If you're a teen girl and you've just found out you're pregnant, chances are you're worried about how to tell your parents. It's the question girls ask me so often, and the answer - unfortunately - can't be the same for everyone.
It's all going to depend on your unique family situation. Things I hear all the time:
They're going to kill me!
They'll disown me
They'll beat me
They'll kick me out of the house
"They'll kill me!" is usually her first thought. Fortunately, for most girls this isn't true. Before you go in there, though - here are some things you should consider.
- Give some thought to what your decision might be: are you thinking abortion, adoption, parenting? Only you can answer this question. And when the time comes to discuss it with your parents, you will need to have a sense of what you want, and be able to stand up for your decision
- Tell them sooner rather than later. If your parents are paying attention - the longer you leave it, the more likely they are to figure it out for themselves. You will feel better about yourself, and they will have more respect for you - if you don't try and hide it. Taking charge of the situation, taking the hard step of telling them despite your fear, is a sign that you're taking responsibility.
- They will be angry, scared, disappointed. Even the most loving and supportive of parents are going to be shocked. Expect this, and allow them to feel it.
- Realise that at first, their reactions might not reflect their real feelings. Give them a bit of time to calm down.
- You know your family best. Some families will be upset at first, but will then calm down and get back to normal. Others will not. Some girls are RIGHT to feel afraid of the consequences, as their families are not the most supportive, or even abusive. If you suspect that this is the case for you, speak to another trustworthy adult first (a teacher, relative, friend), and get them to come with you when you speak to them.
- Understand that while all parents SHOULD be supportive - not all are going to be. Their support or lack of it might have an effect on the path you end up choosing.
This is going to be hard. You are going to feel bad. Your parents are going to be hurt, and you are going to be the cause of that hurt. There is no getting around this. There is no easy way to say it. So just spit it out. Get some privacy with them and just say it.
Don't fight with them. Let them vent. Answer their questions. Tell them you love them and that you need them. Tell them your plan (or the beginnings of it) - let them see that you are taking responsibility.
For most of you - it's true that no matter how angry they might be right now - your parents love you.
You can be okay - your whole family can be okay again. It will take some time but it will happen if you all let it.
But first - you have to do the hard thing. Don't put it off. If you're reading this, dear preggy girl - go do it now.
It's not the end.