How to have the “I’m pregnant” talk

“I’m pregnant!” 

I remember blurting these words out at lunch with my mom as a 20-year-old unmarried woman. It was the hardest two words to get out, but there they were. And while my parents were upset, they did not kill me, as I had assumed they would.

That conversation was over 30 years ago and now I have sat on both sides of that conversation. I have empathy for everyone involved.  I know how hard it is to share that piece of information and how life-altering it is to receive it. The reality is, your parents might get upset. That is a fairly normal response. But it’s helpful to understand what it means and what it doesn’t. What it does mean is your parents had hopes for your future that now feel, well, changed. As parents, we can fear how this will all turn out – and our minds can tend to go to the worst-case scenario. They also know, having raised you, how hard parenting is – especially as a young person. They also probably realize, especially if you are young, that you are going to need their help and support, which means their plans for the future might be changing too.  All of those realizations are coming at them at once. That’s what their upset reactions usually mean.  What it doesn’t mean is that they no longer love you.  The upset is usually short-lived, and eventually they will even get excited for this new little miracle!! Chances are, someday they will say they cannot imagine their life without this little one!

So what can you do to help make this hard conversation easier?  Here are a few tips:

  • Be honest. One thing that drives parents crazy is dishonesty. Get it all out into the light and deal with it. 
  • Don’t get angry if they get upset or tell them they shouldn’t get upset. In a perfect world they would embrace you and say all the right things, but the reality is their first reaction may not be their best. They are going to need some time to adjust to this news. Remember what this means and what it doesn’t. Give them the patience and space to work this out.  Now, that being said, if they get abusive in any way – that is NOT ok. We will talk more about that below.
  • Let them know you need their help and support. If you are scared, tell them that. Let them know what your fears are. That can help give them some direction in ways they can come alongside you at this time.

But what if your relationship with your parents has been severely strained, toxic or abusive? This is a whole different ball game and you should proceed with caution and be prepared. Here are somethings you can do:

  • Bring someone with you when you give this news. If the conversation goes beyond normal upset to more along the lines of abusive – name calling, and threats of bodily harm, leave immediately. If there is physical danger, call 911 immediately. If you are living at home, have plans ahead of time to stay somewhere else either temporarily and possibly permanently.
  • Know your rights ahead of time. If you want to either parent or place your baby for adoption, that is your choice. If you don’t want an abortion, it is illegal for anyone to force, pressure or threaten you into one – even your parents. That includes things like threats to kick you out of the house, take away your phone, etc., if you don’t comply.
  • Know your resources ahead of time. Most abortion are unwanted, and are often acts of women who don’t know what else to do. If you don’t have support, either from your family or the father, you may feel like this is your only option, even if it isn’t what you want.  Abiding Care exists to be that help and support. Come talk with us first and learn how we can help – no judgment and at no cost to you!

This is not an exhaustive list of information but if you are facing this decision, we are here to help! We can help you be ready to give this news and be prepared. And even if the worst-case scenario happens, Abiding Care is here with a team of people in your corner. We have resources and support to help make parenting or adoption a real possibility. You are NOT alone!

From Abiding Care’s Executive Director, Carrie