If you have just learned that you are unexpectedly pregnant, you may feel confused overwhelmed or even scared. It can seem like a daunting task, but there are many things you can do to prepare yourself for that conversation. Remember, your parents love you and they want the best for you. Here are some tips on how to tell your parents you are pregnant.
Before you tell your parents
Verify your pregnancy
While at-home tests are becoming more and more accurate, a lab-quality pregnancy test and a ultrasound will let you know for sure that you are pregnant, how far along you are, and if the pregnancy is located in your uterus. All of this information will help you better prepare to answer the questions that your parents will likely have and help you better know your options going forward.
At Palm Beach Women’s Clinic, we offer free lab-quality pregnancy testing and ultrasounds to give you a definitive answer before you have that conversation with your parents. Federal laws treat a pregnant minor like an adult when it comes to her medical decisions. You will be able to receive treatment at Palm Beach Women’s Clinic regardless of your age or parental knowledge or consent.
Decide if you want the father to be a part of the conversation
If you have already told the father about the pregnancy, having him present during this conversation can help you have a deeper and more involved conversation with your parents about next steps. He can also offer support during a difficult conversation and help you keep the conversation productive and safe. Whether you are in a relationship with the father or not may play a role in how comfortable he is around your parents and how comfortable your parents are with him. Also, if you know that your parents dislike or disapprove of the father it might be best to not have him present.
Equip yourself with information about your options
Knowing about your options can help you be more confident in your conversation with your parents. It shows that you have taken the time to accept your situation and have considered possible outcomes. Whether you are considering abortion, adoption, parenting or don’t know, having accurate information about all of your options will allow you to feel more prepared coming into the conversation. Being able to answer their questions will help your parents feel more at ease and help deescalate any strong reactions they may have initially.
During the conversation
Establish the weight of the conversation
What you are about to tell them is incredibly important and it can take some time for them to process the information you’re giving them. Asking them to sit down with you or to give you their full attention can help you prime them to receive this news. If they are preparing for something big, the shock can be less jarring and they may have a less strong reaction as a result.
Think about it like fireworks. If you watch someone light the fuse, see the firework soar into the air and then explode, then the sound isn’t very shocking. You were expecting a loud noise, so you were able to prepare yourself for it. If you weren’t looking, then you would probably be startled by the sound. If your parents are expecting some serious news, then they are less likely to be shocked.
Be Honest and Straight Forward
This is a difficult conversation about a difficult situation. Don’t be afraid to start with that. “What I am about to tell you is hard to say, but I am pregnant.” Not beating around the bush allows you to get the conversation started. After you tell them, allow them to process what you just told them.
Don’t Be Afraid of Silence
After you tell them the news, give them a moment. It’s likely that they may go completely silent. Inside, they are putting the pieces together and working through their initial emotions – and that’s okay! Give them the space to think, vent, and ask you questions without feeling like you need to fill the silence.
Be Prepared for a Strong Reaction
This is life-changing news, and depending on your parents’ values and culture, this could mean different things for them. Even if they knew you were sexually active, they may still have a strong, emotional reaction to the news. The main thing is to maintain a safe and productive conversation with your parents about the pregnancy and your next steps. On the chance that they begin yelling or becoming emotional, maintain your calm and de-escalate the best you can.
Make your Safety your First Priority
At the end of the day, you know your parents best, and if you feel as if your safety may be at risk while telling your parents, then there are things that you can do to protect yourself.
- Having someone else there during the conversation
- Having the conversation in a public place
- Having the conversation over the phone
- Having the conversation over the phone at Palm Beach Women’s Clinic with one of our staff members for support
Remember, even if you are pregnant, your parents do not have the right to force you to do anything you don’t want to do – especially when it comes to the outcome of your unplanned pregnancy.
Your parents can be a great support through this process, and we welcome parents to accompany you to appointments here with your consent. If you are ready to tell them but want more guidance on how to have that conversation, don’t be afraid to reach out to us at Palm Beach Women’s Clinic to talk with one of our professionals today.