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Pregnant teenager...don't know what to do.

(25 Posts)
Baconandeggsarnie Thu 22-Nov-12 11:37:47

My almost 17yr old daughter is pregnant. She has always been 'challenging' and the last year with her has been absolutely horrendous. I thought we were over the worst and that she would finally settle down, but now this.

She has a very volatile relationship with her bf (who is very immature, smokes weed and has an unhappy home life) and I don't think either of them are mature enough to bring up a baby.

We've told her we'll support her whatever she decides, and she says she's still thinking but I'm pretty sure she plans to continue the pregnancy. She's doing travel and tourism at college but says she wants to leave and get a job in a shop so that she can return after the baby is born. I don't know what she thinks she is going to do with the baby! I have told her I can't look after the baby for her (I work full time and can't afford/don't want to leave) but she still doesn't seem to understand that she would have to pay for childcare in order to work. She says she wants to move out, but she doesn't earn any money, and her bf has a rubbish cash in hand mechanic type job (not actually learning the trade, just a mechanic's helper really). I don't know how she thinks she can move out. Where to? I can't see his family wanting anything to do with her.

We wouldn't mind her staying here, but our relationship has been strained to breaking point this last year, and with this on top I don't think it's going to work. She wants the responsibility of being an adult but still wants me to mother her when it suits her, still behaving like a stroppy child. I think she envisages me continuing to cook, clean, do her washing, give her lifts everywhere at a moments notice, hand out money etc. while she looks after her own child. She defies all our house rules now as she thinks they no longer apply to her ("I can do what I like now!") and we feel powerless in our own home. And if we're honest, my husband and I really don't want to go back to having a baby in the house. We were younger parents ourselves, but we are just beginning to enjoy a bit of freedom now our children are older, and I've just rebuilt my career after years of having no money, and we really don't want to start again. We certainly wouldn't want DD treating our home like lodgings and I wouldn't want her bf living with us. I have an older daughter (20) and a young son (12) to think about too.

Any advice please?

minifingers Thu 22-Nov-12 12:21:42

Has she been to the doctor yet? Is she open to having any family planning counselling? Do you think this would be a good idea while she's still in a position to make a choice about the pregnancy?

If she does decide to go ahead and have the baby, hopefully you will have access to a midwife who specializes in teenage pregnancy, who could guide your dd towards support and information about childcare, housing and benefits. In our area they have a specialist case-loading team for young mums, and they're very knowledgeable.

Your dd will need to take control over her life increasingly in the next couple of years and the learning curve is going to be very steep. I think your attitude is very sensible - to acknowledge that you won't be able to parent her, and also parent her child for her, and that she needs to understand this.

Will be interested to know how you all get on.

Baconandeggsarnie Thu 22-Nov-12 12:40:09

I think the counselling would be a very good idea but she's very hostile to my suggestions at the moment. She wont go to the GP either. Where could I arrange neutral counselling for her? I know they do it at the BPAS clinics but I don't want her to feel like I'm pushing her one way or the other. Thanks for replying.

minifingers Thu 22-Nov-12 14:35:26

Hmm, don't know.

Wonder if the teenage parent board on mumsnet would offer any useful advice or support! Maybe direct your dd to it....

Baconandeggsarnie Thu 22-Nov-12 15:10:23

I'll try that, thanks.

MiniMonty Sat 24-Nov-12 04:50:30

Is anyone going to quickly and loudly say the word "abortion" out loud ?

A baby at 17 in the circumstances you describe ?
No way...
Sounds like a plan to consign herself to the underclass of British society for the next sixty years. This is just what Marie Stopes set herself up to protect against !

If she were my daughter / niece / sister / cousin / friend I would firmly recommend a termination and to be frank I would rally all the support of family, (her) friends and anyone else I could to rally to this cause.

If she is living in your house you can and must cajole her into some kind of counselling so that she has a chance to properly understand what lies ahead.
Take an absolutely firm view - get a grip on this situation (at 17 she is still a minor) and if you can't get through then appeal to someone she will listen to or who she trusts to intercede - force something positive to happen for her - meaning she is very quickly exposed to the reality of her situation and ALL the VERY LONG TERM implications therein.

Weed smoking bloke won't hang around or suddenly turn into a top bloke - so we're left with very young single mother with baby - suddenly she's looking at a long term rubbish version of life instead of travel and tourism as she explores the world and all it has to offer instead of crappy endless nights in a lonely flat with a screaming fatherless child.

Get the facts through to this girl pronto.

FellatioNelson Sat 24-Nov-12 05:10:09

I agree with everything MM says.

I would be screaming the A word from the rooftops I'm afraid. OK, so she may not listen (probably won't in fact) but at least there is a chance. I think you need to be extremely firm and clear with her about what you will and won't accept out of this situation in terms of changes in your own life. You have said that you will 'support' her whatever she decides, but unfortunately what she will be taking from that is the message that she can call all the shots and you will just fall into line to make it as easy as possible for her.

Perhaps what she needs to hear is that you won't support her. That doesn't mean you will ostracise her, but that you will not support her either financially or practically. Tell her you cannot force her to terminate but you would strongly recommend it, and if she decides to go ahead she needs realise exactly what her life will entail and how she must deal it alone. Because that's what grown women with feckless baby fathers need to do. It's her life, her choice (of course) but also her problem. Don't let her make it yours. She needs to decide right now whether she is a woman or a child.

When you say you were 'young' parents, if you were under 20 then I think you are going to have a tough job persuading her that it is anything other than a fabulous idea to have a baby right now. She will look at you and her dad (assuming your DH is her dad) and think if you could do it, she can. And you might not have much of a leg to stand on there, I'm afraid.

Of course the reality is, that if this were my daughter, once I had got over the devastation that the PG was going ahead I'd probably fall over backwards to do as much as I could for her, for her and the baby's sake. Because doing it on her own (or with a useless partner who will probably not last the course) will be very tough and having good role models and a strong support network will hugely improve the outcomes for both of them. but my God, I'd rant and rave and plead and beg and threaten and do everything in my power to persuade her not to have the baby first.

ChesterCake Sat 24-Nov-12 05:30:42

You can't force the idea of abortion on anyone. If you push the idea of abortion too much and she thinks your forcing her into it you could end up loosing her altogether.

I say this as a 20 year old mother of a 8 month old son. My partner is the 'weed smoking boyfriend' he hasn't smoked anything since the day we found out I was pregnant.
I lived with my mum for the first 5 months of my sons life until we had enough savings to move into our own rented accommodation. My partner secured a job as a senior photographer and his wage is near the figure of our combined income last year.

I'm writing this to show it can be done, if she wants to keep her baby she needs your support, she needs to know you'll stand by her and help her. My parents have never helped me financially with regards to my son or with moving out, I've never asked them to buy even a single pack of nappies or wet wipes.

Having a baby could well make your daughter be the responsible adult you want her to be. Please just be there for her, let her know you will listen to her, accompany her to any medical appointments she asks you to and help her find the support she needs when she has decided what she wants to do. Explore all the options with her, help her understand the implications of a termination and of motherhood.

flow4 Sat 24-Nov-12 09:22:30

Just a quick comment Baconandegg, while I consider whether I have anything else useful to add...

BPAS don't push women to have abortions. They will give impartial advice, and if your DD really does want a baby, there won't be any pressure to have an abortion instead. This info booklet for young women is a starting point.

Twinnies10 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:10:51

Just wanted to add my story, I had my ds when I was 17, wasvery tough, my mam wanted me to have an abortion and if j am honest, ruined our relationship to this day, had a loser boyfriend who in fairness to him stuck around until ds was nearly one. Once I had him I grew up overnight, boyfriend didn't and I broke it off, he walked away and hasn't been seen since!! I stayed at home for a year and then started a college 100 miles away, the college was a great support and assisted financially to childcare, some colleges even have childcare on site, I am now a qualified accountant, am happily married to a great man, have two year old twins and another on the way! I really feel having my ds was the making of me, I wanted only the best for him and am quite proud that I feel I have given it to him, he is a great kid and my whole family idolise him, much more than all the other grandchildren, I'm not saying it was easy but if she is determined to have the baby, you'll just have to support her and let her learn from her pen mistakes, the bf will prob be gone and she will have to learn to fend for herself, at the start I only received lone parents and had to give half of it to my mother and cloths us both on the other half, you dd needs to realise quick that it her having the baby, will be her up at night walking the floors, cleaning up the sick etc etc but I do think you should be there to support, I remember once my mam saying it was my child and she wasn't giving up anything for it I.e work bingo etc and to this day I still wouldn't ask her for anything including for the twins, sorry I'm rambling now, all I'm saying is it might seem like the end of the world but it's really not, and with the support of a family she can still do college etc hope it works out for ye xx

gemblags1980 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:52:36

Hi I think you all need to get some advice, have you contacted your local pregnancy advice service ? They will able to give objective impartial advice to everyone and be able to provide GP services if your daughter does not want to visit her usual GP. It may also be worth contacting your local youth service as they may have a young parents to be programme if your daughter is pregnant and be able to support you as parents and support you as a family with referrals to other services such as housing etc, and if she is not pregnant they will able to advice her with regards to her sexual health etc.
Good luck

Mosman Tue 27-Nov-12 12:49:25

It's all very well saying your mum suggested an abortion and it ruined your relationship but she was still right to suggest it. However much you love your children you have limited your choices compared to not having them, that's a fact. Whatever you achieve from now onwards will be the hard way and nobody wants their daughter to do things the hard way. As parents yourself you must appreciate that surely ?

flow4 Tue 27-Nov-12 14:19:39

I dunno Mosman. I certainly wouldn't be happy if my DS (17) got someone pregnant, but sometimes I think it's swings and roundabouts...

One of my best friends at school got pregnant at 17, and everyone thought she'd 'ruined her life'... But now we're both in our 40s, there are very few differences between our lives (in fact, some may say hers is in better shape!) - she has 3 kids, a degree, a professional qualification as a midwife, a career, and a stable relationship... smile

Another friend had her two children at 15 and 17 shock... She also now has a degree and a career, and her kids are now 16 and 18, and are heading off to uni soon themselves, leaving her free to 'start afresh'... She's really excited about the possibilities, as am I about mine, but she'll be in her mid-thirties rather than early-50s, like me confused.

I'm not advocating having babies young.... But with family support, it doesn't have to be a disaster - just a different way of doing things. smile

Mosman Tue 27-Nov-12 14:26:53

Who knows what they might have achieved had they had the children later though, they may have reached even greater heights, they'll never know.

flow4 Wed 28-Nov-12 20:00:27

Of course. But isn't the same true of us all? If I'd had my first kid at 19 instead of 29, maybe I would have reached greater heights by now too? None of us ever know what might have been.

I think it's perfectly fair to say you won't have her and the baby living with you - if dd got pregnant she'd have to live elsewhere as I wouldn't want a baby living here as the house is tiny and the impact would be too great.

I'd happily go round her new place to offer support but I would be very clear that I'd be able to offer a bit of help outside working hours but that's it and she'd be on her own.

DudeInaTutu Wed 28-Nov-12 20:23:10

i sympathise - and while there are teen mums who go on to great things there are many more who dont.

i had DS at 19, but i was married by then too. its bloody hard work, and while i really took to motherhood easily, and had left home at 15, when i look back, i really have no idea how we managed sometimes, with very little money.

Your dd does not sound terribly mature, and i would also really stress the importance of counselling - she really needs to know what the reality is. Its hard with a partner, so if she is embarking on motherhood thinking she will go to work and carry on as before she needs to hear the truth.

i would feel pretty much as you do now OP, my DD is 15, and i feel like my dh and i are just getting our freedom back, work full time, have a bit of money. I would support my DD in anything, but i would not mother her baby for her if she, god forbid, had one now. I think its extremely important that she understands what she is doing and what your limitations will be in practical help.

i hope you can get her to counselling.

InNeedOfBrandy Wed 28-Nov-12 20:30:15

I got pregnant as I was just turning 17, kept it and had another with a 17month age gap.

I wish I could have my life back over again and not got pregnant and went to uni, instead I'm in my shitty council flat (well actually it's quite nice now) with a shitty job and no real career. Yes my dc are wonderful and amazing and I wouldn't be without them now but compared to my friends who all went on holidays 3/4 times a year, spent all their money on clothes instead of nappys, didn't have to worry about electric I know I would be screaming abortion if my dd ever got in my situation.

lia66 Wed 28-Nov-12 20:40:04

Op I feel for you I really do. Earlier this year my dd who we'd had lots of troubles with in recent years was seeing an older lad, she'd just turned 17, he was 19, just out of prison on licence. Dd hinted strongly to me that she was hoping to get pregnant, in fact I'm fairly certain she thought she was.

I have to say I told her in no uncertain terms that if she decided to choose to have a baby at her age with no prospects then she would be doing it on her own and I would not support her.

Friends always said I wouldn't go through with it but it's the one area where I would have stood firm, I had a very young baby myself, we didn't want another one in the house. Dd has 5 younger siblings, one of whom has been really hard work, she knows it's not all sweet cooing babies and cool prams.

I agree with mini you are her mother, you must tell her the truth, spell it out. Do you know for sure she is pregnant if she won't go the gp?

Good luck

stargirl1701 Wed 28-Nov-12 20:50:12

Is there someone else who could talk to her? An aunt, older cousin, friend of the family? Someone she looks up to/admires? She may listen to someone who knows her but isn't so emotionally involved.

Regarding your perspective, write her her a letter. Explain that you will not support her to raise this child. You will be a loving grandparent but not a parent to this baby. If she chooses to go ahead, which is her choice, then she chooses to be an adult. She needs to stand on her own two feet - emotionally and financially. Include details of Marie Stopes, BPAS, etc. so she knows these services are available. It could be leaflets/web addresses.

Good luck OP.

Mosman Wed 28-Nov-12 22:49:10

That lette will be whipped out every time something goes wrong whether she has the baby or not, say your piece but don't give her something to dwell on and hold against you for years.

Equimum Thu 29-Nov-12 07:26:01

Some NHS family planning clinics offer neutral counselling sessions for people who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. They're free and tend not to encourage either way. Can also make referrals onwards whatever the outcome.

Leafmould Mon 03-Dec-12 23:05:59

Teenage pregnancy midwives are brilliant. Just make her the appointment and frogmarch her along to it. You may find her responses a lot more reasonable when her choices are spelled out to her by an independent, impartial, professional, understanding and experienced midwife. She will try to prompt conversation between you, and give you both the opportunity to share how you think you will see all options panning out into the future.

Good luck. It sounds very stressful.

SirBoobAlot Mon 03-Dec-12 23:15:03

I was pregnant at 17, I'm now 21 with a three year old. I made the right decision for me.

The team at the family planning clinic were wonderful, gave me unbiased information, and offered support regardless on what I planned to do.

Best of luck to you both.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Mon 03-Dec-12 23:30:22

Firstly don't push the abortion idea, if she continues with the pregnancy she will permanently resent you and it will ruin your relationship as she'll never forget 'you never wanted little one'. Or she could continue with the pregnancy to spite you.
On the other hand don't push her to keep it, same thing happens there 'you ruined my life'

Basically i hate saying it but, you can't win. Just be there, point out that even 30somethings in perfect relationships end up single mums. So she needs to think if push comes to shove is she happy to do it on her own. Obviously fluff that up a bit more but you get the picture

Push the doc fact that they can help make a decision and give access to help as others have said.

Good luck xxx

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