Ten ways to support your teenage daughter when you find out she’s pregnant:
1. However shocked you are, give her a hug.
2. Tell her how much you love her and reassure her that you are going to be there for her - whatever happens.
3. Ask her how she feels...and listen to her answer. Do not try and project onto her what you are feeling, what you felt when you got pregnant at 16, or what you think she should be feeling.
4. Don’t tell her how you feel until you’ve had a chance to calm down and really think. This may help you avoid saying things you’ll later regret.
5. Ask how she knows she is pregnant (has she done a pregnancy test?); if she knows how pregnant she is (pregnancy is counted from the first day of a woman’s most recent period); and how long she has known.
6. Don’t make any assumptions about what she will choose to do about her pregnancy. Ask her what she thinks she might want to do (continue with the pregnancy and become a parent, or give the child up for adoption; or end the pregnancy).
7. Remember – it is important that she takes responsibility for the decision, owns it, and feels confident that she is making the right decision. Even if you think she is making the ‘wrong’ choice it is, ultimately, her choice. If she feels judged for her decision she will find it hard to come to you for support when she needs it later on. Tell her you’ll support her even if you don’t agree with her decision.
8. Tell her that you will be honest about what you think when you've had a chance to think about it but that you will help her identify other people she can talk to as well because it is often helpful to speak to someone outside the family who can be more objective.
9. Ask her about who she got pregnant with, the status of their relationship, whether he knows about the pregnancy, whether they are in contact and, if so, what support he is offering and what support she is hoping for.
10. Roll up your sleeves and prepare for some hard work. Your daughter needs you now more than ever.
This is only the beginning. In the days to follow there will be lots more to do to help your teenager with making a decision, or if she has made one, finding out more about what her choice entails.
Education For Choice (information about pregnancy decision-making and abortion)
Brook (young people's sexual health clinics and helpline)
fpa (information about abortion and local clinics)
Abortion providers bpas and MSI
British Association of Adoption and Fostering
NHS Choices (how to eat well and stay healthy during pregnancy)
National Childbirth Trust (lots of information on pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding)
Gingerbread (information for single parents about available support)
Prymface (a personal and informative take on teenage pregnancy)
Girl-Mom (a forum for young mums)
10 ways to support your son when his girlfriend is pregnant coming soon...