“My parents are going to kill me.”
This is a common reaction from a teen or young adult who has just found out she’s pregnant. Sharing the news of an unplanned pregnancy with parents can be daunting and difficult. Depending upon what your daughter feels your goals and expectations are for her, she may be terrified to approach you. So if she comes to you in tears, with the news that she is pregnant, you can be proud that you have raised a courageous young woman.
Realistically, though, it’s more likely that other, less positive emotions are flooding your heart and mind, especially if the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy are less than ideal. Shock, anger, disappointment and humiliation are all common reactions to discovering your son or daughter is going to be a parent sooner than you had hoped or expected. But be assured that you are not the first parents to face this situation. You’re going to get through this one step at a time. The following are some steps to help you go forward.
Step One: Don’t overreact
- Don’t jeopardize your future relationship by saying things you will later regret. If you’ve already
said angry words, you can still go back and apologize, and assure her of your love.
- Avoid blaming or having a condemning attitude. Put yourself in her shoes and try to understand
- Trust God’s ability to bring beauty out of brokenness. He specializes in this!
Here are some words she needs to hear you say, from the booklet She’s Pregnant, Now What published by Focus on the Family:
- “I’ll always love you. No matter what.”
- “We’re here for you and will help you in whatever way we can.”
- “It’s not what we planned, but it will be okay.”
- “We will get through this together.”
Step Two: Help her process HER next steps
- Affirm your confidence in her.
- Help her make a pros/cons list of her options.
- Encourage her to make rational, thoughtful decisions.
- Share things that you’ve learned from your own life experiences.
If your daughter is not ready to be a parent, adoption is an option. Adoption can be the most loving,
courageous decision a woman makes for her unborn child. And if she is considering abortion, it’s
important that she understands the risks and consequences of that decision.
Step Three: Share the news
- It’s okay to be happy about a new baby coming! You may disapprove of your daughter’s actions
that led to the pregnancy but being pregnant is not a sin. It’s okay to celebrate it! Throw her a
baby shower. Be supportive even while you allow her to experience the realistic consequences
of her situation, both joyful and difficult.
- Remember to focus on what is best for your daughter and not on what others think. You will get
a variety of reactions and opinions and not all will be helpful. Try not to be offended. Be honest
about your feelings with trusted friends. There will be many opportunities for growth and
character development in both you and your daughter in the coming months.
Step Four: Find support
- Your daughter is fortunate to have loving family to support her, but she may need more than
you can give. Encourage her to show responsibility by contacting local agencies.
- Allow her to provide independently for her child as much as she can.
Step Five: Celebrate the positive things
- Celebrate your grandbaby! You might not feel ready, in fact you might feel much too young to
be a grandparent. The truth is, Nanas and PopPops seem to be much younger and cooler looking
than they used to be. Being a grandparent is an experience like none other and you are going to
discover a new kind of love you never knew existed. Don’t rob yourself of the joy by clinging to
- You are going to have a new, common bond with your daughter – being a parent. Your
relationship will change as your daughter becomes a mother. She’ll understand you better, and
you can be a mentor and model to her. She’s going to grow up fast, and you will need to allow
her the space to do that. Be supportive but resist the urge to step in and take over.
A new life has begun! The timing might not be the way you would have chosen it, but every life created
is a gift from the gracious heart of God. This baby – your grandchild – was created for a purpose.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid
out before a single day had passed.” Psalms 139:16
1 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family She’s Pregnant, Now What? Written by Holly M. Duncan, M.Ed., LPC