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Coping with an Adult Child’s Unexpected Pregnancy

Are you a mom or dad of an adult who’s experiencing an unexpected pregnancy?  Chances are, you (and your daughter) are wrestling with a wide range of emotions. Feelings of shock, frustration, excitement, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, and joy are all possible responses.  How do you offer your adult child the emotional and practical support that she needs while respecting her independence?  And how do you process and heal from your own complex feelings related to this pregnancy?

Avenue Women’s Center is an excellent resource for women coping with an unexpected pregnancy, and those they include on this journey.  We’re a first-step limited medical clinic. We are committed to empowering women of all ages with the information and support they need to make a fully-informed pregnancy decision.

Learn more about our services, which include (but are not limited to) lab-quality pregnancy tests, limited medical ultrasounds, and pregnancy consultations.  All services are free and confidential!

Processing These Circumstances and Receiving Support

Empathizing with children comes naturally to most parents.  An unexpected pregnancy may be an emotionally difficult experience for your family.  And it’s important to acknowledge how you and your daughter are feeling about these new circumstances.  Your emotions are valid.  Processing through them is likely going to be an important part of your own journey toward acceptance and healing.  Consider confiding in someone with an impartial perspective (like a faith leader or mental health counselor), or someone who has a similarly close relationship with your daughter (like a spouse).  It’s wise to speak with your adult child before revealing her sensitive news to a family member. And it’s important to respect her wishes and privacy.  She’s probably feeling vulnerable as it is, and breaking her trust could have harmful results.  But it’s critical that you have a support system to help you cope.  Use your best judgment, and perhaps some feedback from your adult child, to find appropriate avenues of support.

Talking with Your Adult Child About Her Pregnancy

Naturally, you may wish to have conversations with your daughter about her pregnancy.  Expressing yourself genuinely while avoiding rash or critical speech may be a good approach.  It can be difficult to respond with compassion if you don’t agree with your daughter’s decisions, especially the first time she makes her pregnancy known to you.  So, if you need time to think through your feelings before communicating them, it’s okay to let your daughter know this.  Listen to her perspective and ask her what she needs.  Your presence and caring support may be the sweetest, most impactful gift you could offer.

Coping with Your Daughter’s Pregnancy Decision

Your daughter has autonomy and responsibility over her own pregnancy decision.  If you don’t agree with her choice, this can be a tough pill to swallow.  It’s important to accept that you aren’t accountable for the outcome, although you may wish to express your point of view in a kind and respectful way.  No matter what happens, your adult child will always have an essential need for love and encouragement. Don’t miss this chance to be a valuable support to her through this challenging season of her life.  Although it may not feel this way in the moment, her pregnancy is an opportunity for growth in both your lives, and in your parent-child relationship.

When women and their loved ones visit one of Avenue’s six centers, they’ll be met with warmth and compassion.  We’ve been helping women navigate the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy for over 40 years, and we’d love to be a part of your support system too. 

Schedule an appointment or walk in!  Receive the knowledge and resources you need to take your best steps forward!

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.