She's pregnant. You're shocked.
Here are some guidelines to help you through this unexpected time of confusion and heartache.
When your daughter first breaks the news to you, you may feel shock, disappointment, despair, embarrassment. You may think, "Her life is shattered. Our lives are ruined. All of her (and our!) hopes, dreams and plans are threatened."
It's not good news. It's also not the end of the world. Remember to:
- Stay calm.
- Avoid assigning blame or condemning.
- Focus on the positive. (She could have chosen abortion.)
- Show grace and mercy as Jesus would (even when it's toughest!)
Step into her shoes
- Understand her fears. She is probably overwhelmed:
- Feeling like she has lost your love and confidence.
- Feeling alone and needing a support group.
- Wondering what her options are.
- Facing a future she hadn't planned.
- Be an asset to your daughter by:
- Reassuring her of your unconditional love and concern.
- Affirming your confidence in her.
- Trusting God whole-heartedly.
Simply say it
She can't read your mind. You need to speak the words:
- "I still love you. No matter what."
- "I'm here for you and will help you in whatever way I can."
- "You do have options." (marriage, adoption, single-parenting, evening college courses, etc.)
- "Some people will look down on you. Many more will extend their compassion."
- "You are ultimately accountable to God, not other people."
- "You have a whole lifetime ahead of you. This one mistake doesn't need to destroy your bright future."
A comfortable environment
Create a non-threatening atmosphere by:
- Being willing to listen as she talks about her feelings.
- Giving advice only when asked.
- Enabling her to make rational, thoughtful decisions.
- Respecting her privacy. (Allow her to ponder secret thoughts.)
- Respecting her feelings about the baby's father (whether the relationship continues or is terminated).
- Guiding the baby's father into responsible participation.
Lighten your daughter's burden by offering to tell close family members about her pregnancy. They need to know because:
- It gives family an opportunity to express their genuine concern.
- Siblings, because they are closer in age, may offer her unique sympathy.
- They may have suggestions you haven't thought of.
- You can unite as a family to be a support for her.
After sharing the news, remember:
- To respect one another's opinions.
- You are not obligated to act on every suggestion made by others.
- Family members may strongly disagree on some decisions.
- Ultimately, it's your daughter and the life inside of her who are affected by the decisions made by your family.
Don't deny it
You need support, too! You can best help your daughter when you are strengthened and healthy. Check out the people and places ready to help:
- Pregnancy resource centers (They have a wealth of information and can refer you to other parents who have "been there.")
- Church (pastors, Sunday school and Bible study groups)
- Youth leaders (They are in-tune with what teens are dealing with.)
- Other parents who have gone through similar experiences
- An existing parent support group (or be willing to start your own!)
- Other agencies in your area working with unmarried pregnant women
The spiritual lives of both you and your daughter have been catapulted into unknown territory. Regardless of spiritual maturity or how well you think you're handling things, don't ignore this critical part of each other's well-being. Take action by:
- Requesting that your pastor or other mature Christians help you and your daughter grow through this situation.
- Remembering that God is big enough to handle your doubts and questions.
- Resting in the fact that God's love is everlasting and unconditional.
- Realizing that sometimes God doesn't make sense, but pain can be necessary to pave the way for healthy growth.
- Receiving the help that others offer.