Teen girl worried about how to tell her parents she's pregnantYou didn’t plan for this to happen, but here you are with a positive pregnancy test and a heart full of worry. Feeling scared, confused, or like you are letting people down is normal. Your mind is probably swirling with questions and “what-ifs.”
Now, it’s time to break the news of your unplanned pregnancy to your parents. Of course, you want your parents in your corner, so the thought of disappointing them can be terrifying.
Even if you are close with your parents – even if they know you are sexually active – this news may come as a shock to them. You can’t say for sure how they will react. As you prepare for this big conversation, remember you are not alone. You don’t have to figure everything out by yourself.
If you’re nervous about telling your parents and family about your unplanned pregnancy because you’re not sure how they’ll react, we’re here to help. Call or text us at 1-800-923-6784 if you need support right now.

Having the Talk

Before you talk to your parents, consider what you want to say to them. Try jotting down what you’re feeling and thinking. Then, you can glance at what you have written when you have the conversation.
These six tips can help you keep the discussion about your pregnancy news moving in a positive direction:

  1. Do some soul-searching.
  2. How do you feel about your pregnancy? Even though your pregnancy is unplanned, can you picture your life with a child? Could choosing adoption be the right path for you? Before you bring other people’s emotions and opinions into the equation, decide how you feel about your situation.

    Despite what your parents may say or insist on, how you proceed with your pregnancy is up to you. Your parents can’t make you get an abortion even though you’re young.

  3. Research.
  4. No matter what your parents, friends, or baby’s father says, you have options, including parenting, abortion, and adoption. Find out what resources are available for each course of action.

    Once you know the facts, you can approach your choices with maturity and make informed decisions. Your parents will feel better about following your lead when they see how much thought you have invested.

  5. Plan responses for different scenarios.
  6. Your parents are sure to have many questions about how you will handle your unplanned pregnancy. Rehearse your responses for the various paths you may decide to take. Will the father be involved? Will you be able to raise your child with support? Without support? Are you open to adoption? Having plans to address multiple scenarios will make you feel more confident during this conversation.

  7. Choose the right place and the right time
  8. Let’s face it – there is no perfect time to have this conversation. But there are factors you can control in order to give this topic the attention it deserves. Plan a time when you and your parents can meet in a safe space and will not be rushed.

    Choose a setting where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their questions and reactions. Make sure everyone has time to let the information sink in. You shouldn’t deliver this news when someone is walking out the door or when you are in the midst of an argument.

    Give yourself some time to prepare for this important conversation, but don’t wait too long. Your pregnancy will progress whether or not you are ready to talk about it. It’s best to have this talk as early as possible.

  9. Listen to your parents
  10. Give your parents the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns. They may even need a little time to vent. Truly listen to what they have to say. If they feel heard and validated, they may reciprocate and end up being more supportive of your decisions, whether or not you see eye to eye.

  11. Continue the dialogue
  12. This is not a one-time conversation. Once the initial shock has worn off, and everyone has had some time to process, you and your parents can schedule future discussions about your plans. Consider opening the conversation to other trusted people in your life. Your family’s pastor or friends who share your faith could offer additional resources or a unique perspective. Take it all in, but don’t feel pressured to make any big decisions during these initial conversations. Regardless of the support and advice you receive, this is ultimately your choice.

Is Adoption Right for Me?

When it comes to adoption, your first thought might be, “I could never give my baby away!” However, adoption isn’t giving your baby away. Adoption is giving your baby a life, a stable family, and a future. This short video shares more:


Preparing for How Family Members May React

Remember that your parents’ first reaction may not represent how they truly feel. When people are caught off guard, they can freeze or be at a loss for words. Some people react before they have time to think. Even the most supportive parents can respond harshly at first.
You have had more time to process this information than they have, so give them time to adjust to the news. You may find that your parents end up being your most significant source of strength during this part of your life.
In the meantime, you can speak with caring professionals by calling or texting Lifetime’s pregnancy hotline at 1-800-923-6784. They will offer you compassionate, non-judgmental support and guidance as you decide on the best course of action for your unplanned pregnancy.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 20, 2020, and has since been updated. 

Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston