What you’re about to go through for the next 9 months plus is not going to be easy, but with good communication, you and your daughter will find a way to make things work. Listed below are some of the most common tension points that typically come between a parent and a pregnant teenager, as well as ideas on how to minimize the tension.
This seems to be one of the most common arguments among pregnant teenagers and their parents – who is paying for what? That is exactly why we suggest sorting it all out at the beginning of the pregnancy. Think about each aspect, write it out and come to an agreement, and sign it. That way, if a disagreement ever does come up, you can refer back to the “contract” and settle it then and there. Here are some topics you might want to cover in a discussion:
- Health insurance: If you (the parents) have her on your health insurance, does it cover pregnancy? Will you continue to pay for it? If not, does she need to apply for Medicaid for pregnancy? How will the child be insured? Who will pay the co-pays and other costs?
- Maternity clothing: Though you don’t need to specifically buy new maternity clothing, things like maternity shirts and jeans can be nice to have. Who will purchase them? (If money is tight, consider shopping at a thrift store.)
- Baby items (clothes, bottles, formula/breast pump, diapers/wipes, etc.): Many times you can get formula or a breast pump covered by Medicaid or WIC, but other baby items (especially diapers) will be a big expense that you’ll want to discuss. Of course, your daughter will likely get clothes and diapers as gifts, but what about when those run out? Who will buy these things?
- Childcare: Often a big area of contention (see section below). You’ll have to decide how the childcare is getting taken care of, whether it’s hired out or done by your daughter or family/friends, and from there decide how to pay for it. Will you fund childcare, or will you request that your daughter covers the cost?
- Baby Shower: Many women will have a baby shower, often set up by friends and family. If so, then you might not have to discuss payment, but if you are going to be involved, you will want to talk about how it’s getting paid for.
At your daughter’s appointment at ACPC Women’s Clinic, we will help her identify her unique needs and connect her with resources such as where to get health insurance coverage, how to find a good OBGYN, how to apply for Medicaid and WIC (Women Infants and Children), how to apply for childcare assistance and much, much more.
We have been serving women facing unplanned pregnancies since 1984, so there is no one more knowledgeable about the resources available in this area and how to get your daughter connected with them.
When your daughter participates in our group workshops and one on one mentorship at ACPC Life Services, she will not only grow as an individual and be prepared to succeed as a parent – she will also earn maternity clothes, baby supplies, diapers and more on a weekly basis. Our most dedicated participants also receive a baby shower as a reward for all of their hard work in preparing for parenthood.
If you are your daughter’s support person, you are welcome to come along to any of her appointments at ACPC.
If you are reading this and your son is the one who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, please note that all of the above is also available to him.
This is always a big area of contention. Some teen moms assume that her parents will be the main ones to babysit and that they’ll do it for free. Some look for daycare options. This is something you will want to talk over as early as possible.
If you do plan to help babysit, come up with your terms. For what reasons will you babysit (ex. work, school, etc)? For what reasons won’t you (a date, social events, school, etc)? Will you babysit for free or would you request payment?
It is also important to hear your daughter out about what her plans were. Perhaps she already has an idea in mind about how to go about childcare.
What will other people think?
Though this should be the least of your concerns, it certainly can be a big deal, especially if you live in a smaller town or have a lot of very close family and friends.
You might feel like people are talking about you and your daughter – and to be honest, you may be right. People love to gossip and your news may be the biggest thing for a while, but it will die down.
If people make comments to you about how you raised your daughter, you can let them know that you did what you could but in the end, she made her own choices.
If they choose to insult your daughter, you don’t have to defend her to the point of saying that what she did was right and good, but you can let these naysayers know that she is still your daughter and you will stick by her through thick and thin.
Let naysayers know that she is your daughter and that you will stick by her through thick and thin.
Let your daughter know that people are going to talk, but you’re going to stand by her. Help her figure out some way to respond to anyone who might insult her. For example, “Yeah, I know I made a dumb mistake, but now I’m responsible for a life growing in me, and I will fight for and defend that life.”
Your daughter might have a hard time brushing off insults during pregnancy since she’s likely to be more emotional than usual anyway. “Sticks and stones” may not break anything, but they still can hurt.
Make a point to ask your daughter about her day each and every day. That way you can know if she’s struggling with how people are talking.
We’re also here to provide support and encouragement during her pregnancy through our Life Services group classes and one on one mentoring. Being surrounded by women who understand what she is going through and are here to listen to her concerns and help her succeed will be a hgreat asset throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
How can I help without doing everything for her?
Don’t organize everything for her! Her doctor’s appointments, vitamins, parenting classes, washing baby’s clothes, all that…she is more than capable of doing those things.
We would suggest finding something small to help with – ask her if she needs help with anything. Not something you can just go do for her, but something you can do with her. Whether that be couponing, making a budget, picking jobs to apply for, folding laundry, preparing baby food – use it as a bonding moment with your daughter where she can learn something from you and get a little bit of a break.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can never do her a favor, like go pick up a new pack of diapers or babysit during an exam or doctor’s appointment for just her. You’re still her mom & dad and you’re going to want to help her and give to her! (Especially when there’s a grandbaby in the mix.)
How can I encourage her and the father to be responsible?
This is not always an easy task. The thing to remember is that teenagers like to rebel (especially when they know they’ve done something wrong and are in trouble). Try not to tell them that they “have” to do such and such, or that they “have no choice but to” do something this one way. If you can drop little hints and make them think that it was their idea, you are on your way!
Try not to overcrowd them or they may not want you to be involved at all. Offer your help and let them know that you are someone they can count on – sometimes, that is all they need.
One of the best ways to encourage responsibility is to have your daughter and the father attend our 12 week parenting workshop, which meets every Thursdays from 4-6. The First Steps program will get them talking about what kind of parents they want to be and will equip them with the skills to care for a newborn so they can be successful right off the bat.
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Need to talk? We can help mediate a conversation or just answer any questions you have.
Call or text us at 719.544.9312
We have also put together some helpful information and resources right here on our blog that may be of some help to you during this process:
Ready to start a conversation?