Unplanned pregnancy is stressful for everyone involved; here are some tips for helping you understand and cope with your daughter’s decision.
As a parent, we want our children to be happy. We want them to be more successful, reach for more dreams, make better choices, and seize more opportunities than we did. With the news of an unplanned pregnancy, we see the hopes and dreams we had for our children being in jeopardy, and inevitably it’s a crisis.
An unplanned pregnancy can be just as stressful for you, as it is for your child. Feeling angry, ashamed, or disappointed when you found out about the pregnancy are all normal reactions. We wonder where we went wrong as parents.
This might be the toughest decision your daughter has ever had to make. Whether she chooses to parent the child, place the child with an adoptive family, or terminate the pregnancy, you want to support her, as much as you can and help her make the best decision. Here are some tips to help you both move forward and make the best choice for the child:
- Put your anger aside. This isn’t the time to try and teach her a lesson using shame, anger, or condemnation. Most likely, she’s experiencing enough of that on the inside already, maybe more than she is letting on, especially if she is unmarried, in her teens, or the victim of a rape.
- Listen to your daughter. Showing her that you love her and are concerned for her will open up the lines of communication so she will feel safe enough to talk to you. Once you understand her situation, this allows you to guide her in making her decision.
- Accompany your daughter to a pregnancy resource center. There are practical concerns like unplanned pregnancy testing, counseling, and ultrasounds that will need to be addressed.
- If she is considering abortion, make sure she knows that this is not a ‘quick fix,’ and that the procedure carries the risk of emotional and physical consequences. If she is considering parenting, help her see what becoming a parent, and possibly a single parent, will look like—in terms of lifestyle, finances, and emotions. If she is considering adoption as a solution, help her get in touch with a reputable adoption professional who can explain to her what it will be like to place a child with an adoptive family.
- Try to schedule a meeting with you, your daughter, and the baby’s father and his parents, if possible, to discuss the options, and make a decision. In the case of adoption, it is important to make an effort to include the birth father to avoid a contested adoption, which may cause a lot of pain and difficulties for everyone involved.
Once your daughter has decided, try to give her your full support. This is a tough road to travel, no matter which avenue she chooses, and your response to her now, when she needs you the most, will impact your relationship with her for the rest of your lives.