How Do I Tell My Parents I’m Pregnant?
You’ve taken the test, a few times, and each time it says the same thing. You’re pregnant.
You weren’t planning to be pregnant, you don’t want to be pregnant, but you are. And as you process all of the emotion, fear, anger, shock and guilt, the question pops into our mind, “How do I tell my parents I’m pregnant?” This question can be as overwhelming and scary as being pregnant itself.
We want you to know that you are not alone. For many teens and college students this seems like an impossible situation, but it’s something that many others have had to face and they’ve lived to tell about it. The biggest fear you probably have is how your parents will react. Will they be angry or disappointed? Will they yell, cry or just sit there silently?
While every set of parents and every daughter’s relationship with them is different, there are a few things you can do to help the conversation go as well as possible.
Taking some time to prepare for what will most likely be one of the hardest conversations you will ever have is a good idea. Here are few things you should think through before you talk with your parents about your pregnancy.
- Prepare how you want to open the conversation. Don’t scare them or put them on edge by saying “I have some bad news.” Instead be clear and direct. Begin with “I have something difficult I need to share with you, I’m pregnant”.
- Prepare how you will explain the pregnancy. Did they know you have a boyfriend? Did they know you were sexually active or did they forbid you from dating?
- Share how you are feeling. While it might be tempting to pause and let them react, it’s important to let them know how you’re feeling. Tell them how difficult this has been and that you need their support.
- Anticipate their reaction. Again, there is no way to tell exactly how they will react to you telling them your pregnant, but you can plan based on how they have reacted to other news in the past. Is one parent more emotional or more logical? Have they reacted with anger and violence in the past? If so, don’t tell them the news alone, but make sure there is another trusted adult present.
- Prepare to answer their questions. They may ask who the father is, if you used protection, when you got pregnant and how long you’ve been sexually active. Determine what questions you’re ready to answer and which ones you aren’t.
- Practice. You’ve probably already told a friend or someone else that you are pregnant, so ask them if you can practice on them before telling your parents you’re pregnant.
Having to face your parents alone may seem like more than you can handle. Enlisting some moral support may be a good option. Here are some things to consider:
- If they have never met the father, this might not be the best time to introduce them. However, if they have it can also be a great way to show them maturity.
- Perhaps having a brother or sister there would help you feel more comfortable.
- Sometimes having a friend or another trusted adult from outside the family can be beneficial.
- You know your family dynamics and will ultimately have to decide if having someone else there will help or hurt the conversation.
Picking the right time is almost as important as what you say.
- Pick a time when there is plenty of time for a conversation. Don’t tell them as they head out the door, or when they have to pick your brother up from soccer in 30 minutes. Find a time when their stress level is low, maybe after dinner when there are no plans for the evening.
- Pick a time that works for you, when you aren’t worried about an upcoming exam, so that your attention can be on preparation and the conversation.
- There isn’t an ideal time, so don’t keep putting it off. Pick the best available time for everyone.
This may be the hardest part, but after you’ve shared the news you need to give them time to process what you’ve just told them and listen.
- It’s hard to know what their reaction will be, but often they say the first thing that pops into their mind. Sometimes, that can be hurtful. Remember, they are just as shocked as you were when you took the test. Give them time and don’t take their initial reaction personally.
- They may have advice for you to go along with the questions. Listen. We know you’ve already had time to think about the pregnancy, but they may have something to share you haven’t thought about yet.
- As you listen and the conversation moves along, let them know what you need. Love, support, time to process. This is going to the subject of many more conversations in the future, so establishing how they can help you is important.
This is the first conversation of what will probably be many and you don’t have to come to any resolution at this time. Here are some things for you to keep in mind:
- They need time too. You just dropped some life-changing news on them and they will need some time to process it just like you did.
- They will probably experience many of the same emotions you did when you found out.
- Their initial reaction will probably soften with time. Once the shock wears off, they will probably have more questions and may be able to offer better advice once they are thinking clearly.
- As you talk, words like abortion and adoption may come up. You have time before you have to make any decisions regarding your pregnancy. Your parents may and probably will have advice for you, but ultimately you have to make the decision that you will live with for the rest of your life. We think you should have all the information available so you can make an informed decision.
When it comes down to it, most parents love their children and want to be there for them. As you are planning, you are probably preparing for the worst-case scenario. You may be surprised how well they take the news. And telling them will most likely lift a huge weight off your shoulders.
If you are pregnant and preparing to tell your parents and need someone else to talk to, we’d love to be there to help you. Please contact our office to talk with one of our amazing staff members.