It’s one of the most devastating pieces of news you can ever get as the parent of a teenager. You feel like you’re experiencing a hundred different emotions at the same time. You’re worried sick about her. You’re losing sleep. Is she going to be able to get back on her feet and live even half the decent life you always wanted for her? Will she give up? Is she thinking about aborting? How do you cope with a teenager who is pregnant? You’re angry and disappointed at her, but you know that your child will need you more than ever, so you’re trying not to show it too much. And its hard.
What about your family? What are they going to say now? There’s always those relatives and so-called “friends” you KNOW are almost pleased to say “I’m not surprised.” Oh my God. Why did this have to happen? You secretly ask yourself, “where did I go wrong?
Who can you talk to about this? She’s going to be showing soon–your sweet little baby you held in your own arms not so very long ago. You sense that you have to pull yourself together, and fast. But you don’t know where you’re going to get the strength.
What about the baby? You’re going to be a grandmother. This puts all your plans for your own future in a tipsy-turvy tailspin. It’s making you sick to your stomach from sheer worry. It’s a sinking feeling of utter despair like you’ve never known before in your entire life. You just can’t shake it, and it’s making your head spin. Your tears start to flow. You have people who are close to you that you can usually turn to for some comfort, but you feel that this time you’re all alone. No one will understand the gut-wrenching depths of your terrible despair.
Your little girl is pregnant. Money is already tight. Her education is a huge deal. In the U.S. alone, close to a million teens give birth every year, and they have special health concerns. Her physical and emotional well-being are at risk without the security that comes from maintaining a connection with you. You can’t have her feeling like she’s all alone in this.
The statistics are dismal for teenage mothers who don’t finish their education. You’ve made all these plans for yourself and for her and now it’s all in jeopardy because you don’t have many of the answers. And what will the school do? In your heart of hearts you have a vague sense of what YOU should do. But right now–this moment–you hurt, and its just too overwhelming.
Haven’t you protected, guided, and built a strong bond with your child? OK so maybe there was some room for improvement. Can any parent in this world say anything different? Who can say you didn’t do the very best you could with what you’ve got? And just look at your baby. Isn’t she still just the sweetest little thing there ever was?
You’ve got good instincts too, because so far you haven’t thrown her to the dogs or put her out like many folk have done. Not going to happen either! You’ve taken long looks at her when she thought you weren’t looking. What did you feel? Isn’t she just human? Maybe it was a mistake to be so careless, but you know what? No child is a mistake. You have that much faith.
So what’s the problem, really?
Is this the end of the world, or just REALLY bad timing? Well you know what? Any problem with timing is just temporary. Your child is worth going the extra mile for. In fact this isn’t even an extra mile issue. This is an opportunity to dig deeper; get stronger; develop more resourcefulness; set an example of how to overcome. With a little luck and forbearance, you can turn this sucker around and make this a great story to tell your grandchild one day. The old cliche says that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well here we go.
Bleeep all this negative crap. Less than a century ago, it was normal for teens to get married and have children. Back then it was the thing to do. God didn’t make those rules. It’s not set in stone. So the true problem is that this society we live in has trained us to SEE this issue as a problem in this day and age. But it doesn’t HAVE to be. Your child is not going to become any frickin statistic. Doggone it! YOU’RE built from stronger stuff than that. THAT’S what is set in stone.
What about those idle, no-life, pathetic little people who were just looking for an excuse to try and make you feel you have something to be ashamed of? Do they have a point? Are you serious? You’re going to buy into their spinelessness? You’re actually thinking of letting THEM win and have your child slink off like some loser with her tail between her legs? WTF? You need a slap upside your head?
Clarity: Be Mindful…
How many successful people out there had a child at a young age? Just a very short current list includes Suzanne Somers, Emily Maynard, Jourdan Dunn, Savannah Brinson, Fantasia Barrino, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Natalia Vodianova, Maynard, Bristol Palin, Solange Knowles and Niki Taylor, Do yourself a favor when you get a chance. Google them and get their stories. You’ll thank me. You’ve got work to do.
Most of the folks on this list are no longer with their child’s father, and some are no role-models, but no one can truly say they have any reason to be ashamed of anything. And ummm.. their financial positions aren’t too shabby either. Did bearing a child diminish any of their talents?
On the contrary, you’ll find that it only gave most of them a new determination to succeed. All they needed was some support and encouragement.
Support, encouragement, and the same loving care you’ve always given her. That’s where YOU come in. Stop groveling and get yourself ready.
One person on this list who is of particular interest is Savannah Brinson. Her partner is himself the product of a 16-year old teenage pregnancy. His name is Lebron James. Ever heard of him?
So to hell with all the naysayers and evil-thinkers. In fact, you know what? They’d better be very careful what they say to you, because from this day on, you’re focused, you’re clear, you’re armed, dangerous and taking no prisoners.
There comes a point in all our lives when we have to dig deep within and put a finger on what’s really important. Well this here is one of those times. All this turmoil and anxiety is enough already. Your girl must be going through an even rougher time than you.
This need not be so complicated. In fact, its very simple, really. Take a deep breath, then another. Close your eyes and let it out slowly. You’re going to make this a regular habit.
Here we are; your moment of clarity.
She’s family. The baby is YOUR family. What in this world is more important than family? At times like this, with emotions running high, being able to connect and surround herself with genuine people who care is going to be tough. But isn’t that what family is for?
You’re going to make it YOUR job. In fact you’re on a mission to find out EXACTLY who’s real family and friends, and who’s fake. Nothing like a challenge to separate the sheep from the goats. You’re flipping the script and making this THEIR problem. Now they’re going to have to prove if they are truly WITH you and your girl and your inner circle.
…Then Get Going
If you haven’t done so already, you’re going to sit with yourself.. just you and God. Find the time today or tomorrow. Feel what you need to feel. Cry your tears if you have to. Search yourself and give each little feeling a name. Acknowledge them. Claim them. Don’t judge them. They’re yours and they’re real. But then figure out just how you’re going to use them to jump-start your mission of pulling the right people around you and your daughter. It DOES take a village to raise a child.
She’s going to need prenatal care and logistical, support right up until delivery.
Then after that she’ll need postnatal care and time with her baby.
And through it all, she needs love, care, attention, and connection with the circle you’re going to protect her with… one more time. That’s what you do. You’ve always known it. This isn’t going to change jack. You’ve GOT this. You didn’t come THIS far…
Then there’s the father. Is he worthy of being in that circle? Talk that one over with her. She should know better than just about anyone, but every situation is different. You’ll have to approach it with eyes wide open, and with an open mind too. That’s tough with all the emotions, but that’s what it takes. You’ll get it done because the mission is everything. Don’t dictate, don’t make it about YOU. Discuss everything with her, but don’t have your own agenda… except for the mission.
If you decide together with her that he’s worthy to be included, and he’s a teenager, he’ll be needing support too. And that will include HIS family. Whom is there on THAT side of the picture, that has what it takes to be an asset before, during and after delivery, and after your child goes back to school?
You feeling this?
Figure the rest out. Pay attention to her nutritional needs, her need to discuss and accept the necessary lifestyle and scheduling and whole change of mindset necessary for bringing new life into this world.
Might actually be some fun.. maybe a LOT of fun. This might even change your lives for the better for ever… if you MAKE it happen. It HAS to happen, doesn’t it?
So how are you going to make it happen?
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