How to Survive Teen Pregnancy – Parenting a Child who is a Parent

Teen Pregnancy

My oldest daughter is my mini me, so like me in all ways except in one, she became a mother at 15 years old, the dreaded teen pregnancy. I had her at age 25 and even then I felt unsure of myself and very nervous thinking about taking care of someone else. At 15 years old I was no way able to take on what she did, and not only was she taking on a big change in her life, so was I. I was going to be Parenting A Child Who Is A Parent. 

My daughter was Daddy’s girl until she was about 11. Then as she was going through puberty she started gravitating towards me. We had a great relationship, but the one big mistake I made was trying to be more her friend then her Mother.

My Mother and I had a very difficult relationship that didn’t get better until I was about 18; I think I was overcompensating for that situation with my Daughter. My Mom did it right, not my friend, my Mom who ticked me off, had rules I didn’t agree with, was hard on me and didn’t care if I liked it or not. It was frustrating and I don’t even know how many times I told her I hated her. What I also didn’t understand was she was trying to prevent me from being a statistic of teen pregnancy as she was at 19 years old.  The kicker, it helped mold me into a better person. I didn’t understand that until I was older and I have apologized to her many times for the way I acted to her. Even though I learned some great lessons from that experience I still swore I wasn’t going to be that hard on my children.  So, the epic fail, being more of a friend.

My Daughter and I talked about anything and everything. The biggest issue came when she got into boys around age 12 and by age 13 she had her first really serious boyfriend. I let her spend every minute of every day possible with him, took them out places and was just too easy on her. When she entered High School she met a guy who set off all of my “mom alarms”. There was just something about him that made me nervous. He was a year older; he had a driver’s license and a lot of freedom.  I tried keeping her from seeing him, but that backfired.

And it happened, she fell head over heels in love with him and wouldn’t you know it, she got pregnant.  It was a month after her 15th birthday when I found out.  Do you ever have that feeling that you know something is going to happen long before it happens?  Somewhere in the back of my mind since she was very young I had already seen this playing out in my mind a teen pregnancy, a challenging road, but a strong girl.  Physic abilities? I doubt it. Mother’s intuition? Maybe. So, when she told me she was pregnant it really didn’t surprise me. I handled it much better than I ever thought possible.  But what can you really do at that point? She was already pregnant and had already decided she wanted to keep her baby. Her father’s answer was that she should terminate her pregnancy. That was the start of downfall in their relationship. (That is another topic) She got so mad at him for that suggestion. She may have been 15 and still a minor, but I was not about to force my daughter through a termination when it was something I wouldn’t do myself. Luckily, I never had to make a decision like that. So the choices that were left were adoption or keeping her baby.  If she felt she wanted to put the baby up for adoption, I would have adopted it. There was no way I would have let that baby go. I was 40 at the time, so still young enough to have a baby around myself.  My answer to her was I would be there to help her, but this was her child and her responsibility. My daughter was going to be a teen pregnancy statistic.

She had a very complicated pregnancy. It was attributed to her young age and a body that just wasn’t ready to handle the strain of pregnancy.  Teen pregnancy is hard on a still developing body, it’s not even something you think about until it happens. At about 20 weeks she was put on complete bedrest. This was around Thanksgiving of her sophomore year. She missed the rest of the school year. She had weekly trips to the Doctor and to a High Risk Doctor, as well as, regular ultrasounds and monitoring in the labor and delivery unit at the hospital.  At 38 weeks she delivered a healthy baby girl. We agreed to have her boyfriend move in with us so that they could raise the baby together. We had a very tiny house and this made the family dynamic extremely difficult.  But the hardest part was parenting my daughter who was now a parent herself. The normal feeling for someone with that level responsibility would suggest that she should be in more control over her own life, but she was just 15. There were still rules and expectations. She and her boyfriend would have loved to have moved out and lived on their own, but I would not have been supportive of that. They were just too young.  He went back to school and finished out the school year. He picked up a part-time job and for a while things were ok. The stress level rose as she became defiant to the house rules as did her boyfriend, how do you parent your own child who is a parent, let alone “parent” a child who is not your own, but living in your house?  My daughter did not ask for much in caring for her daughter.  I never woke up in the middle of the night, I babysat her once in her first 6months of life and I just got to enjoy being a grandparent and snuggle and kiss the little bundle of joy.  By 6 months after the baby’s birth, my daughter and her boyfriend succumbed to the stress and pressure of young parenthood and broke up. They agreed split time with baby going back and forth, which was extremely devastating to my daughter. She was again a statistic of teen pregnancy, parents who don’t stay together.

She returned to school that fall so she was essentially a single parent with homework. I did not push her to get a job because I felt she had enough on her plate, but she decided to take a course through the schools vocational department that would train her to be a CNA (Certified Nurse’s Assistant) she would get a valid certification that would then allow her to work in this field. After doing rotations at several assisted living facilities and the local hospital she was offered a job at one of the facilities. She was now able to provide an income for her daughter. We did watch the baby while she worked and she had daycare during the day when she was in school, but that was all we did for her.  She did all the feeding, changing, bathing and other baby care needed.  She defied the stereotype of teenage moms that never graduate and end up struggling. She graduated on time with her class, with her CNA certificate and a job already. I have to say I don’t think I could have done it and I am so proud of all she accomplished.

As my granddaughter grew and became more mobile first crawling and then walking it was hard not to parent over my daughter. I was perfectly able to have had a baby of that age myself and because my own daughter was so young it almost felt at times like her baby was my baby. I tried very hard not to tell her what to do in respect to raising her daughter. I did offer advice and support when I could. I tried to respect the fact that my daughter wanted to be independent but I did have to enforce the “as long as you live in my house, you will follow my rules” rule. There were times when we would argue and fight over that. Of course she would say she couldn’t wait until she could move out. 

Days before my daughters 18th birthday her father and I were divorced. She moved in with me and spent little time with her Dad. It gave her a little more independence than what she had before and now at 18 I agreed that it was time that I loosen the reigns, but it was still a situation of her living under my roof “my rules”. Our relationship improved with less push back from both of us. She certainly proved she could take care of herself and her daughter. When I eventually moved out to move in with my new husband she stayed in my apartment for another 10 months until the lease ran out. She finally got to be her own person.

She continues to split time with her daughter’s father and my sweet grandbaby will be turning 6 this Saturday. She met a wonderful young man who she married this past fall after 3 years of dating. She has had two more pregnancies, one resulting in a fetal demise at 19 weeks. That was an extremely difficult time for them and they grieve the loss of their little girl daily. The second pregnancy resulted in my now 2 year old granddaughter.  Her husband is supportive of her being a stay-at-home Mom and takes great care of all of our girls. We couldn’t be happier. So at 21 she is the mother of a 2 and 6 year old. She swears she is the youngest mother in her daughters Kindergarten class. She certainly gets looks when people realize she is only 21, but she doesn’t let that get to her. Yes, she had a teen pregnancy, but she’s not ashamed of that.

My daughter may be 21, but I still see my little girl. I have had to move on to a new type of relationship with her, one where I offer my advice or opinions but know that she is going to take it or leave it. She is an adult and the choice is her own.  Overall, she has done very well for herself and grows more every day. I am so proud of the woman and mother she is.

We survived teen pregnancy, and I survived Parenting a Child who is a Parent. I certainly didn’t plan to be a grandmother at 40, but the bonus is that I will hopefully get to enjoy many years with my grandchildren and potentially be able to enjoy great-grandchildren.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It showed me that my daughter is strong, determined and extremely capable and it showed me that I am too. You can survive through teen pregnancy, so can your child. It is much easier if you support them, make the accountable for themselves and their child, but still be their parent and a good example.  My Blended Life makes me a very Happy Wife and Grandmother.

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  1. Michelle says:

    What a beautiful refelction of your journey into grandparenthood and your daughters journey into motherhood.

    It is so beautiful that you were abloe to be so supportive of her through that time and that you have a beautiful relationship now.

    1. admin says:

      Thank you so much.  It was definately challenging at times, but there was no way I couldnt be there for her.  I am so incredibly proud of her. 

  2. Maria says:

    Loved this! You know I was 20 by the time I got pregnant and people still felt like I was too young. I almost felt like they pushed me in the same bracket as teenage pregnancy. But the thing is just like your daughters triumphant story, the same happened to me. I just didn't have the same loving mother as you to be supportive enough when I needed someone. Thank you for being such an amazing mom. It couldn't have been easy..but your love for her was greater than anything else. ?

    1. admin says:

      Thank you so much Maria for your sweet comment.  It was definately hard at times, but I knew as her Mom I had to be there for her.  Im so very proud of her

  3. Wow, what a beautiful story.I am 32 years old and still not ready to take on the role of a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love children and do want to start a family . . . one day.
    This was a massive step for your daughter to take at 15 years old. You must be so proud of her that she took to being a mother so well.
    There has been ups and downs but you have all got through it as a family.
    Such a lovely post. Thanks for sharing your difficult and wonderful time.

    1. admin says:

      I am beyond proud. The love she has for her girls shows in her eyes and her smile. Sometimes I look back and wonder how we did it, but we did and we are better for it 🙂

  4. Alexandra says:

    Isn’t it true that life’s most traumatic events end up being the things that work for our good – strengthening our character like nothing else possibly could?
    I really appreciated your candor that trying to be more of a friend than a parent to your child was a “fail”. I hope other moms walking through the challenging teenage years will read that and have their resolve strengthened to keep setting the necessary boundaries. There’s nothing like counsel from someone who’s learned that lesson the hard way!
    I join you in your admiration of your daughter’s hard work to provide for her little one. And I’m sure that sweet little grand is a delight to your heart. Blessings on the three generations of you. ❤️

    1. admin says:

      Thank you for you sweet comment. I am indeed proud of my daughter and granddaughter and although it is not what I would have planned for my daughter it truly has been a blessing for us

  5. You did everything you could. My mother was a helicopter parent. My father was a womanizer and a “cool” parent who didn’t care what I did, except with boys. I ended up with a 21 year old boyfriend at 16 years old. I think I would have realized that the relationship was not right for me if I had been given more freedom and friendship. Instead, it took me going off to college to learn that I was only in that relationship because my parental relationships were so bad. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. admin says:

      …and thank you for sharing yours. It is amazing how differently people handle situations and how we come out of them

  6. I was 19, not 15, when I had my first baby. That’s a pretty significant difference but still pretty young. It was interesting to read the view from the other side. Hey! Maybe you can write in my series sometime!(I just started a “Tale From the Other Side series)

    Really thought provoking post.

    1. admin says:

      Thank you Elizabeth. 19 is tough too I’m sure and I know you had another extremely difficult situation going on at the time, so I pat you on the back with love at how you survived and made it through. It is true that there are 2 sides and 2 views on how everything happens. I would love to write in your series, just let me know when 🙂

  7. Hannah says:

    Gosh, what an emotional story! Thank you for sharing this. It must have been such a rollercoaster. But it sounds like your daughter is truly lucky to have such a suportive mummy!

    1. admin says:

      It was a rollercoaster for sure 🙂 But, it was worth every twist and turn. Thank you for your sweet comment.

  8. Caitlin says:

    I loved reading your story. Although I wasn’t a teen mom, I still consider 26 to be young (when I had my son) and now that I have two babies my mom and I are even closer. She adores being a grandma and it’s nice to bond over my kids now. Although there are disagreements between us sometimes, our relationship has grown stronger through our love for my kids.

    1. admin says:

      Thank you for your kind comment. I was 25 and I felt young then. I think the Mother/Daughter relationship is one of the most cherished 🙂

  9. Belle says:

    This is such an amazing story! I loved how your daughter managed all the challenges that came with teen pregnancy and so happy that everything turned out really well.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    1. admin says:

      She did such as great job. So much better than I would have. I am extremely proud of her. Thank you so much for your sweet comments

  10. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal and touching story. I am sure it was tough to get through but it is so nice to hear how everything worked out.

    1. admin says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comment

  11. What an amazing story to share. I a man sure it will help many more mom’s and daughters as they go through similar situations! Thanks for sharing.

    1. admin says:

      thank you so much

  12. Vanessa says:

    That was such an amazing story. Thank you for sharing something so personal. It sounds like you and your daughter are in a great place with your relationship.

    1. admin says:

      thank you for your kind comment. We are, we have a truly amazing relationship

  13. Faye says:

    My goodness, I was glued to this post! I am very happy to hear how well your daughter managed and how well it turned out. Maybe you could have been less of a friend and more of a parent, but it sounds like you did it well for her to have coped so admirably 🙂

    1. admin says:

      Thank you so very much. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I am always nervous when I hit the publish button. I think we did pretty good with everything we faced. She certainly broke through the stereotypes of teenage moms and I’m so proud of that

  14. Jojo says:

    This was BEAUTIFUL. I had my daughter at 19 years old, my second year in college, and I understand the “look”, I’m 26 years old and my daughter is 6, and I still get that look.
    It’s nice to hear about teen pregnancy from the parents perspective. But your daughter and I ate very blessed, because although my mom was devastated, she was still there for me throughout the whole process!
    This past was perfect, thank you so much for being honest.

    1. admin says:

      Your comment is beyond amazing. Thank you for sharing your situation with me. My feeling was I could be mad and fight with her for getting pregnant, but what good would that have done. She needed my support, but she needed to understand it was her responsibility. I had a friend who bet me $50 that I would end up taking care of the baby. I won that bet because I didn’t. Congratulations to you, you sound like an awesome Mom and so does your Mom

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