Are you feeling nervous, unprepared, or afraid of telling your parents that you are pregnant? It’s easy to share news we know for sure our parents will be excited about. But other times, we are not sure how they will take what we have to share. Telling parents that you are in an unplanned pregnancy brings its own range of angst. Here are nine areas to think about when preparing to tell your parents that you are pregnant.
Get the Facts
Before you tell your parents and before you get too stressed out, confirm that you are pregnant with a pregnancy test performed at a medical clinic or doctor’s office. Home pregnancy tests can be great but it’s best to confirm the results of a home pregnancy test before making a decision on your pregnancy. Some pregnancy clinics offer free pregnancy tests.
If it turns out that you are not pregnant, you won’t have to have this difficult conversation with your parents. If you plan to remain sexually active, selecting a reliable birth control plan can help you to avoid facing an unplanned pregnancy. If you are pregnant, some pregnancy clinics can perform a free ultrasound that will tell you how far along you are and can determine if the fetus is viable. If the fetus is not viable, it will drastically change your decision-making process and what conversation, if any, you might decide to have with your parents.
Know Your Parents
Think back to how your parents react to sudden news. Are they calm and rational? Do they freak out and then calm down and think it through? How your parents react will be determined by their personalities and also by factors including these questions you should answer ahead of time: Are they aware that you are dating? Do they know you have been sexually active? How old are you? Do they perceive you to be mature for your age? Are you in school, working or both? What expectations do they have for you? What are their values regarding dating and sex? Have your parents experienced an unplanned pregnancy? Knowing what to expect from your parents can help you to prepare for their reaction. Ultimately, you will not know how your parents will react until you tell them. The next steps will help you to prepare to tell your parents you are pregnant.
What do you want to do about your pregnancy? In your perfect world, would you want to abort, place for adoption or parent? Regardless of your decision, you should talk to a professional pregnancy counselor because she can help you to determine your next steps. Pregnancy counselors have the knowledge of and access to community resources that you may need. They have lots of experience and can answer your questions. Caring counselors are able to give you the emotional support you need to make your best decision and throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you decide you want to talk to your parents, a counselor can help you to roleplay the conversation and create a plan for how to discuss different topics with them. Many women have found this to be very helpful prior to approaching their parents.
A Support System
You will need support from those closest to you. It will help to have someone in your life that you can talk to. Someone who can help you to process your thoughts, values, emotions, and options. Often, a wise support person may be a close family friend, school counselor, favorite teacher, aunt or uncle.
Make a Plan
Having a plan for your next steps, based on your pregnancy decision, will show your parents that you have given this thought. If you are younger, it will help them to see that you have begun to take a mature approach to your pregnancy. You do not have to have every area outlined or thought out – they can help with that. A trusted advisor or pregnancy counselor can help you to lay out a plan based on your decision. It would also be a good idea to have a plan ready in case your parents request that you leave your home or emergency shelter if your home becomes a dangerous place for you.
Bring a Friend
Ideally, you and your boyfriend or girlfriend should tell your parents together. Sometimes, that is not possible. The next best option is to bring a friend. If you are concerned about your parents’ reaction or need help telling them, it might be wise to bring a friend. The person you selected as part of your support system might be a good choice. If you are concerned about your safety, having a friend present could help to diffuse the situation. Or, you could meet with your parents in a counselor’s office. A professional pregnancy counselor can address your parents’ questions and concerns as well as provide valuable resources for your family.
The Best Time
There really is no “best time” to tell your parents about your unplanned pregnancy. However, there are “better times.” Right after work, as soon as your parents walk in the door is not the best time. A better time would be after dinner or after a younger sibling has gone to bed. Consider your parents’ schedules and select a time when they will be most relaxed and receptive to a conversation.
What to Say
Your plan will help you to know what you need to share with your parents. For example, if you are younger, or still under their medical insurance, you may need their consent for medication or procedures, or help navigating medical bills. Do you need a ride to/from medical appointments or financial support? A clear and concise: “Mom, Dad, I’m pregnant,” will certainly get the conversation rolling. Chances are, your parents will do much of the talking and asking questions after an opening line like above.
Give it Time
This is life-changing news. It took you some time to come to terms with your pregnancy. Allow your parents time to process this information and come to terms with your pregnancy as well. Just as you went through a range of emotions, your parents may as well. They have to grieve the expectations and plans they had envisioned for you and accept the new reality. Be patient.
What you do with your pregnancy is your decision to make. Hopefully, your parents will support you in your decision. If not, we hope the tips shared above will help you to have a plan and support system in place.