Ahhh, the teen years. This bid for freedom and autonomy is challenging for even the most experienced of moms. Take, for instance, the teen who tells her parents that she's thinking about becoming a mom herself — or the one who then does so, on purpose. Not only does this happen, as Alycia W.'s story shows (Her 16-year-old daughter moved out and had a baby), but it comes up frequently enough that it's an area of anguished discussion on Circle of Moms.
Here, members share what they would do or say if their teen announced that not only does she crave independence, but that to get it, she's planning to get pregnant.
Shoud You Say Whatever It Takes to Dissuade Her?
Lindsay S. and Doris N. both suggest using whatever means you can come up with to dissuade your teen from seeking motherhood. For Lindsay this means pleading with her: “Sweetie, please stop and rethink having a child this early in your life. Children are extremely hard to raise. When it is your time to have a child, you will know. Until then, finish high school and go to college so that when you do have a child you will be able to give them the best life possible.”
Doris N. ups the ante: “If I was the mother of a daughter who said this I would tell her my feelings would be incredibly hurt."
But Diana H. cautions that a teen who wants to get pregnant is crying out for attention, and counsels moms to tread very carefullly and react gently. "Above all you should validate your teen's feelings of [needing] love and attachment and not overeact." Luoise G. concurs: "I would try [to] be approachable and understanding and give as much support to my daughter as I could."
Tracey L., who got pregnant for the first time at 16 herself, echos this sentiment. She feels moms need to both show unconditional love and "point out the challenges."
“Don't give up on her," she cautions, as teen motherhood "never turns out well."
Confronting Her with the Facts
Teens tend to react poorly to shows of parental authority, so be prepared for a hostile reaction when you tell your daughter you think being a teen mom is an unwise idea. Louise G. recommends explaining what the future will most likely look like if she actually has a baby. “I’d ask her how she would provide for herself (and the baby). Bills are not fun to pay and the novelty will soon wear off."
Maria recommends being more blunt. “I’d be completely straight up with her and tell her that wanting a baby isn’t stupid, but wanting a baby at 13 is,” she says. She would confront her own daughter with a lot of hard questions, including: “Do you know what happens to your body? Do you know about labor and delivery? Do you know how much it costs to have a baby? Are you prepared to continue going to school and [to] take care of an infant?"
How would you react if your teen announced she wanted to get pregnant?
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