What can you do when your teen comes home pregnant? This article contains practical advice on how to deal with this situation..
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) the number of teen pregnancies are falling to 40.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years. While those statistics are good news, they don't really mean much to a family who is facing a teen pregnancy.
Suffice it to say, a teen pregnancy likely came as a shock to everyone. Allow yourself and your teen to experience the shock – briefly, and then accept the reality of the situation. You may be upset, furious, disappointed, hurt, scared and experiencing a whole gamut of emotions. That is not going to change the facts.
Both of you should take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. You do not need to figure it all out the moment two lines showed up on the pregnancy test. Whether she agrees to keep the baby or seek adoption, your immediate concern should be for the baby.
The health of the mom and baby should be paramount; get to a doctor or clinic. Help your daughter ensure she's eating well, getting exercise and eliminating any vices (smoking, drinking or drugs). Remember, being mad isn't going to help anyone. Your teen cannot un-ring the bell. What she needs now is support.
You are not on your own. Each community has programs and resources available. If you don't know where to start, call your doctor or United Way. They can point you in the right direction to find education classes and counseling resources.
You may want to make an appointment with an adoption agency, just to talk. Whether your teen is feeling secure in her decision to keep or not keep the baby or is totally at a loss what to do, talking with an adoption agency may help in the decision process.
Encourage your teen to start reading. There are a number of great books, including the “What to Expect” series. Also, if you still haven't accepted that you're going to be a grandma, now is a good time to work on that!
While you are the mother to your daughter; you will be the grandmother to the baby. That means you need to allow your daughter to be the mother. You can encourage and support her, however unless you want to drive a bigger wedge between the two of you, step back and allow her the responsibility to parent the baby!
Some grandparents-to-be tend to confuse accepting with condoning. I'm certain if you had it your way you would wish you didn't have to deal with a teen pregnancy. However, the fact is, you can't click your heels and wish it away. It is a fair bet that your teen already knows you don't condone it. It is what it is, so embrace it and make the best of it.
Babies are a beautiful blessing; a gift. The road to teen pregnancy is not an easy one. Babies (teens) raising babies isn’t easy and neither is the selfless act of giving a baby up for adoption.
Years ago when I was in a parent education class, prior to giving birth to my first child, I remember the wise words of the educator. She said "Children will bring you the most joy you have ever experienced in your life. They will also cause you the most pain you could ever experience too." Another way to put it is that you can't have a rainbow without a little rain!
Embrace, accept and love – and you, your teen and the baby will all be just fine!