She’s pregnant. You’re shocked. Here are some guidelines to help you through this unexpected time of confusion and heartache.

“I’m pregnant”

When your daughter first breaks the news to you, you may feel:

• Shock
• Disappointment
• Despair
• Embarrassment

You may think:

“Her life will be shattered, our lives are ruined.”
“All of her (and our) hopes, dreams and plans are threatened!”

Perspective Check

It’s not good new, but it’s also not the end of the world. Remember to:

• Stay calm.
• Avoid assigning blame or condemning.
• Focus on the positive.
• Show grace and mercy.

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.

Step Up

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.”

Health First

Her health should be tops on your priority list. Be sure to:

• Find a compassionate and caring health care provider.
• Make sure she has proper nutritional care.
• See that she exercises appropriately.
• Be aware of hormonal changes affecting her emotional well being and adding stress to her body.
• Acknowledge her feelings of attachment (it’s a normal maternal feeling).

A Comfortable Environment

Create a nonthreatening 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.

Here are Other Ways to Help Your Pregnant Teen:

Family Matters

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.

Decisions, Decisions….

Your daughter faces many options. Be her guide as she considers:

Adoption

• How much do you and she actually know about how adoption works today?
• Would this option free her to continue the life she’d planned for herself?
• Have you considered the statistics which dramatically demonstrate the importance of a father in a child’s life?
• Help her weigh the pros and cons

See more on adoption at the bottom of this page.

Parenting the child

• Will she move out and raise the child on her own?
• What are the financial implications?
• What role are you willing to take in the child’s upbringing?
• Will she depend on you to help her raise the baby? Explain that, as the mother, she is the parent.
• Sort through your own feelings and only offer that which you feel comfortable.

Marriage

• Is your daughter in love or simply trying to remedy the situation?
• Are they mature enough to bear the responsibilities of marriage and be effective parents?
• What are the long-term implications? Another mistake — divorce?
• Objectively and lovingly share your concerns. Then give her freedom to make the decision.

Abortion

• Refuse to worry about your family’s reputation. It does not matter what other people may think when they see her pregnant.
• How much do you and she actually know about abortion and the risks she would be taking?
• If she’s a Christian and believes that life begins at conception the choice of Abortion could harm her emotionally and spiritually.
• Serve as a steady, rational voice when your daughter is tempted to overlook her beliefs.

You need support too!

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:

Care Net Pregnancy Medical Center (we have a wealth of information).
• Church (pastor, 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.

Higher Ground

The emotional and 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.

What you’re going through is not easy. There are no simple answers to direct you on this unexpected journey. Though this site provides some guidance to help you, you may need more insight and support. Don’t hesitate to ask Care Net for more material.

Recommended: “Help for Hurting Parents: Dealing With the Pain of Teen Pregnancy” by Luther McIntyre.

Adoption

Considering adoption as one of your options around this unexpected pregnancy?

Adoption may or may not be for you. It may feel overwhelming. We understand. The good news is you are not alone and there are so many great resources available to you in making a decision that is right for you and the tiny human growing inside you.

The first step in this or any decision around your pregnancy is to gather good information.

Adoption provides an opportunity to continue pursuing the life goals and dreams you have while allowing the 9-month pregnancy process to complete in your body. It is an opportunity to move forward with your life while also seeing your child live out their potential in the family you chose for them.

You may have been told that adoption is a selfish choice. That could not be further from the truth. It is an amazing and brave alternative to an abortion or parenting when you aren’t ready.

The most empowering part is that you are in control.

  • You get to decide the plan
  • You will be able to focus on your needs and determine the type of adoption and family you are most comfortable with
  • You can choose an advocate to support you
  • It can provide you peace of mind
  • It is completely free for you

Did you know that talking to an adoption agency does not commit you to that decision? These types of visits are free and available to you even if you think you couldn’t possibly consider an adoption. It is simply a chance to gather more information.

When you are considering an adoption, you review which adoption plan is right for you! Some choose to have an open adoption where they can stay connected in an organized way. Others choose to have a closed adoption where all information on both sides is completely confidential. Others may choose a mixture of both called a semi-open adoption.

What is the difference between open, semi-open, and closed adoptions?

The amount of information, confidentiality, and access between the birth mother, child, and adoptive parents that is shared before, during, and after the adoption.

What is an open adoption?

An open adoption is one in which you would have the most information about your child. This is a very open relationship during the pregnancy and following the birth. You will be able to determine how much information or communication you may want with your child following adoption. They may send you pictures, letters, or even have special visits. This type of communication and determination happens during the adoption planning process. It is important to clarify because this is different than co-parenting. This is more about the type of information you would have access to and visits you might be able to expect once the adoption process is complete. In an open adoption the child will have the missing pieces of information provided for them and you will have the ability to watch from a close distance as your child grows and reaches their full potential.

What is a closed adoption?

If you would like to remain anonymous and have extreme confidentiality, then a closed adoption may be the perfect solution for you. In a closed adoption the exchange of information is extremely private. For limited reasons if at all there is no further communication between the birth mother and the child or family once the adoption is complete. Some of the reasons for choosing a closed adoption are the ability to bring closure to this pregnancy, provide safety for the child if there is a toxic biological partner, and increase the privacy. This will limit the risks of future impact or involvement from the pregnancy and to all parties involved.

What is a semi open adoption?

This is a blend of an open and closed adoption. This is the most common type of adoption plan made. The exchange of information post adoption is done through a third-party agency or attorney. This creates a more formal style of on-going involvement and can provide space for the times at which a birth parent may want less information or involvement with their child. A semi-open adoption can become an open adoption should both parties be open to the arrangement. All of this and more should be discussed in making your adoption plan.

How do I know which type of adoption is right for me?

Ask questions. Gather information. Talk with a trusted advisor and friend. Usually, the right option is the one that gives you peace.

What is the legal process of adoption?

Adoption is the termination and reassignment of parental rights to a child. This is a process that is done in court to be considered legal. We recommend you consult with a professional for the proper next steps in your adoption decision. The waiting period and process is different in each state. Your local pregnancy center can recommend a few adoption agencies in your area or bring one of them into their facility to meet with you.

How does adoption affect my child?

The decision to place a child for adoption is a brave and loving decision. An open adoption typically provides the most peace of mind for those concerned about the adjustment and well-being of their child. Most adoption agencies will provide you many tips on how to ensure the adjustment goes well and can be a positive experience for everyone involved.

Is it irresponsible to make my child someone else’s responsibility?

Focusing on you and your health is responsible. Wanting the best for your child is responsible. You may realize the timing is not right for you, but it might be for someone else. Adoption is an extremely mature, selfless, responsible decision, and one you can be proud of.

What is an independent adoption?

An adoption with an attorney and not utilizing any kind of agency is an independent adoption.  The decision to have an independent adoption is not common but it is an option. The adopting couple will still have to do a home study with an agency to ensure the child being placed is going to a safe and prepared home. Most birth mothers find comfort in working with an agency to help them navigate their plan.

Should I use an agency when making an adoption plan?

You get to choose. Either way there are traditionally no costs to you at all. The pros in using an agency are the ability to have an advocate and some level of privacy as you screen through prospective families for your child. We recommend doing significant research as you decide to go independent or utilize an agency.

Can you refer me to an adoption agency?

We do not refer directly to abortion providers. We do provide information on adoption agencies. Our best advice is to start with a full FREE medical verification of your pregnancy. Once you can confirm the pregnancy and how far along you are, we can answer all your questions about adoption, abortion, and parenting.