Is your teenage daughter pregnant? If so, there is likely a range of emotions running through your mind. You may be angry, and understandably so, especially if you have continually warned your daughter to protect herself and avoid certain friends, and she has ignored your advice.
Maybe you feel you are partly to blame for your daughter’s actions, and/or you’re worried about the financial implications of her decisions. You could be wondering how your daughter will finish high school, let alone graduate from college or university, and/or you could be worried about what friends and relatives may think when they find out your teen daughter is expecting a baby.
While you likely have many legitimate concerns, it’s important to put these aside for the time being to focus on helping your teen daughter. Pregnancy brings with it a range of emotions and challenging physical symptoms, and your daughter needs all the physical and emotional support you can offer to get through this challenging time.
Following are some practical tips on how to support your pregnant teenage daughter before and after birth.
Finding Information With Her
Your teen daughter needs to know what to expect during her pregnancy and childbirth. Instead of leaving her to fend for herself, take time together to look through a week-by-week breakdown explaining what is happening inside her and what she can expect at each stage of her pregnancy. If she is experiencing pregnancy symptoms such as nausea or fatigue, help her find ways to deal with these symptoms.
It’s important to also help your teen daughter find a good doctor to perform regular checkups. A doctor can tell your daughter when the baby is due, provide a full check-up, help your daughter understand what to expect during and after her pregnancy, and more. Doctors can also catch problems early on to prevent what could become serious complications.
If your daughter is considering abortion, make sure she understands what it entails. There is a popular misconception that abortion is quick, easy, and safe, but nothing could be further from the truth. Potential physical risks resulting from the procedure include perforation to the uterus,, bleeding, nausea, and the possibility of an incomplete abortion.
A young mother who feels that she cannot care for her new child may want to consider finding loving adoptive parents for the new little one. Help your daughter learn what forming an adoption plan entails; if she decides to go this route, work with her to find an adoption agency that she feels comfortable working with.
Your daughter will need financial assistance during her pregnancy and immediately after the baby is born. Don’t add financial concerns to her long list of worries; instead, sit with her to create a smart financial plan to ensure her and her baby’s needs are fully met.
You don’t have to meet all your daughter’s financial needs on your own. Teach her to budget her income, so she can become financially independent as soon as possible.
Help her learn how to find discounted or even free baby items from local charities, garage sales, and thrift stores. There are also various forms of government assistance she can use to provide for herself and her baby, including WIC, SNAP, CHIP, and Medicaid.
Help her sign up for forms of aid that she is eligible for, so she can focus on caring for herself and her new little one without going into debt.
Unconditional Love and Support
The most important thing you can offer your daughter during this time is your unconditional love and support. Rather than lecture her about past mistakes, point out her good points and encourage her to use her talents to build a successful life for herself and her child.
Offer a listening ear and a warm hug if your daughter needs to share her concerns and worries or even vent her anger for a bit. Pregnancy hormones can exacerbate existing feelings of anger and anxiety, so don’t take it personally if she gets upset at you from time to time.
Let your daughter know that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good parent. She (and you) will never get everything right, but the prerequisites for being a good parent have nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with love, respect, and a willingness to learn from one’s mistakes and try again.
Give your daughter grace during and after her pregnancy, telling her regularly that you will always love her no matter what she does or doesn’t do. Your encouragement will spur her to make the right decisions for herself and her child.
Space Can Demonstrate Love
Another aspect of love and support is giving your daughter space. She may need time alone to process her feelings and think about her future. If she wants to keep her distance for a bit, respect her wishes.
She will likely need to make some hard decisions about her future; your advice and help are invaluable to the process but in the end, she needs to make the final decision and the process can be both difficult and time-consuming.
Bear in mind that showing unconditional love and support does not mean throwing boundaries and rules to the wind. You are still the parent, and you may need to set down guidelines if your daughter is not making healthy decisions.
Limiting contact with negative influences in her life, setting a curfew, mandating continued class attendance if she is healthy enough to study, and other needed guidelines will help your daughter long-term.
You and your daughter don’t have to go through this difficult time on your own. Caring Network offers free emotional support, community resources, and other forms of assistance to help both you and your teen daughter receive the care and support needed during this challenging time.
Get in touch with us at your convenience to find out how we can help your daughter throughout your pregnancy, during childbirth, and immediately after the baby is born.