Parenting your pregnant teen is a whole new level of motherhood. It can also be a deepening of your relationship.
“Where’s Brittany? She always comes to the family reunion. “She’s sick.” Her mother explained, “All this week she has been nauseous and vomiting, most likely the flu…” Her next sentence caught in her throat. She is fine the rest of the day. Nothing more was said. In that moment, both women read the look on the other’s face, and knew Brittany didn’t have the flu. All the other symptoms began to fall into place. Her teenage daughter was pregnant.
As parents, right or wrong, we have the tendency to perceive our children’s mistakes as a blot against our parenting skills, even our Christianity. After all, if we did everything right, our children wouldn’t sin, would not get into trouble. No, we don’t say that out loud, but we feel it.
Christian parents tend to read Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. And translate it into something it is not. It is not a guarantee that if we teach our children to love and serve God, they will not make mistakes, or sin. That they will follow every instruction and that this will save them from wrong choices.
Consider this: If we could parent our children so well they would never make bad choices, they would not need Jesus. They would not need a Savior. Jesus would not have had to die for their sins. They would just need us to be great parents.
Parenting Your Pregnant Teen
We do need a Savior, and so do our children.
Romans 3:23-25, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness…”
The gift of grace is for any sin.
When premarital sex leads to a teen pregnancy, it is our responsibility to love her, as God does–where she is and wrapped in grace.
There may never be a better time in your daughter’s life, than now to show her God’s righteousness, love, and acceptance.
This is not the road you would have chosen for your daughter. As an adult, you know how hard that road is. Parenting a pregnant teen is a lot to take on, and there a flood of emotions to wade through, obstacles you see that she can’t. All of which is normal.
As you sort out your emotions, be on the lookout for your own fear of being judged by your peers, family, or even your church. Don’t allow it to cloud how you react. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to watch God’s provision in Romans 3:23 (the scripture above) be fulfilled in your daughter.
Accepting an Unplanned Pregnancy
Be careful not to confuse the sin of premarital sex, with the sanctity of the life she now carries.
It’s not wrong to want a life for our children that is free of sin and consequences. When God put Adam and Eve in the garden surrounding them with everything they could want, yet they brought sin into the world.
It’s easy to put kids in categories like good, bad, or rebellious. When we do, we overlook the most important ones such as human, flawed, in need of a Savior, and made in the image of God. That doesn’t change when a child is conceived outside of marriage.
It may be that before your daughter can accept the fact that she is carrying a baby (as opposed to she just has a problem) you have to accept the baby as a precious and welcome new member of the family.
A teenage pregnancy does hold risks.
Good prenatal care is essential for both mother and baby. It’s important to help her realize that she is caring for another life. While that may sound like I’m stating the obvious, it is not always the case.
For a first time mother of any age, carrying a pregnancy to term, feels all about her. Her body changes, aches, and hormones rearrange her emotions on an hourly basis. All of which is even more so for a teen. By helping your daughter to learn how to care for herself with good nutrition and regular prenatal care, you can help her shift her focus from herself to her new role as a mother.
Preparing for Motherhood
Helping your daughter prepare for her new role as a mother is as important mentally as it is physically. Hormone changes can make it challenging to say the least. It can strain your relationship, or it can strengthen it.
Showing and treating your young new mom with respect is a good way to show her you believe in her ability to become a good mother. While she may still have a lot of maturity to gain, trust that she will grow with your help.
Build a network of support around her through church and crisis pregnancy centers. Now might be a good time for her to see a counselor as well.
Mothering the Mother
It’s a curious phenomenon our culture has created when it comes to parenting. When our children turn eighteen, they are recognized by society as adults. They take on an air of independence. It can almost feel like we are cut out of the picture, only needed to write a check.
And yet, when our daughters become pregnant with their first child, whether she is a teen or married woman, the maternal connection grows and deepens. Nurture it.
God gives mothers the gift of maternal intuition. When we become grandmothers, that inner voice returns in new ways as you guide your daughter into motherhood.
Embrace this time with your daughter. The gift of life is never a problem to be fixed, it is the breath of God’s grace.
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