Pregnancy

"My Daughter is Pregnant/My Son Got His Partner Pregnant"

 

Are My Feelings Normal?

Finding out that your daughter is pregnant or that your son got his partner pregnant can be an extremely upsetting experience. You probably are experiencing a mix of emotions, including hurt, disappointment, worry, and anger. You may even feel guilty thinking that you somehow failed as a parent. Once the news settles in, you may also be mourning the life that you had planned for your daughter or son, knowing that her or his life will become very complicated and more difficult that you had ever imagined. These feelings are completely normal and parents in similar situations face the same feelings.

 

Am I so worried. What should I do?

While your feelings are normal and expected, it is important for you to try to find a way to get through these feelings and set them aside, as much as possible, to support your daughter or son. As difficult as it may be for you, they need you now more than ever. As tempting as it might be to turn your back or to let them “lie” in the proverbial bed they made, as a parent you must try to remain the loving and supportive parent. Your youth is probably terrified and feeling alone in this situation; he or she likely has so many things racing in their head, from worries about letting you down, to what will their friends think, to how this will change their lives and future forever. Imagine having this burden placed on you at a young age—if you place yourself in their shoes just for a moment, you can imagine how frightened you would be.

 

It is okay to talk to your youth about how you are feeling. It is okay to talk about your anger or disappointment because these are honest feelings. However, it is equally important to let your daughter or son know that despite your feelings, you will be there to support them through it. This is not a good time to use the “tough love” philosophy. Why? Because there is a new little life at stake, and the well being of your child as well. As you know, pregnancy and preparing for parenthood can be challenging to even the most prepared couple. Therefore, your daughter or son is going to need all the help and support that they can get from you.

 

Now What?

Remember that supporting your daughter or son does not mean rescuing them from their responsibilities. Surely they were educated about sex and the potential repercussions of having it; pregnancy is unfortunately one of them when youth are careless or ill-prepared. What you can do now is point your youth in the direction of appropriate community services so that they have all the options and information available to them. Try not to dictate for them what they should do; tell them you will be there to help along the way, but now it is time for them to make responsible decisions about next steps.

 

Here are some steps to take when your youth or his partner is pregnant:

1.) Have the pregnant youth talk to a doctor or nurse about her options. He or she will advise her about proper health care and nutrition for pregnancy and who she can talk to about next steps; this may include a referral to a gynecologist for ongoing pregnancy care.

2.) Talk to your daughter or son and offer advice and support. It is hard to be pregnant but even harder to be pregnant and feel alone.  Just being a supportive presence can help your daughter or son come up with a plan of what to do next.

3.) Make sure that both parties and families are aware of the situation and are willing to do their part to support. If you daughter has not yet told her partner about the pregnancy, encourage her to do so. Once this has occurred, offer to call a meeting between your youth and families to discuss next steps. As much as emotion may be getting in the way, communication is key. Nothing is accomplished through anger or blame, nor will it change the situation, so try not to let this get in the way.

4.) As hard as it is to do, try to reserve judgment from a religious or cultural point of view. Although in your faith, culture, generation or community, sex and pregnancy may be considered a sinful or shameful thing, adding this guilt on top of what your youth is already feeling will not be helpful and again, will not change anything. Remember that youth are sometimes reckless and do impulsive things thinking that they are somehow invincible. Unfortunately it sometimes requires them experiencing life-altering consequences before they realize that all of your teachings and cautions were for their own well-being. Also remember that most faiths teach that forgiveness is an important virtue, so if faith is important to you then try to keep this in mind.

5.) Help connect your youth to services in your community (provided by your doctor, Peel Health, Vita Centre) that can help you get the information they need and develop a plan for the pregnancy.

6.) If you are having trouble coming to terms with your daughter or son’s partner being pregnant,  consider talking to a counselor about your feelings. You can ask to speak with the school social worker, go through your Employee Assistance Program at work, or ask your doctor for a referral. Getting through your own feelings is not easy and it is okay to ask for help if you need it.  

 

Tips for Wellness

As mentioned earlier, do not blame yourself for failing as a parent. While every parent makes mistakes, you raised your youth with the values and beliefs that are important to your family and he or she still holds those values, even though your daughter or son may have made choices that seemed to conflict with them. Just as you have made mistakes, your youth has made them as well, and unfortunately, this is a very big one. Try to remember, though, that this is a learning experience for her or him and will teach them about what it means to be a responsible adult, no matter what they decide to do. Try to lead by example and rather than punishing your youth for their mistakes, help them learn from them and move forward in a healthy direction.

 

 

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