If you're a teen and have just discovered you're pregnant, you're not alone. Right now, you might feel scared, confused, or shocked. You might be thinking something like, "This can't really be happening." And you know you'll have to tell your parents.
No matter how close you are with your parents, you probably aren't sure how they'll react.
Telling your family about an unplanned pregnancy can be a really awkward conversation to have. Just the surprise alone can be enough to make parents say and do things in the heat of the moment that they probably don’t mean.
Here are some tips to have an open and honest conversation with your parents — and to figure out what to do next.
How Do You Feel About Being Pregnant?
Before you can answer questions and talk with your family about whether you want to keep the baby to raise yourself or look at starting an adoption plan, the first step is to decide how you feel about raising a child. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you ready to take on the responsibilities that come with having another life in your care?
- Do you want to be a parent?
- Are you OK with putting your education and/or career on hold?
- Is the father of your baby involved and ready to parent?
- Are you financially able to care for a child?
Decide how you feel about bringing another life into the world. Once you know where you stand, it will be easier to communicate those feelings and choices with your loved ones.
Find a Good Time and Place to Talk
Mentioning that you are pregnant over lunch in a crowded restaurant may not be the best time or place to talk about these private matters. Your best chance at having a calm, mature, and loving chat with your parents and loved ones is to choose a time and place that provides both privacy and the time to talk.
Make sure you don’t have anywhere you have to be, and choose a location that allows you to express your feelings, and hear others’ feelings openly so you can really understand one another without fear of being overheard by someone you don’t wish to share your pregnancy news with.
Be Patient and Stay Calm
If telling your parents about your unplanned pregnancy is likely to come as a surprise, don’t be shocked if they are upset or emotional. Your parents will probably feel a lot of the same feelings you did when you first found out you were pregnant.
Stay calm, be patient with your loved ones, and wait for them to digest this new information. Show them that you are mature and ready to cope with the outcome of whatever decision you make regarding your baby, and they will come to terms with the situation faster.
Plan a Time to Talk Again
Don’t have just one conversation and leave things alone. The first talk you have with your parents or family about your unplanned pregnancy might not go as planned. Emotions might be more than you can all handle, or you may get interrupted and not get to finish your conversation.
If a loving resolution to help one another through this time can’t be reached from the first meeting, plan a later date to talk again. The news about your pregnancy will have time to sink in, everyone will calm down, and you’ll have a chance to consider your options more thoroughly.
Calling the pregnancy hotline at 1-800-923-6784 can be another way to help you sort through your feelings and options. The people who answer the phone at the pregnancy hotline are compassionate, understanding, and well trained to help you come up with a plan for the best way to tell your family about your unplanned pregnancy.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 17, 2015, and has since been updated.