Figuring out how to cope with a teenage pregnancy can be overwhelming and scary. As you sort through your feelings, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Nearly 500,000 teenagers become pregnant in the United States each year. There are resources available to help answer any questions you have about what to do next. As difficult as this situation might seem, just know that you can handle this. If you’re unsure about what steps to take, here is a guide for how to cope with a teenage pregnancy.
Confirm the Pregnancy
Before you psych yourself out about this situation, you should confirm that you are actually pregnant. The first step is to take a pregnancy test. It is best to take the test after you have missed your period because taking it too early can produce a false negative since there is not yet enough pregnancy hormone to detect.
After you have taken a test that turned out to be positive, you should still verify the pregnancy by getting a limited ultrasound. If you are looking for a place to get this done, Palm Beach Women’s Clinic offers free and confidential ultrasounds after they have confirmed your pregnancy. The ultrasound will tell you how far along your pregnancy has progressed and if your pregnancy is viable to carry to term.
Who to Tell about the Pregnancy
After determining that your pregnancy is viable, making an ultimate decision for the outcome can be confusing and difficult. Take your time when making your choice. Before making a decision, tell loved ones about your situation. Regardless of their feelings, it will ultimately be your decision to make. But, they can still offer you support as you decide.
Telling Your Parents
Most teen girls are afraid to tell their parents about their pregnancy. It is a normal reaction to be scared. Just remember that your parents love and support you. No matter how anxious you might feel before telling them, you will be relieved when you finally let them know.
Your family will likely be surprised by the news and will have questions to ask you. Do your best to remain calm and avoid being defensive. Understand that this will also be a confusing and challenging time for them. After they have a few moments to let the news sink in, they will calm down, and you all can consider your next steps. Keep in mind that they have been through a pregnancy before (yours), so they will have valuable knowledge.
To show them that you are taking responsibility, talk to them about possible options that you are considering. You don’t need to decide yet, but they will be glad to see that you are thinking about the next steps.
Telling the Father
Even if the two of you are not together, you should still strongly consider telling the father. Half the baby’s DNA belongs to him, so you should ask for his opinion. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, but you can still seek thoughts from others.
When breaking the news to the father, follow through with the same practices from when you told your parents. Do your best to remain calm, avoid being defensive, and do not look to assign blame. There is a chance that he will initially react with denial, so you can consider bringing proof of the pregnancy.
If the father is abusive, on drugs, or participating in any unsafe behavior that might cause you or your pregnancy harm, please seek help. The 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.
Consider Your Options
When dealing with this pregnancy, you might have moments when you find it difficult to think clearly. It is okay to take your time and carefully weigh your options before making a decision. Remember that, regardless of your choice, this is a lifelong decision. Make a choice that you can live with.
Take the time to research all your options.
Parenting – This involves carrying the child to term and giving birth. This involves having a solid support system to help you along the way.
Adoption – This involves giving birth and then placing your child into the care of another family permanently. There are multiple adoption options, so consider if you want to have contact with the family or if you would like to keep things anonymous.
Abortio – This involves taking medication or undergoing a medical procedure that will end your pregnancy. Each option comes with certain risks and side effects, so you will want to make sure you know the consequences before deciding.
Continue Your Education
Becoming pregnant does not mean that you have to give up on your dreams. If you decide to parent, a proper education is essential for the baby’s well-being. Look to loved ones for support so you can continue your education and prepare for the child’s future. Financial support will be key, so start thinking about that as early as possible.
Remember that You are Not Alone
Again, remember that you do not have to go on this journey by yourself. A solid support system can contribute to a healthy state of mind and help you make the best decision for yourself.
In addition to friends and family, you can also talk to your doctor or a staff member at Palm Beach Women’s Clinic to discuss your concerns and get your questions answered. No matter who you talk to you, just know that you have people in your life who care about you.
Coping with a teenage pregnancy is easier for some girls than others. Your situation is personal, and you should make your decision based on your own situation. If you are having a hard time, you can talk to a trained professional. Contact us and we can help you through this challenging time.