By Anthony Centore
How will I tell my parents? Will my boyfriend leave me? Will I have to drop out of school? What will my friends say? What will the church think? Should I have an abortion? Is abortion wrong? Will I make a good parent? What about my future? They are all common questions that are when a young girl becomes pregnant out of wedlock. She already knows that she has made a big mistake. Now she and her family need a counselors help in putting the pieces of her life back together. Over one million teenage pregnancies occur each year in the United States. Approximately 40% of the girls choose abortion, 50% choose to parent, and 10% either miscarry or choose adoption. Regardless of the choice that a young girl makes, there will be pain and loss for her as well as for her family. Consider the three specific areas where a counselor can assist: forgetting past dreams and plans, forgiving self and others, and focusing on the present need.
Forgetting Past Dreams and Plans: An adolescent girl dealing with an unplanned pregnancy must forget her past dreams and plans and set new goals for her future. If she parents her child, she will be forced to gave up things that other teens take for granted. She will sacrifice new CDs, clothe is, movies, prom, and make-up in order to save money for diapers, daycare, and formula. She may graduate later than her classmates or maybe not at all. She will be forced to get a job but may still need welfare and food stamps. Choosing to parent her child will have a significant Impact on her future. Although abortion or adoption will not have such an Immediate Impact on the girl’s life, it will completely change her future. She will feel pain and loss on her child’s birthday or the anniversary of her child’s abortion and on holidays when her child is not there. She may also have difficulty adjusting to future pregnancies and parenting. She can never go back to where she was. In order to move forward, the girls must forget past dreams and start over. Sometimes, the ones hardest hit are the family members of the pregnant teen. Parents also have to let go of past dreams for their child and realize that life will go on, but it will never be the same. A counselor can help them grieve this loss and begin to develop new dreams and realistic expectations for the future. Parents need to be encouraged to be practical but not to doubt their child’s ability to move forward and excel.
Forgiving Oneself and Others: Pregnant adolescents also need to work through forgiveness. A pregnant teen must learn to forgive herself and others. I have discovered that this is often more difficult for a girl who has been rad in the church. Not only does she have a hard time forgiving herself for making a wrong choice, she also has difficulty believing that God can forgive her. She may deal with huge amounts of guilt for making choices that are embarrassing for her, her parents, and her church. She may also feel cheapened, used (even if the boy loved her), and unworthy of redemption. It has been seven years since my pregnancy, yet sometimes I have to remind myself that because of the blood of Jesus Christ, I am worthy in Gods eyes. Scriptures such as Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 15:7, 11-32, and Psalm 103:102 were very helpful to me as I began to work through repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. Forgiveness will also be difficult for the adolescent’s family. Her parents inevitably will feel loss, anger, betrayal, and lost trust. Most likely, they will feel as though they have failed as parents. They are normal feelings. Parents need to grieve their losses and then choose to forgive as Christ forgives us for our sins. My mother grieved throughout my pregnancy. It is significant to me, however, that her love for me looked past her pain and made her strong enough to be a comfort and support to me during a very difficult time in my life.
Focusing on the Present Need: Although forgetting past dreams and finding forgiveness are essential parts of the healing process, the will be issues for months or maybe years to come. The pregnant teens most Important task is to focus on her present needs, particularly Immediate medical care. Studies show that pregnant teens receive only half the level of medical care and treatment that older women receive. The pregnant teen will have to decide whether to choose parenting, abortion, or adoption. Her counselor should be educated on all options. Many girls who choose abortion are traumatized because no one prepares them for the experience. Her counselor should share with her the different types of abortion and the risks involved, but try to discourage this option as it can be the most devastating. Since at least 50% of pregnant teens choose to parent, counselors should help their clients understand the huge responsibility of parenting. For example, by helping a client develop a detailed budget, a counselor can help a teenager become more aware of how much money it takes to a child. Lastly, counselors who deal with pregnant teens should read up on the most recent adoption laws. Open adoption is the current trend and can be the best option for a young girl and her child. Parents often want to make the final decisions for their child’s future. If the child is still very young, parents may have to decide for her. However, a counselor can encourage them to respect her feelings. If they do not allow her to be a part of the final decision, she may feel resentful and hold them responsible for the things that happen in her future. Find a therapist to get solution of your problems.
An unplanned adolescent pregnancy can be traumatic for both the adolescent and her family. They will all need to make adjustments in their lives and look toward the future in a different way. There will be pain for everyone involved for years to come. This is a crucial time for the family. A Christian counselor can help them work together to mend broken hearts and forgive one another for past failures. Working together to deal with the confusion and uncertainty will not only benefit the pregnant adolescent, it will also benefit the grieving family. It will help them as they begin to put the pieces of their lives back together.
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