Your 14-year-old daughter tells you she's pregnant. Go.

What would you do if your 14-year-old daughter came to you and told you that she was pregnant?

Have you ever thought through this situation? I hadn’t. And I have a 14-year-old daughter. And this is despite the fact that I when I was her age, teen pregnancy and abortion, wasn’t uncommon. It was just unspoken.

Weirdly, I was already writing this article after seeing a thread on Reddit. You know Reddit? The place that you should absolutely, positively, NEVER read the comments?

The question that was asked there was this:

Your 14-year-old tells you she’s pregnant – how do you respond!?

Do you support her? Do you kick her out? Do you advise abortion? What would be your reaction and why?

Then last night as chance would have it, I sat down and watched my current television obsession, Puberty Blues and wouldn’t you know, the central theme was teenage pregnancy.

Puberty Blues is set in the 70s, a time of free love and freedom. Still, it didn’t have to be set in 1976 for me to relate.

In the late eighties, when I was in high school, this was still happening, regularly. Just as I’m sure, it still happens today.

When I was in Year 9, I knew of at least 3 girls who got pregnant and subsequently, had abortions. This number increased the older I became.

One of my good friends at the time was pregnant at 15 and being front and centre, watching her beautiful family implode because of this and the decisions they made on her behalf, was horrendous. I’m not sure they ever quite recovered. Her parents were both totally unprepared for this kind of situation, fully believing that their daughter was still dancing around her bedroom, singing into her hairbrush to Locomotion. They certainly weren’t aware that she was having sex.  The worst thing though, was that they both felt like that they had let their daughter down somehow. That it was their fault.

And if you think that your own daughter could or would never be involved in ‘such a thing’, then you need to think again. Peer pressure and the dynamics of teenage relationships are so very complex.


Our reaction as adults though, doesn’t have to be.

And yet, even writing and discussing this also comes from a possibly tormented point of view. I am adopted. My own teenaged mother gave birth to me at a very young age. Was it her decision? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure, but evidence suggests that being from a very Catholic family, her options weren’t entirely open. I am very well aware though that had she wanted it badly enough, even in the 70s, that she did have an alternative. And I am so very grateful that she didn’t take it.

Yet, the question remains, if my own daughter walked up to me right now and told me that she was pregnant, what would I do?

If you were to look at the answers to the original question on Reddit you’d be surprised. For a place that is notoriously trading in the lowest common denominator, the comments surprised me. And made me regain my faith in human nature a little.

Here are a few examples:

“The first thing I would do is tell her I love her. I would tell her we will work through this together. I would make sure she knows that everyone makes mistakes and sometime life doesn't work out the way you wish it would. But life goes on. I would tell her that what is done is done and I would help her through making whatever decision she chose and help her in any way I can.”

“Support, love, and information.”

“Breathe. Tell you love her and that you'll talk about this once you've had some time to think. Come back and talk to her after you calmed down. Ask her if she knew what she wanted to do in regards to the pregnancy and go from there. If she wanted to keep it, there would be conversations about the feasibility of that. If she was leaning towards adoption or abortion, then I'd happily embrace that and start looking into the best agencies/doctors in the area.

If it's a son coming to me with this information, I'd tell them I loved them and we'd just have to wait and see. Because that's his only option.”

I mean, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t these kind of comments too:

“You figure out how you failed and prevent making it worse”

“Kick her the fuck out”

But you know, I guess the thing is, if your child is coming to tell you, then you need to understand that they have already taken the most terrifying step. They are well aware that there will be consequences yet they also must feel safe enough to tell you. And that is massive.

They need to know that there is a safe haven. That there will be no judgment and that it is, despite what it feels like right now, not the end of their world.

I personally hope that I would ask her what she wanted to do. Present her with her options, scenarios and the relevant information and then take it from there. Regardless of age, it is her body, her life and I think, armed with the right information and support, she should make her own decision.

Would you let her make her own decision? What would you do?