Hearing that your sweet and angelic daughter is pregnant can take the wind out of your sails. Your first reaction will probably be anger, a very righteous one, at her, the baby’s father, and just about everyone else. You’ll probably be yelling quite a bit, and repeatedly point out how irresponsible and careless she was. Next, the self-recrimination. You’ll likely start questioning you and your spouse’s parenting skills, the freedom that both of you gave your daughter, the late curfews, and a million other things that doesn’t matter now.
However, before you wallow yourself completely in self-pity, spare a thought for your daughter. Right now, your little girl is absolutely terrified and scared of her future. She’s also probably frightened that you’ll disown her, or even chase her out of the house.
What’s done is done. Now, you have to be a parent and take control of the situation to ensure the safety of your daughter and grandchild, and make sure that they will be taken care of. So how should you go about navigating through this treacherous period?
Tell her how disappointed you are at her carelessness - exactly ONCE. You need to point out her mistake, but you don’t need to repeat it a dozen times daily for the next nine months to an emotionally fragile girl and run the risk of driving her away.
Tell your daughter that you love her, and she will not be alone during this trying time.
Ask her for broad details about the pregnancy. Establish that it was consensual sex, i.e., she wasn’t raped, blackmailed or coerced.
Get the details about the father. If he is also a teen (especially a minor), get in touch with his parents. They might want to be involved in any decision. If your daughter is a minor, and the father is an adult, you may have a hard choice to make.
Take your daughter to see to the nearest NHS or Brook’s sexual health services to confirm her pregnancy as well as starting on prenatal care.
Arrange for your daughter to speak to counsellor, either in person or via telephone. She may have questions that she might not be comfortable asking you.
Educate yourself about the choices that your daughter will have to make (raising the child, adoption or abortion). Then, explain the choices to her. Give her time, and reaffirm your complete support to her. Allow her to make the final decision for her baby.
Negotiate financial support with the father or his family. If necessary, seek government assistance. We have outlined available financial aids in the “Help for pregnant teenagers and young parents” section.
Be patient. Be supportive. Be forgiving. And above all, be a parent.
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