant, but they also have the tendency to think “it won’t happen to me”. Like, “it only happens to other girls” at school and in the neighborhood. Both girls and boys are told “it only takes one time without protection” to end up pregnant, and then everything changes in an instant.

    Accepting the news and making decisions about whether to keep the baby or perhaps give the baby up for adoption are very difficult emotionally, both for the teen mom/dad and the parents of the teens. Being supportive of the pregnant teens is very important. It’s also extremely important for the soon-to-be grandparents to NOT overstep boundaries and become the parent to the baby, but maintain their role as parents and grandparents in guiding, directing, offering advice etc, being sure to remember that the teens are the parents to the baby and they are responsible for the baby.

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