Guest Post by Tricia Goyer
When I was 17-years-old I found myself pregnant. It was a second pregnancy actually. The first ended in abortion when I was just fifteen-years-old. Making the decision to have the abortion is something I regret. It left a hole in my heart, as many women who have had abortions have experienced. It's no surprise that I kept looking for something to fill that hole and I found myself pregnant again.
Then, during my pregnancy, something happened that I didn't expect. My mom and grandma's Bible study group reached out to me. They invited me to the Bible study and they gave me a baby shower. During a time when I was dumped by my boyfriend and abandoned by friends, they were there.
Many people believe that what teen moms need is a wake up call. They think they need tough love and since they got into this situation they must handle their problems on their own. But that's seldom the most redemptive approach.
1. Respect—When a young woman becomes pregnant, she is often disrespected by friends, family, and strangers. She deserves respect for choosing to have her child, whatever mistakes she has made. She also needs respect for all she's trying to juggle. Your respect will tell a teen mom that her sacrifice is worth it!
2. Emotional support—A pregnant teen has a multitude of worries, and it doesn't help when everyone around her thinks she'd ruined her life by becoming pregnant. It's important for caring adults to spend time listening to a teen mom and offering sympathy and care. Be the person to help lift her burdens by walking alongside a young woman.
3. Space and Time—Teen mothers need time to sort through all their issues and problems. They have to make hard decisions, and these decisions can't be made overnight.
4. Grace— Let a teen mom know that she doesn't have to be perfect. EVERY mom makes mistakes. When a teen mom is given grace by others, then she can give grace to herself. This also opens up the opportunity to share the grace that God offers.
5. Perspective—Teen moms often think that because they had a child that they'll now never get the things they've dreamt about—like a good marriage, or a chance to go to college. Let a young woman know that a baby doesn't close the door on her potential. The months of pregnancy are just a tiny segment of the timeline of her life. There are still many years of becoming ahead.
Today, that baby I mentioned is a twenty-six year old man. He and his wife have two children of their own. I’m proud of the choice I made and grateful for the gifts of respect, emotional support, and perspective that impacted me for life.
Tricia Goyer is mom to ten, grandmother of two, and wife to John. A bestselling author, Tricia has published 50 books to date and has written more than 500 articles. Her recent book, Teen Mom: You’re Stronger Than You Think (Zondervan) is available from major retailers. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Connect with Tricia via her website, TriciaGoyer.com.