Discovering you are pregnant at a young age can be overwhelming. You want all of the help and support you can get, but may not know where to start or who to talk to first. You may feel like you want to tell your mom or dad about this pregnancy, but are afraid of their reaction. On the other hand, you may not want to tell your parents you are pregnant, but know that you will probably have to at one point or another.
No matter how close you are with your parents, the pregnancy conversation can be intimidating. You do not know how they will react, if they will be supportive of your pregnancy, or what they will advise you to do next. Even though it feels scary right now, talking to your parents can actually be very helpful. Chances are, they love you and want to help. By knowing about your pregnancy, your parents can:
- Talk to you more about your options and offer guidance
- Ensure you get the health and prenatal care you need
- Help you sort through any feelings, decisions, or challenges that arise during your pregnancy
- Help you talk to others (teachers, friends, family members) about your pregnancy
- Give you the unconditional love and support you deserve
If you feel safe telling your parents you are pregnant, we encourage you to do so. At Adoptions With Love, we understand that this conversation is not always easy. It can be hard to find the words to say and the best time to say them. While there is no right or wrong way of telling your parents you are pregnant, there are steps you can take to make a productive, open, and honest conversation. We are here to help you through it.
- Prepare for any reaction
Every situation is different, and there are many factors that can play into your parents’ reaction. If your parents did not know you were having sex, for example, they may be particularly shocked by the news. If your parents do not allow you to date or hold certain beliefs about sex, they may be disappointed. Their feelings about your partner (the father of your baby) and your age may also have an impact on their reaction to your pregnancy.
The best thing you can do now is to prepare for any and every possible reaction. While many parents are understanding, there is always the possibility yours will react poorly, yell, or cry. Try not to take any hurtful words personally. Your parents have not had time to process the news, and may not know how to feel in the moment.
- Do your research and think about your options beforehand
Before approaching the conversation, try to gather as much information about unplanned pregnancy as you can: learn about your many unplanned pregnancy options, the effects of each, and what next steps you should take. Doing so will show your parents that you are handling this like an adult, and they will feel more inclined to treat you as such. This can help encourage a productive conversation and help you avoid a negative response.
You may also want to have a purpose or goal in mind for this conversation. Do you think you want to continue your pregnancy? Are you going to your parents for help with how to do so? Or, do you need their help making a decision? Knowing what you need from your parents can help you steer the conversation.
- Talk with an experienced professional
After discovering you are pregnant, you will need to visit your doctor or a health clinic as soon as possible. In doing this, you should also consider talking to someone who is an expert in an unplanned pregnancy (a counselor, doctor, nurse, or adoption agency). Any of these professionals can help you understand your options and offer more information regarding an unplanned pregnancy. They can also help you think through how to reveal the news. An Adoptions With Love social worker can even be in the room with you while you tell your parents, if you wish.
- Choose the right time and place
It is important to find a good day, time, and place to deliver this news. Pick somewhere that is free of distractions, at a time when your parents are not stressed or rushing out the door. Your parents will need plenty of time to process their feelings and the news, and you should devote enough time to this conversation.
It may help to ask your parents, “When is a good time to talk?” But make sure you consider your own feelings, too. Choose a time that you are not overly exhausted from school, stressed about an upcoming exam, or rushing off to be somewhere yourself.
- Find the words and keep calm
Throughout the conversation, try to be as open and honest as possible with your parents. Calmly remind them that you trust them and that you truly need their help. If you can, tell them how far along you think you are, who you think the father may be, and who you have told so far. In doing this, you will establish trust and a calm, open environment. Your parents may respond without getting mad. If your parents do get upset, they may just need a bit of time to calm down.
Frame your words so that your parents have some time to absorb the news. Try to be direct and stay strong in how you tell them. You may start by saying, “I have something difficult to tell you. I just found out I am pregnant,” then wait calmly for their reaction and be prepared for it. Sometimes, it helps to think ahead about what they might do or say so that you can act appropriately.
- Tell them how you are feeling
Telling your parents your feelings can help them better understand the situation. If you know they are disappointed, tell them: “I am really sorry, I know I disappointed you.” If you are scared and unsure what to do next, do not hesitate to say that out loud, too. Putting your feelings into words is not an easy thing to do. They may not come out perfectly or as you had planned, but they will be honest and true. Your parents will see that, and will likely empathize with you.
- Listen to their opinions and advice, but remember, this is your choice
Your parents will likely have many complicated feelings and opinions about your pregnancy. At first, they may only focus on the negative ones. This does not mean they do not love you, it just means that they need to let this information settle in. Try to put yourself in their shoes and listen closely to what they have to say. Answer their questions the best that you can. If they are quiet, ask them how they feel.
There is a chance your parents may try to pressure you into something you do not want to do; they may want to discuss abortion with you. They might feel that raising your baby is the only choice. They may not know very much about adoption. In the end, remember that it is your body and your choice. As an expectant mother, only you know what is right for you and your baby.
Though you may not believe it right now, difficult situations often bring people closer together. At Adoptions With Love, we have seen unexpected pregnancies strengthen bonds and love between families. We know you can do this. If you need any more help or advice on how to tell your parents you are pregnant, please call us today at 1-800-722-7731 or download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy below.