Teen Pregnancy: How to Help Your child
Your teenage daughter told you she is pregnant. You might feel overwhelmed, disappointed, sad, angry, guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed. Know that she is likely going through the same turbulent emotional roller coaster ride. Teen pregnancy is a life-altering event, as is any pregnancy.
While you could steamroll ahead into a full-blown lecture, it likely will not help you deal with what is to come. The best thing you can do as a parent is offer support and discuss the options. In this article, we provide tips on how you can support teen pregnancy. We will also touch upon the options for teen moms and what each one entails.
Offering Your Support
In America, about 250,000 girls in their teens give birth every year. When it is your own daughter, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. Yet, the most important thing you can do is give your daughter the emotional support she very much needs. Here is how you can do this.
It took a lot of courage for your daughter to tell you she is pregnant. Listen to her. She’s going through a wide range of emotions as well. Make sure that she knows you are on her team.
Empathy will help you connect with your daughter. It will show that you understand. At the same time, ensure you validate your daughter’s feelings. It’s normal for her to feel many emotions about the pregnancy.
Support Her Decision
Ultimately, the choice regarding what to do is your daughter’s decision. Show your support and discuss the pros and cons of each option available. Further, take that extra step and consider suggesting counseling to help her work through this situation. A counselor may help her come to a decision she is comfortable with, especially when time is somewhat critical.
Teen Pregnancy Options
When your teen tells you that she is pregnant, you will want to begin discussing the options that are available. You will also want to confirm the pregnancy with a doctor. Once it is confirmed, options include keeping the baby, abortion and adoption. We’ll explore each one in more detail below.
Keeping the Baby
If your daughter decides to keep the baby, seeing a doctor regularly throughout her pregnancy is of the utmost importance. They can ensure that mother and baby are healthy and on track. You’ll also want to discuss the cost and how you and your daughter are going to pay for the appointments, check-ups and the expenses that come with having a baby.
As a parent, you will also probably know that your child will have to watch their diet and also avoid skipping meals, alcohol, smoking, weight-loss supplements and rigorous exercise.
Schooling and care for the child will also have to be considered. Some things you will have to consider is who will look after the baby during schooling and if you have the means to support a child. This includes proper housing and financial stability. It requires careful planning and implementation. Make sure you take this into account when making a decision.
Delayed puberty is when teens experience sexual maturity later than the typical age range. What are the signs of delayed puberty? Find out here.
Abortion as an option may depend on what state you live in and how far along your daughter is in her pregnancy. If it is a viable option, an abortion can take place at a licensed clinic or hospital. An initial assessment appointment will be required to ensure it is safe to do so.
An abortion can either be medical or surgical. A medical abortion occurs after taking a pill to end the pregnancy. This frequently involves taking one pill to halt the hormones that are causing the pregnancy to continue. During this time, your daughter can go about her normal activities. 24 to 48 hours later, your daughter would attend another appointment where another pill is given. This pill effectively terminates the pregnancy within four to six hours. Within the four to six-hours, bleeding will occur. Patients may have to stay in the clinic, or they may be allowed to go home during this time.
A surgical abortion is conducted via surgery. A local anesthetic is often used to numb the area. However, general anesthetic may also be used. The womb is either cleared via vacuum, suction aspiration or through dilation and evacuation.
Abortion Side Effects
After an abortion, side effects may include nausea or diarrhea, which are often caused by the medications. Stomach cramps and vaginal bleeding may also occur for a week or two after the fact.
If your daughter chooses to have an abortion, counselling afterwards may help her cope and deal with the range of emotions she may feel. This is important to ensure your daughter’s wellbeing and mental health.
Adoption is another option to consider. This allows for the baby to have a chance at life, as well as your daughter to have a chance at a normal life. It’s also a good option for those who do not believe in or agree with abortion.
If after some discussion, this seems like the best option, contact an adoption specialist. They will be able to help you through the process, as well as start it. You’ll also be able to begin going through family profiles and placing the baby in the right home. You’ll further be able to determine and discuss what type of adoption is best for your daughter. With an open adoption, the level of contact is determined and agreed upon by the adopting parents and the birth mother. It may range from receiving pictures or even visitations.
Be prepared for the feelings of grief and loss that may ensue afterward. Again, counselling is a good option throughout and following your teen’s pregnancy.
Helping Your Teen Through This Time
Let your daughter know that she is not alone. Support her through the process. Discuss the options together. Take the time to make an appropriate decision. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each, and then choose what is right for you, your daughter and the baby.