If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re an expectant young mama. Congratulations!
I am here to tell you: you are not alone. Nearly 500,000 teens become pregnant each year in the United States. I know that this is a frightful time for you, but get excited: this is the start of the rest of your life. Here are a few essential steps you should take toward becoming a responsible mother.
First Steps for a Pregnant Teen Mom
#1: Tell Someone
Find a trusted friend, adult or counselor and vent to them. It is so hard to do this alone. Look around in your community, find other girls your age who are going through the same thing, and try to connect with them.
#2: Set Up Your First Prenatal Appointment
This is so important. At your first prenatal appointment, the doctor will confirm your pregnancy and talk to you about any concerns you may have. You can also expect an ultrasound to be performed so the doctor can pinpoint your estimated due date. A nurse will draw blood in order to run several tests, including for a blood count, HIV, syphilis, and cystic fibrosis. If you are not entirely ready to share the big news with your family, call your doctor and ask about a confidential appointment. Oftentimes these can be provided to teens, and it will prevent parents from getting any information about your visits.
#3: Tell Your Parents
This can be the toughest thing to do during your pregnancy, and it’s easier said than done. Some parents may be more understanding than others. Some may yell or cry. Try to be prepared for anything. Whatever their reaction, your parents love you, so they will eventually come around. Try and put yourself in their shoes and think about the emotions they might experience. If it makes you feel more comfortable, have the baby’s father or another trusted family member come with you. If you are not ready to face them at all, try breaking the news in a letter.
#4: Consider Deleting Your Social Media
I made the decision to delete all of my accounts once my son was born. I completely disconnected from my social networks, and it was amazing. I was able to focus on my son, and I believe it helped change me for the better. Taking that time alone with your child when he or she is a newborn is so important. Eliminating social media will make a huge difference in your life and help you form that close connection between you and your child.
#5: Get a Job
If you are not already employed, seek employment immediately. A baby is expensive, you should start saving as soon as possible. Try to work up until you give birth and save all of your checks. With enough money saved, you will have the opportunity to take some time off when the baby is born and focus on bonding with your child.
Remember, you are not alone! These nine months will seem like a never-ending, bumpy road, but the moment you hold your child for the very first time, it’s as if all of the struggles, drama, and hardship disappear.