Posted on: 2 June 2016Share
Finding out that your teenage daughter is pregnant can be heartbreaking and emotional. But for all of the worry that you're suffering, it's likely your daughter is even more confused and distressed. Amidst all of this turmoil, she is expected to make the decision whether to keep her baby, have an abortion, or put the baby up for adoption. That's a tough decision for any woman to make, let alone a girl who has yet to graduate from high school. It's important to offer your daughter some guidance as she makes this decision so that she does not feel like she's not alone. However, you'll need to provide this guidance very cautiously and in a way that does not make your daughter feel like you're telling her what to do or trying to be controlling. Here are some tips to help achieve that balance.
Start by asking what she wants to do.
Before you offer your daughter any advice, ask what she is leaning towards doing. She might say "I have no idea" or "I need more time to think," but at least then you will know what stage she is at when it comes to making a decision. By asking what she wants to do, you are showing her that you are, in fact, trusting her to make the best decision for herself and for her baby.
If your daughter does express that she is leaning towards a certain option and you're fairly certain it's not truly the best option for her (for example, if she says she wants to keep the baby and you just cannot imagine that being financially feasible), don't react just yet. The burden of making this decision is still new to her, and she may very well change her mind as she continues to think about her situation and as you continue to offer her support.
Provide her with real, factual information about her options.
Teens are not always the best at distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources. She may hear something from a friend about abortion or adoption that's completely untrue, but she may believe it because a friend said it. You don't want your daughter making such an important decision based on myths or half-truths, so seek out reliable information from sources like your physician and local adoption agencies. Make sure you give her information about all three options: abortion, teen parenting, and adoption. This way, she won't feel like you are trying to sway her decision one way or the other.
Remind her that no matter what she chooses, she is not a bad person.
Pregnant teens are often overrun with feelings of guilt already. They may feel guilty for having sexual intercourse, for disappointing their parents, and for jeopardizing their futures. You don't want your guilt to prevent your daughter from making the right decision. A lot of teens avoid choosing adoption for their babies just because they don't want to feel any more guilt.
There's a stigma that a really caring mother would never give up her child, and there's a myth floating around that adoption is an irresponsible solution for an unplanned pregnancy. Let your daughter know that no matter what she chooses, she is not a bad person. Remind her that if she chooses adoption, doing so is putting her baby's needs above her own -- it's not selfish at all, and it's a responsible choice. That's not to say you should definitely encourage your daughter to choose adoption for her child, but you should let her know the truth about the option so she makes an informed decision, not a fear or guilt-based one.
The decision whether to keep, abort, or adopt is likely the biggest decision your teenage daughter has made up until this point. Follow the advice above, and remember to be supportive and caring throughout this process. If you need information about your daughter's options, look to reliable sources such as local adoption agencies like A Child's Dream to learn more.