Having a new baby requires a lot of adjustments and changes in the family. In a normal situation, these changes can be tiring, but it is rewarding as well. But in the case wherein your teenage child is the one having her baby, it is an entirely different story. She may even need online therapy to support her mental health during this difficult stage in her life.
Though teenage pregnancy is quite a trend these days, parents of the teenager are also having a hard time coping with the new setup. “Single pregnant women can get social and emotional support from friends, family and community members, and from mental health professionals. Such non-partner sources of support have been found to have a significant positive impact when utilized correctly and they should follow similar guidelines,” Guy Winch Ph.D. explains.
The moment your teenage child tells you that she’s having a baby, your feelings would run wild. It is understandable that frustration and disappointment would first sink in. In the later run, some parents would dwell on denial, or embarrassment while some would carry the guilt of not guiding their child correctly. “Previous research has attributed a girl’s increased risk of pregnancy to the possible consequences of a father leaving–lower family income, conflict at home and weak parental monitoring.”
But then, emotions are just emotions. They can do nothing to change the situation. Thus, it is best to set these feelings aside and think of the things that could help your child cope, adjust and accept the new role that she will be playing. Bear in mind that this situation is not about your child now but also on the baby that she is carrying.
Someone in the family should act as the neutral one to sort through the situation and get the solution needed.
Your Child’s Feelings
You may be disappointed. That’s understandable being a parent and all. But you also need to consider what your child is also feeling at the moment. At first, you need to understand that your kid is terrified with your probable reaction that is why she kept it from you for quite some time. Carrying a secret does no good especially since your daughter knows that in the end, it will be disappointing for you, her parent. And there is also this uncertainty of what will happen to her and the future once the baby is born. “In recognizing the need to help mothers cope with the challenge of being mothers, family members and friends have to recognize that love and support are usually what women in crisis need most,” Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. notes.
On the part of teenage fathers, the responsibility and the guilt can be overwhelming. With this, the parents of a teenage father should also help the child and support him with his duties.
Pregnant teenage mothers, just like any other mother, need proper medical attention and care. This will help them have physically healthy babies, but a lack thereof can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Fetal death
- Low birth-weight child
- Delivery complications
Once you learn that your child is pregnant, get her the proper prenatal care at once so that her chances of having a successful pregnancy would be high.
During the very first prenatal exam, your pregnant daughter should be examined thoroughly. Urine and blood tests are mandatory for pregnant women. Then tests for rubella, sexually transmitted diseases, mumps, and measles should also be given out.
Other than that, your daughter should be educated with the following:
- The importance of prenatal care and being aware of her schedule
- Physical and emotional changes
- How to deal with the inconveniences brought about by pregnancy
Other than this, she should be educated with the importance of vitamins and other supplements for herself and the baby as well.
The teenage mother should also be educated in terms of lifestyle change. This is important for her health, her pregnancy, and the baby.
- No smoking
- No drinking
- No drugs
- No more than 200 mg of caffeine intake per day
- Should eat right
- Should have enough rest
- No to unsafe sex
The teenage mother should be aware of proper nutrition as well. Eat foods that are not only good for her but also the baby as well. The diet is more on vegetables, fruits, and grains. The following should be included in the pregnant teenager’s diet throughout her pregnancy:
- Folic acid
Drinking the right amount of water (ask the OB-GYNE about this) and cutting down calorie intake are also very much recommended.
Pregnant women and this includes the teenage mothers as well, should also engage in exercise activities. This is not only good for the body, but it also conditions the body for the big day. This will keep the body energized and healthy.
Exercise doesn’t mean extreme workouts that are usually done in the gym. Simple walking and stretching will do. Physical exercises that do not require pressure and intense workout are recommended, but before the teenage mother starts with any type of activity, consult the OB-GYNE first.
Teenage pregnancy can bring in a lot of stress. Emotions are unstable, the pressure of getting things done for the baby can be overwhelming, the medical expenses are high, and the changes are abrupt which is difficult to manage emotionally and mentally. This will trigger stress and stress can be very harmful to both mother and baby. Ann Diamond Weinstein Ph.D. notes that, “There is increasing evidence that suggests that the intentional use of stress reduction skills during the preconception, prenatal and early parenting periods lessens the negative impacts of stress on mothers-to-be and their developing babies.”
These issues cannot be avoided especially in teenage pregnancies, but they must be faced and settled. However, the teenager must be guided throughout this time. She should also be taught how to manage her stress for her own sake and for her baby’s, as well.
There are prenatal classes for soon-to-be mothers. These classes will teach them how to prepare themselves for delivery day, how to handle their baby and so much more. These classes will increase their awareness of motherhood.
Being a mother is a new responsibility. Even those who are already adults can become confused and frustrated. So how much more with those teenage mothers who are unprepared?
With this, guidance from the parents is needed. It may be frustrating, but then again, for the benefit of your child, emotions must be set aside and let your unconditional love reign.