ICYMI, Kylie Jenner just announced her pregnancy and her new baby all in one go. Although it doesn’t come as much of a surprise after months of speculation, I got to applaud the young woman for doing it all away from the limelight, and the overall positive tone and message of her video.
Having said that, and acknowledging the fact that her life and her decisions are entirely her own, I could not help but notice how Kylie’s pregnancy highlighted one of my fears about having a daughter – that of dealing with teenage pregnancy.
Although Kylie is no longer a teenager, she is still a young 20-year old woman – one year less from the legal age. And while I cannot presume how she told her mother about her pregnancy or how Kris Jenner reacted, I can only imagine how such situations involving unexpected pregnancies were faced with less than positive reactions.
It’s one of the things I fervently wish for every night, that my daughter would get pregnant and have a kid in her own time and in her own terms. But suspending all my disbelief, I couldn’t help but think how parents should react when faced with an admission from their daughter that she is expecting? What exactly do we do when we’re faced with a somewhat less than ideal situation? Here are a few thoughts, and hopefully I’d remember all these if ever (*knock on wood) I’m faced with such a situation:
- Keep calm and silent. I can only imagine that any parent’s initial reaction to such a news is to cry and scream and curse at everything. Stop and keep your composure. Imagine if you’re in your daughter’s shoes, how would you feel when your pregnancy news is met with such a reaction. If possible, count to ten and take a couple of deep breaths. Keep in mind that this is not about you, it is about your daughter.
- Reaffirm that you are there for her and will always have her back. Set aside your emotions and anger, there will be plenty of time to deal with that later. The important thing is to understand how she is feeling (chances are, she herself is still reeling from the shock and the fact that she’ll soon become a mother herself) and to assure her that you will support her through this.
- Try to understand as much of the situation as you can. You can accomplish No. 2 further by talking to your daughter and asking her to walk you through what happened. Yes, it may be hurtful but doing so will give your opportunity to cry and vent if needed, and air any fears and frustrations she might have. At the same time, this will provide you with valuable information about the situation and prevent you from jumping into any conclusions.
- Find out what you can about the father. Another reason for No. 3 is to find out as much information as you can about the father, their relationship status, and if he or his parents know about the pregnancy. And while you may be feeling strong feelings toward him now, try to restrain yourself and DO NOT vilify him in front of your daughter. Doing so might cause a rift between you and your daughter and that’s the last thing you want during this time.
- Guide, and do not push. As parents, it could be quite hard to let our children decide on their own, but try not to push your own beliefs on your daughter at this time. Let her decide for herself because sooner or later, she has to make parenting decisions on her own. But at the same time, try your best to guide her as well without being too pushy. Try to give her as much information and guidance you can for her to make informed decisions for herself and her child.
- Always remember that being an expectant mother can be stressful. Moreso, if you’re a carefree teen who’s suddenly faced with the daunting task of being a mom. There could be times when your daughter would seem to be immature and would want to still do teenage things, try to not get too frustrated nor question her capabilities to become a mother. Always remember that she’s also still just a child who’s coping with big life changes.
- Plan ahead. Try to plan your and your daughter’s next steps, and of course, always include and involve your daughter (and even her partner) in every aspect. If she’s still with the baby’s father, what are their plans? Where will they stay? Are you willing to open your home to them? What about her education? What’s her birth plan and where does she intend to give birth? Who will look after the child once she gives birth? How will they cope financially? Planning ahead will give all of you – yourself, your daughter, and her partner (if he’s still involved) an idea about what needs to be done and the expectations from each. It will also give them a taste of what it takes to be an adult for the sake of their future child.
Thinking about it, it can be hard to accept that your baby will soon have a baby of her own, or that both of your hopes and dreams, and even future will be different. But try to remember that this doesn’t mean that life will be worse. You may be surprised at how life may turn out for the better especially now that you are a grandparent.
*Originally published in momcenter.com.ph