Teen pregnancy can be a confusing and uncertain time for you. Telling your parents can seem like an even more significant challenge than the pregnancy itself.
However, there are ways you can prepare to tell your parents. This includes open communication and preparing yourself for any response.
What to Do If You’re Pregnant
A positive pregnancy test can bring a lot of different feelings. Your feelings could include being excited about having a child, worried about telling your parents, and anxious about childbirth and pregnancy.
You may also be scared if you're not sure you want to be pregnant. It's okay to take all your options into account and talk to a trusted person before making any decisions. Talking to your family or a trusted friend can be beneficial when planning the next steps.
What to Know About Teen Pregnancy
Finding out you're pregnant can be pretty intimidating. You'll have to start thinking about many important decisions. Finding a trusted source to talk through all these decisions will help you decide how to plan your pregnancy.
Family planning clinics or healthcare providers can provide vital information about pregnancy. They can also ensure that you're healthy and help you to move forward with a plan. By talking with a trusted person, you can start to prepare for how you're going to tell your parents as well.
Teen Pregnancy Symptoms
Sex without contraception can lead to pregnancy, even if it's your first time. Emergency contraception can be taken, though, if you've had unprotected sex in the last five days or are worried about pregnancy.
Keep in mind that pregnancy symptoms vary, and some women may not notice them or link them to pregnancy. Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy include:
- Missed period
- Morning sickness
- Sore breasts
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Food cravings or food-related nausea
- Increased sense of smell
- Spotting or light bleeding
There are many signs and symptoms of pregnancy, but a pregnancy test can be one of the first indicators that you could be pregnant.
Telling Your Parents You’re Pregnant
Before talking to your parents, think about what you want to say to them. It can be helpful to write down what you're feeling and thinking. Then, you can refer to what you have written when you have the conversation.
Telling your parents you're pregnant can be one of the most challenging parts of teen pregnancy. There are some things you should take into consideration before talking to your parents:
- They may be completely surprised and not react excitedly. Try to avoid getting defensive or escalating an argument.
- Your parents will likely want to know everything, starting with who the father is. If you have a relationship with your baby's father, ask him how he feels about this responsibility. Then, you'll have more answers for your parents.
- Show your parents that you have a plan and take responsibility for the pregnancy. These plans don't have to be permanent, but they help your parents see you're responsible for your actions.
- Remember, how you proceed with your pregnancy is your choice. Despite what your parents may say or insist on, it's your body.
- Prepare to listen in case your parents bring up things you have not thought about.
When telling your parents you're pregnant, you'll be getting their first reaction. They haven't had time to process the news. It's possible they could be caught off-guard and feel:
Try to avoid arguments or hurtful words. They will need time to think through what they feel and think.
Remaining calm through the conversation is one of the best restraints you can use when talking to your parents, especially if their initial reaction wasn’t what you hoped or expected. If necessary, don’t be afraid to take a short break or continue the conversation after everyone’s had the chance to process things.
Pregnancy Options for a Pregnant Teen
Regardless of what your parents, friends, or baby's father says, you have options, including:
Parenting. While you may still be in high school or not have a job yet, you can still be a parent. Parenting during this stage of your life can be challenging but also rewarding. There are many programs available now to set up teen moms for success.
You'll need to talk to your baby's father and your family about your decision to raise your child. Ask them if they'll be involved in helping or if you'll need to seek child support from your baby's father. Ask your parents if you'll need to find a new home or if they'll help you raise your child in their home. This can be difficult to talk through, but it will help set you and your child up for success.
Adoption. If you don't believe you can give a child the life you want for them, you can consider adoption. Even people in long-term relationships or who are at a more advanced stage in their life will sometimes adopt. Finding the right adoption agency or adopting family can help cover the medical costs of your pregnancy and ensure that your child goes to a good home.
Abortion. Depending on your location and how many weeks along you are, abortion is an option. Your options will vary from state to state. If you're a minor, your parents may need to sign off on the procedure.
Getting Help as a Pregnant Teen
Having a baby as a teenager doesn’t mean you have to give up your hopes and aspirations for the future. A strong support group can help you stay in school, get your degree, and focus on you and your baby’s future.
You can check with your school or community programs for services for teen mothers. These could include:
Other ways to help yourself and your child include:
- Finishing school
- Finding a job
- Living with your parents while your child is young
- Obtaining financial support
- Joining support groups for parents
- Getting counseling
Before bringing a child home, you should talk to your doctor or community nurse about ways to create a good environment for your home. They'll also give you tips on the right nutrition, health, and emotional development for your baby.