How would you cope with teenage pregnancy if you were a parent? Isn’t that a tricky, tough, and traumatic question?
This is one of the most touchy topics that parents would ever want to even think of. None of them expect teen pregnancy when they raise their daughters from being their beautiful baby to a gorgeous young lady.
But when it happens, you’ve to face it. You can’t ignore it, but accept the fact – and your own daughter.
You’re going to read a moving story from a parent out of her personal experience. She dealt with her teenage daughter getting pregnant at a time when she wasn’t expecting it.
Today’s guest blogger is none other than a community member of Aha!NOW and someone who showers magic through her ministry and motivational thoughts, Yvonne I. Wilson.
She is this month’s top active community member and you can see her name on the Leaderboard in the sidebar, and as a result gets to write a guest post on Aha!NOW. She has a story to tell about teenage pregnancy, and you, parents and teenagers alike, should read it.
Over to you, Yvonne. 🙂
In many aspects, I am sure you will agree that parenting is among one of the toughest and least underpaid jobs that you will ever have.
Mark you; do not get me wrong – I love being a parent. 🙂
Likewise, I am positive that you do too. However, it is a huge responsibility, and with being a parent, there are many challenges.
Quite frankly, there are no off days!
Even when your children are all grown up, have left home, hopefully married 🙂 and in a committed relationship, you are still a parent.
Then, if you are like many parents, and have a teenage daughter living at home, you have dreams of the day when you will attend her college graduation and walk her down the aisle.
But one day while you are at work, she calls you up on the telephone and says, “Mom, [or Dad] can you come home so that we can have lunch together? I also have something I would like to tell you.”
You hang up the telephone and your gut instincts lead you to believe right away that something is not right – and lives are about to be changed.
Let me share with you all that happened in my life.
An Overview of Contents
The Darkest Day of My Life as a Parent
The moment I got into my car to drive home on that sunny day in March 2012, my heart thumped heavily against my chest and then it felt like it had sunk into my stomach.
As I am driving along the highway, I said a short prayer to calm my nerves. I tried to freeze my mind so that it would not think, especially not anything negative.
I fought back the tears. For comfort, I convinced myself it was not bad news.
My daughter was six months shy of her sixteenth birthday.
She had just started college and was only in her second semester. Prior to that, from the moment she turned fourteen and leading up to that day, she was a ‘troubled’ teenager.
The problems she gave me, and the troubles she kept on getting into, were attributed to peer-pressure. It was my worst nightmare when it was discovered that she had become sexually active.
Now as I walked into her bedroom, I met her curled up in bed under the covers. As I sat facing her, I saw fear in her eyes.
She began, “Mommy I have something to tell you and I know you might not be happy, but I can’t keep it any longer.”
“Okay, go on and tell me,” I said.
She went on and related everything up to the point where she said the words, “Mommy, I am pregnant.”
I was stoned! More like being dumbfounded! There I was, muted. Then a hint of anger and betrayal boiled on the inside of me.
I remained silent, as I looked her in the face, trying my best not to display any outward emotions.
“You see now, you are not going to love me anymore… [Inaudible] That is the very reason I was afraid to tell you,” she said.
Nothing could have prepared me for this. It was the last thing I wanted [needed] to hear.
As she sobbed uncontrollably, her words pierced my silence, which somehow jolted me back to reality.
My daughter needed me more than ever. I sat there cold with my self-righteousness, thinking only about myself and how as a church leader, I would ever face the church and society.
I leaned forward with my hands outstretched and I recall so vividly, how I held her so tight into my bosom.
I gently kissed her forehead and re-assured her how much I loved her.
“I love you dearly, Susan,” [not her real name] No matter what, I will never turn my back on you. I will be there for you every step of the way,” I said.
I continued, “However, I need you to know this is one of the very things I was trying so hard to steer you away from. You will also finish your college education whenever that time comes again.”
“Yes, mommy, I promise I will,” she replied.
I left her room in a daze. I was ashamed, confused, and guilty that with all I had done, perhaps, I had not done enough, and I was to be blamed.
That was my part of the story, which leads me to write on the topic of teenage pregnancy. Here are some other issues with teenagers who become pregnant.
PLEASE READ: How To Deal With Teenage Problems
Current Trends and Issues with Teen Pregnancy
While in some cultures and even in societies, teen pregnancy is considered taboo, it is certainly not a new thing.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services report [updated August 4th, 2104] as it relates to trends in teen pregnancy, about 82 percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned.
Further, US teen birth rates per 1000 females ages 15-19, by race or ethnicity combined over the years ranged from 59.9% in 1990 to 29.4% in 2012.
It was also noted in the report that the national teen pregnancy rate has declined almost continuously over the last two decades.
DON’T MISS: 9 Ways To Cope As A Single Parent
Tips on How to Avoid Teenage Pregnancy
Here are some tips on what parents can do to help teenagers not get pregnant at the delicate juncture of their life.
- Don’t give in – Encourage your child not to give in to peer-pressure.
- Abstinence – Teach your child to say ‘NO’, and to know when it doesn’t feel right to walk away from the situation.
- Health education – Explain the different options on what will or will not cause pregnancy and how the body functions. For example having un-protected sex and the use of the pull out method by the male versus protected sex.
- Partnership – Work with a qualified physician or family planning practitioner to help you and your child to understand the different types of birth control, and choose the best option.
- Protection – The use of protection by using condoms cannot be emphasized enough. Condoms do burst, yes, but it is still a very safe method.
How to Cope During and After Teen Pregnancy
As hard as this may sound, put aside your own feelings and fill the void and emptiness in your child’s life with the basic needs of acceptance, unconditional love, and emotional support.
1- Seek a qualified physician for medical advice and health care early
You also need to take an active role throughout in your daughter’s health care by ensuring she gets proper nutrition and adequate rest.
In addition, help her to stay away from harmful behaviors such as smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages, and other substances that could harm her and the baby.
2- Find a trained counselor to speak to
Find someone who has experience dealing with teen pregnancies. A spiritual advisor is also another good option as well.
3- Contact the baby’s father and his parents to set up a meeting
The aim is to get to know the father’s position and his intention as it relates to his financial obligations, and his involvement in the baby’s future life.
4- Keep the lines of communicate open
You need to do this every step of the way so that your daughter does not feel left out or abandoned.
5- Prepare for the reality
Take an active role in helping your daughter prepare for the reality of a new life coming into the world.
6- Help her to build a good support group with family and close friends
These persons will be necessary to empathize with her and to give a supportive shoulder to lean on.
Find a counselor and a support network for yourself. Take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
7- Don’t forget to celebrate the new life that is about to come into the world
Having a baby planned or un-planned is meant to be a joyous occasion. And it is not such a bad idea after all being a grand-parent, especially for the first time.
8- Don’t withdraw her from school
See that she finishes her high school or college education.
DO READ: How To Cope With Teenage Mood Swings
Lessons [to be] Learned When Your Teen Daughter Becomes Pregnant
I am willing to admit that some mistakes were made along the way. Yet in hindsight, I could see that lessons were also learned.
While this list is not exhaustive, here are some that I believe you will find beneficial.
- You cannot choose your child’s ‘battles’ or trials in life
As parents part of our responsibility of course, is to protect and to provide the kind of environment for our children that are safe and free from harm.
What I realized however, is that I could not be every place my daughter went to, and the power to choose her trials, burdens, and experiences in life did not [do not] rest with me, but a higher power than myself.
Children will learn many things, but the lessons will come by their own experiences as they journey through life.
- Educate your teen from early about practicing safe sex
This is not to suggest in any way that it is ‘cool’ for your teenager to have sex outside a marital bond.
Rather, it is to empower the child with knowledge and the tools while you show the consequences of what could happen if safe sex is not practiced.
- Never compare your child with another
Even when there are identical twins, no two persons are ever truly alike. Our elders would also tell us – ‘different strokes for different folks.’
Additionally, while another child may not have gotten pregnant as a teen while being sexually active, that is by no means an indication that your child will not become pregnant as a teen.
- Avoid being judgmental and dealing harshly with your child
Emotions are running high at that time. However, recognize that you are not the only one traumatized, ashamed, confused, guilty, and fearful of what the future will bring in that regard.
It is also not the time to give your daughter a scolding or a lecture.
- Quickly move from denial to the point of acceptance
While it took me three days as one would say to ‘get over it, it’s already happened!’ You should move quickly from the denial stage to the acceptance stage.
Here’s the fact – denying it won’t make your daughter’s condition any better. It is the time to step-up and give her the support that she needs.
She is already in a vulnerable state and most likely ashamed. So, give her the reassurance and help her to feel your love, and to recognize you are indeed concerned.
- Give your child some ‘space’
Give your daughter space – while not too much space, because she needs some time alone to deal with her own emotions.
Meanwhile, do all that you can to build/re-build an environment of trust so that she can feel comfortable enough to express her innermost thoughts and feelings.
- Do your best to listen, be objective, and be respectful of her feelings
Regardless of the circumstances, it’s a good idea to give your daughter your undivided attention, to give her your listening ears, and to be respectful of her feelings.
There are basically three options at this time for your pregnant daughter – abortion, placing the baby up for adoption, or keeping and raising the baby.
You may have a lot of questions that need to be answered as well, but don’t pressure your child into talking or making a choice one way or the other.
- Quit getting into the blame game
Everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for their actions but never blame yourself or any one particular individual.
Give yourself room to get over the shame and embarrassment, and realize that life was meant to be the way it turned out.
Your daughter did not get pregnant by herself.
So here is a good opportunity to be that vessel through which, both she and the baby’s father can experience the grace of forgiveness and love.
SUGGESTED READ: Is Yours The Most Effective Parenting Style
Life Doesn’t End Because of Teen Pregnancy
Life carries on, and so did my daughter live on. Here is a little update on her –
Update on Susan
Susan gave birth to a healthy baby girl on September 23rd 2012.
She is about to complete her final semester in college and hopes to graduate in 2015 with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management.
On August 1 2014, she was employed as a Corporate Administrator. She and her baby’s father are still together and are working together to raise their daughter.
My Question to You About Teenage Pregnancy
Do you think that society deals harder with teenage girls who become pregnant than they do with the male who impregnated them?
Do you think that society, school or religious organizations are playing a big enough role in helping to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies?
Share Your Thoughts:
Have you or anyone that you know ever had a daughter who became pregnant as a teen? How did you cope? What lessons would you say were learned from that experience?
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
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