It is not easy being a teenager and realizing that you are pregnant. As angry as you might feel towards your daughter for not preserving family values as you may call it, she might also be experiencing anxiety, guilt, apprehension of what lies ahead. Instead of driving the guilt deeper and conveying how ashamed you are of her, try letting her know that you are always there for her. Like every other pregnancy, this needs care and parents should make the best efforts to help the teenager face and accept the situation as it is. More than exposure to vulgarity and such, one of the biggest reasons of rising teenage pregnancies is the absence of proper sex education1 in schools and families. Ignorance invites curiosity and that in turn leads children to be tempted to try new things. Try being a better parent to start with and let your child know the reasons and consequences of sex.
If your daughter comes into your room to tell you that she thinks she is pregnant, consider the following points to cope with a teenage pregnancy:
Speak To Her
After the pregnancy has been confirmed by home tests and urine test, speak to her about the options that she has. You might be outraged by the fact that she does not want to abort the baby and intends to continue with the pregnancy but you will need to understand her emotional connection. You can tell her how she can keep the baby with her if she wants to, give it up for adoption if she feels she is not ready and also terminate the pregnancy if she feels unsure about the future of the baby with her. Whatever her choice might be, keep assuring her that her parents are always with her.
If your teenager is ridden with guilt, anxious because her partner is not ready to commit himself to the relationship, shows any sign of depression or has suicidal tendencies, you must consult a counselor immediately. He/she will speak to your daughter, offer her options, let her choose; reassure how she is not alone in this and how she probably deserves better. Counselling will also help her to see her future beyond birth and infancy. She will be referred to places where teenage mothers are encouraged to complete their education and make their livelihood. They will also offer parenting classes if the need arises and help your daughter prepare mentally, physically and financially for parenthood.
Teenagers are hardly aware of the basics of pregnancy, leave alone prenatal. If your daughter chooses to keep the baby, you will need to encourage her to take care of herself and the baby. Encouraging her to stay active, eat well, gain adequate weight, stay off drinking and smoking, adopt a healthier lifestyle, is important to a healthy pregnancy. Teenage pregnancies have higher chances of developing Gestational Hypertension and Gestational Diabetes. Guide her in managing ways to keep the symptoms under control.
Love and support from parents will help overcome the hurdles of a teenage pregnancy, and regardless of your daughter’s choice, always assure her of your continued support.