Exploring Options for an Unwed Pregnant Teen

Can you help me advise my unwed pregnant daughter? She's too young to care for a baby. Her whole life is ahead of her, and I feel strongly that we should do everything in our power to help her salvage her hopes and dreams for the future. Should she put the baby up for adoption, parent the child herself, or have an abortion?

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The first thing we would say to your daughter is that she needs to think carefully about the value of the precious life she’s carrying in her womb. This is the key consideration in making the right choices for herself and her baby.

As a Christian ministry committed to biblical teaching, we’re convinced that life begins at conception and that every human child – as an individual created in God’s image – deserves to be protected and cherished and given an opportunity to thrive. From our perspective, abortion is never an option (except in those rare instances in which the life of the mother is somehow at serious risk).

Since abortion is out of the question, your daughter has three choices.

Option one: She can marry the father of her baby. In this case, the two of them would assume responsibility for raising their child together. In some ways this plan would appear to offer the ideal solution – at least from the baby’s point of view. But several questions come into play:

  • Are the young people in love?
  • Do they have the kind of relationship that makes marriage a workable possibility?
  • Are they old enough and mature enough to take on the responsibilities of marriage and to be effective parents?
  • What would be the long-term implications of their marriage: a safe and healthy household or another divorce statistic?

Option two: She can parent the child on her own. But this raises another set of equally important questions:

  • Is she able to provide for herself and her child on her own? We’re assuming that she probably isn’t. For the time being, she’ll have to remain dependent upon you (or somebody else) for her physical and financial support.
  • Is she a student? Does she need time to keep up on her studies?
  • Will she expect you to play a major role in helping her raise the baby while she pursues her educational and career goals?

Option three: She can make an adoption plan for her baby. We obviously aren’t in a position to tell your daughter what to do, but we can’t help feeling that this may be the best thing for a girl in her position.

If you and your daughter agree that she is unable or lacks the maturity to care for the baby herself, there are thousands of loving couples who are unable to have children of their own that would love to adopt her child.

Would you let us discuss the possibility of adoption with you and your daughter? And our Counseling department maintains a list of residential accommodations for pregnant teens and can provide further personal assistance. Call us for a free over-the-phone consultation with one of our licensed Christian counselors.

Above all, love.

As you work your way through these difficult decisions, remember that your daughter desperately needs your love, support, and encouragement. Let her know that you care about her and her baby. Tell her that you’re ready, willing, and available to walk alongside her and help her weigh and balance her options.

At the same time, remember that support, guidance, and availability are not the same thing as control. In other words, there’s an important sense in which you can’t “parent” a pregnant teen. Your daughter has taken a step into a new and larger world, and she has to learn to live with the consequences.

You can encourage her to do what’s right and comfort her as she confronts the harsh realities of her situation. But you can’t make her decisions for her. Whatever she decides, she has to realize that your relationship is shifting from “parent-child” to “adult-adult.”

For further guidance, we recommend Margie and Greg Lewis’ book The Hurting Parent: Help and Hope for Parents of Prodigals. Additional resources and referrals to local teen pregnancy centers can be found through OptionLine’s website.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

The Dignity and Sanctity of Every Human Life

I’m Pregnant. Now What?

The Hurting Parent: Help and Hope for Parents of Prodigals

Sarah’s Choice

Pro-Life Advocacy & Encouragement (resource list)


American Pregnancy Helpline

Bethany Christian Services

Your Teenager Is Pregnant

Your Daughter’s Experience

Adapted from the booklet How to Really Love Your Pregnant Teen.Copyright © 2001 Focus on the Family.

Talk to a Counselor

Focus on the Family offers a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective.
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