To the Parents of Pregnant Teenager Daughters

Sometime in the last day, or weeks, or months, your daughter has been faced with many decisions. The moment those two little lines appeared on the stick that she purchased with her allowance, she had to decide whether to run or stay. She had to decide whether to tell the world or keep her “condition” a secret. She had to decide whether or not to stay in school or look for a job. She had to decide if she would become a mother, terminate the pregnancy, or choose adoption. She had to decide how to tell the father and her best friend. She had to think about college and her future. She has had her entire world shaken and now, after all of this uncertainty, she has come to you.

Of all the decisions she is facing, you only have one to make. Will you stand by her or turn her away. That is it. You do not have to choose whether or not she will keep the baby or choose another option. You do not have to decide what her future holds. You only have to decide if you will hold onto your role as her mother or walk away. This choice is yours and yours alone. Release yourself from all concerns of stigmatization and fears. Realize that this is your only choice to make regarding your teenage daughter. The rest is hers to decide.

Do not make this decision quickly or without serious consideration. You are hurt. You are scared. You may even be ashamed. But, ask yourself why are you feeling this way? Do you believe that your daughter intentionally harmed you? Do you believe that you have some reasons to be afraid? Your only role in this is to decide what relationship you want with your child. That is it. That is not hurtful or scary. As a mother or father, you have been making this decision every day. Ashamed? Did you encourage your daughter to become pregnant? Did you announce the pregnancy standing in your pajamas at a formal dinner? This is not your “shame” so you do not get to carry it. The pregnancy belongs to your daughter. Whether or not it is viewed as a shame or a blessing will be based on her way of presenting her pregnancy.

Now, do not get me wrong, I felt all of these emotions on the morning that not one but two of my teenagers told me that I would be a grandmother. Both my son’s girlfriend (18) and my daughter (17) took pregnancy tests and informed me at the same time! Immediately I became scared for them. How would their lives be now that they would have to focus on raising children? What would others say about them or about our family? How could they possibly handle children when they were but children themselves? How could they put us in this position? Oh, I was hurt, scared, ashamed, and maybe even a little bit angry.

Our waitress came to the table as all of these emotions flooded through my mind. My heart was aching and my hands were shaking. When she asked what I wanted, all I could say was “two virgins and two negative pregnancy tests. But since I am not getting that, two eggs over medium will do.”

Everyone at the table laughed and the waitress stepped away from what was obviously a family moment. The laughter has never stopped. I made a decision right then that I would stand by my children.

However, I have not been perfect in my plight to stand by them without standing in their way and there are things I wish someone would have told me. I mean, I was a teenage mother and I guess I should have known a few things about it, but if I could have heard these words, a few things may have gone a bit smoother:

  1. Your child still needs you: I know you feel displaced right now but they are trying to figure out what it means for them to become a parent. Give them time and be there.
  2. Your child needs you differently: They no longer need you to tell them things but rather to show them without appearing to be parenting! This is tricky but it is important.
  3. You do not have to stop your life: If you stop living at any stage of parenting, your child will believe that they have to do the same. If your fear was that they would be limited in their life by this pregnancy, then stopping your own life will only realize this fear.
  4. Forgive: I mean forgive everyone. Forgive your child for whatever you feel they have done wrong. Forgive your child for whatever decisions they make. Forgive yourself for believing that it was wrong. Forgive others for having an opinion. Forgive because, if not, you will never move forward.
  5. Be involved: Yes, this is your child’s child but, this is YOUR grandchild! I mean seriously! You are young enough to enjoy everything! Buy the loud toys! Feed them late night chocolate! Do everything!

I know this is not how you planned your story. This is not how you planned your child’s life. This is not how you envisioned being told that you are becoming a grandparent. But our stories are written as we go. In an interview with author Nabila Fairuz, blogger  TooFulltoWrite reports the author as stating that the middle part is the hardest because you have to “eradicate the loopholes.” Life also does not come with an outline, as Fairuz stated in the interview, how it began and how it ends is easy. It is the middle that is so difficult to figure out and when life throws us curveballs, it is our task to determine how we will allow these to affect the other moments in our life.

You have a decision to make. When your child becomes a parent, where do you want to stand?

Whatever you decide, remember, you are only accountable for your own decisions!

“Gigi”

Do not Stop Fighting: They are your Children!

I am a member of several groups on Facebook regarding the fight against CPS. I acknowledge that many of you may still be under the misconception that Child Protective Services is in place to “save” children and, in some rare instances, this is true. However, from our experience and the experiences of many others, there is a broken and corrupt system at play here that is systematically reassigning children for profit. Now, I do not intend to debate with anyone, at least not at this point, the logistics of the system, the money trail, or the abuse in foster care. Instead, I want you all to take a moment and pray for the families who are struggling with losing their children. The mothers who have jumped through the impossible hoops of “improvement plans” only to face termination of their parental rights. The addicts who have gotten clean. Those who have never had a drug problem. The mothers and fathers who have lost their children due to the behaviors of their significant others who they have left at the first sign of trouble.

I read the posts online and I see the despair. I read the articles about mothers and fathers who have taken their own lives in the face of losing their children. Did you know, if they ask for mental health aid during a CPS case that this is used against them to show instability? Would you need therapy if your children were ripped from your dinner table? Would that show you as being unfit or so loving that you cannot imagine your life without your children? Is it wrong that mothers and fathers define their identity as such?

I read of a woman who had been clean from drugs for many years yet, someone accused her of using again. She tested clean but because she had a history of drug use, the state took her children to “be safe” and promised to return them once they were sure that she was clean. Many years later, still fighting the system, she gave up. She gave them what they wanted. She returned to drugs and once they had broken her, they adopted her children to another family.

They will try to break you. They will use every ounce of your past against you. They will bring up things that have nothing to do with your ability to parent. They will make your love for your children look like your weakness or your ability to remain calm look like a lack of caring. They will try everything that they can to keep your children once they have them.

These are the realities of CPS. These are scary facts that may make you wonder how I can say to keep fighting. Why not give up if they are going to keep going? The answer is simple:

These are your children!

Be mad. Be angry. Be hurt. Be sad. But do not alter in your presentation of yourself. Do not be weak inside because they will use it against you. Do not give up! Do not give them what they want, your children, without a fight because there is hope. We are hope. Right now, the children who they tried to steal are eating breakfast and planning out the day. We are still recovering. There are still questions. But we are getting through it as a family. You will too. So please, to the men and women who are considering giving up, who are considering suicide or drugs, your children need to know now, more than ever, that you will not give up on them!

My heart aches for these families. Please, take a moment to educate yourself on what is happening in our country and around the world. Please take a moment to pray for those who are sad and uplift those who need a hand.

Be a friend. Lend an ear. Make a change.

“Gigi”

A Real Date Night for the NewlyWeds: A Mother’s Worries for the Years to Come

Tonight, as I sit and listen to the rain, our happy newlyweds are out on the town dining and spending time together. For most mothers, this would be a moment of happiness. A moment where I realize that my daughter has found the one who makes her smile. A moment where I am thankful that the two of them waited to put the children to bed before heading out because they do not want to miss a moment with them. A moment where I am smiling because my daughter is finally with a man who has family values is committed to her and her children and puts the needs of others before his own. For all of these things, I am happy and thankful.

But it is in this happiness, this gratitude, that I find my concerns. You see, in eleven days, my daughter will be waving to an airplane that will take her new husband on a journey to Japan where he will spend the next 24 months. She will proudly speak of her marine who is serving his country and find comfort among the many support groups related to those who are missing their loved ones who serve. They will face time when possible and send sweet letters or packages to one another. He will continue to use Amazon to send gifts to her and the children (Amazon actually wraps or uses gift bags!) while she continues to make silly “open when” cards to stay in touch and show him how much she misses him. And they will count down the days until they see each other again.

I see her so happy right now and want to just enjoy this time. But, as mothers, we know to always have a plan. To always think ahead. In this mentality, I sit here wondering how hard this will be for them and how I can make it easier for her. Of course, there is nothing that I can do to change the situation, but I am sure as Hell gonna try to help time pass. Hmmm, I am thinking lots of vacations and beach therapy. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all (Just Kidding, Mikey!!!)

But seriously, this will be hard. I wish I could take away the hard parts of life for her. But instead, I will just sit here and wonder. I will plan. And I will pray.

 

To all the men and women who sacrifice on either side of this, I send my thoughts and gratitude!

“Gigi”

 

 

 

 

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