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Difficult situation - sensitive and may offend some - advice needed

(55 Posts)
hardplace Thu 24-Jul-08 21:29:44

My son's 19 year old girlfriend is pregnant (just). She is currently in hospital as her weight is way below normal and she is dehydrated through sickness.

She has no family, is scared, and can barely look after herself, never mind a baby, and I have little confidence in my son's ability to take responsibility. At the moment they are in a flat they struggle to pay the rent on, she is not working (dropped out of college earlier this year) and he has reasonably paid but very insecure casual work. They are both useless with money.

I'm willing to be proved wrong, but seriously think that they should consider termination as an option - neither are really happy about the pregnancy, which was not planned in any way.

Any suggestions as to how to handle this?

MarkStretch Thu 24-Jul-08 21:31:13

Can they get some counselling and find out what their options are?

madamez Thu 24-Jul-08 21:32:11

Unfortunately it's not up to you to 'handle this', whatever you may feel about it. They are both adults and it is up to them to decide what to do. All you can offer is support for their decision.

Heated Thu 24-Jul-08 21:32:23

I think all you can do is be supportive, ask her what she wants to do and then make sure she has access to the right ppl to talk to, so whatever she decides it's an informed decision.

nell12 Thu 24-Jul-08 21:32:46

Unfortunately,I don't think it is really your place to tell them what they should or shouldn't do. Even if your option seems to be the most sensible one to you.

Just be there for them and support them when they need it. This is obviously a difficult time for your ds; he is going to need his mum on side.

thisisyesterday Thu 24-Jul-08 21:32:57

it's not up to you to "handle" it.

electricluluarella Thu 24-Jul-08 21:34:58

i would suggest independent counselling too. not your place to discuss it with them. i am sure that if they are young and it was unplanned,they would have considered it already.

georgimama Thu 24-Jul-08 21:35:12

I can only think of one thing worse than having a child you don't really want, and that's having aborted a child you wish you'd kept.

Ditto what everyone above said, hard as this may seem, it isn't up to you to fix it. All you can do is offer support (and vent on here as much as you want!) and let them make the decisions.

paolosgirl Thu 24-Jul-08 21:35:15

I'm sure you haven't, but please - do not suggest a termination on the grounds that you've just described. Mark is absolutely right - counselling, with all the options - proceeding, adoption, fostering and termination is probably what they need most right now.

CarGirl Thu 24-Jul-08 21:35:40

The way to handle it is to offer you their support whatever they decide to. You have to let them make their own decision.

harpomarx Thu 24-Jul-08 21:36:51

I am sure if neither are really happy about the pregnancy they will have considered this. All you can do is offer your support - whether they decide to go ahead with the pregnancy or not.

SpinningEm Thu 24-Jul-08 21:37:36

hard place I feel for you as am thinking ahead when my dc are that age. It's never going to be easy x

orangehead Thu 24-Jul-08 21:43:54

I dont think it is your place to mention it. If they bring it up and ask your opinion than fair enough but if you bring it up and they have no intention you could really offend. Best to just say you will support them with what ever happens.
I dont know them, but sometimes with support the most unlikely people to be good parents can be good parents. Maybe you should have a bit of faith in them

hardplace Thu 24-Jul-08 21:52:24

It's so early on that neither of them have thought about anything at all, yet, except that it'll be OK because muggins here will sort them out.

Interesting all this advice on staying out of it - a predictable response, hence my warning that this might offend - but I am not an evil MIL, I have given them untold amounts of support for the past three years (probably way too much) but this 'unplanned' pregnancy is a last ditch attempt to keep a relationship that is highly unstable together. The girlfriend is unbelievably dependent on my son, my son is way out of his depth, and I am appalled at the prospect of a child being born into a situation that is already 'at risk'.

I will suggest counselling, for both or even for her alone. It's very early days and the situation is very volatile, so they may begin to consider their options for themselves as the reality begins to hit home.

I will also offer support, regardless, but I am not going to fuel the fantasy that they seem to be creating that having a baby is the answer to their romantic prayers.

TheJenster Thu 24-Jul-08 21:54:29

The experiences I have had of this are:
If you introduce the topic of termination and 'facilitate' this in any way,you may be resented for it. And guess what, 6-12 months later you may be told about another pregnancy that is too late to terminate.
Second thing is sometimes challenging situations can 'make' people grow up and be responsible. I have encountered/witnessed both of these so please feel optimistic, even if they choose to go down the route you may feel isnt the best at this moment.

gooseegg Thu 24-Jul-08 21:54:50

I would go to the hospital to visit that poor sick, scared, girl, with a present of some fresh pjs, dressing gown, magazines, good toiletries and some fizzy pop, and give her a gentle motherly hug. And mean it when you tell then both that you are there to offer support in whatever way they would like you to.

georgimama Thu 24-Jul-08 21:56:26

I don't think anyone is suggesting that you are "evil" or that an unplanned pregnancy is the answer to their romantic prayers, but if they get rid of this baby, even if that is the "right" thing to do for them, and they feel that you pushed them one inch into it, they will blame you. Because it's easier to blame you.

So don't let them, be supportive of whatever they decide, but don't be their whipping boy.

Having this baby may not be the total disaster you anticipate. At the same time that I found out I was pregnant with DS, my nephew and his girlfriend found out that she was pregnant. This was NOT planned. They were only teenagers. They have made a go of it. Your son could too.

columbolover Thu 24-Jul-08 21:59:00

They really need your support just now. Imagine you suggest a termination and they say "no". What could that do to your relationship with your ds if they go on to have the baby and things work out for them. Not saying he will, but he may end up resenting you for the lack of support.
Being neutral, offering support, suggesting counselling as others have said is the way to go.
Loads of people have dc at 19 with hardly any money etc and get there in the end if that is what they want.
If she is very unwell with sickness, and with their current circumstances, she may have already fleetingly considered a termination.
Feel for you, am already dreading this kind of thing with ds.

TarkaLiotta Thu 24-Jul-08 21:59:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hardplace Thu 24-Jul-08 22:00:50

I've been to the hospital, and done the motherly thing, and I saw a terrified underweight child lying in a hospital bed with no other family to visit her. I asked her, very gently, how she felt about being pregnant and the only response I got was a defiant 'I'm not having an abortion'.

If I was her mother I'd bring her home, feed her up and tell the boyfriend to feck off. But I'm not her mother. I'm the boyfriend's mother.

Nor am I planning on sweeping in guns blazing to force anything - credit me with some sensitivity.

hardplace Thu 24-Jul-08 22:02:43

Thanks Tarka - that's useful!

morningpaper Thu 24-Jul-08 22:03:17

How does this:

> neither are really happy about the pregnancy, which was not planned in any way.

Fit with this:

> but this 'unplanned' pregnancy is a last ditch attempt to keep a relationship that is highly unstable together


georgimama Thu 24-Jul-08 22:03:23

Not sure what you want us to say then hardplace, I think we are crediting you with some sensitivity, but you were the one who said you thought they should consider termination. If she doesn't want a termination, then there is nothing you can do. To attempt to persuade her would be horribly wrong.

hellymelly Thu 24-Jul-08 22:04:41

She has no family,she is sick,her relationship is tricky,no wonder she is scared! It would seem she doesn't want a termination as surely she would be having one if that was the case? She needs some kindness and love,young mums can be amazing and the most flakey of us can be transformed by motherhood.It sounds as though it is you who doesn't want the baby,and although all your concerns are valid I guess,that is what comes accross most in your message.I think you should separate what you want from what they want and support them regardless.In a years time if they have the baby you will be a grandma and probably totally in love.

hardplace Thu 24-Jul-08 22:06:00

How does this:

> neither are really happy about the pregnancy, which was not planned in any way.

Fit with this:

> but this 'unplanned' pregnancy is a last ditch attempt to keep a relationship that is highly unstable together

MP - you're an intelligent woman, you work it out.

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