L.M. asks from Highlands, NC on May 03, 2011
Coping with 17 Year Old That Is Pregnant and Moved Out of State with Her Father.
I am a single parent of 3 children (17, 14 and 12). My 17 year old daughter is pregnant and has moved out of state to live with her father. I am heartbroken. Her baby is due Sept. 2011. I spoke with a counselor at our local pregnancy center and they suggested that I tell my daughter that I could not support a baby. I told my daughter that if she decided to keep the baby she would have to move and live with her dad and step mom as I could not financially support a baby and it would not be fair to her siblings or me to take on the responsibility. She has been gone for 2 months and I feel I made a mistake. Her dad and step mom say this is all my fault. I feel very guilty and need some direction. I told my daughter that I just am not in a situation where I can support a baby. I do not want her to feel that I sent her away but feel she does. Any suggestions on what I should do other than continue to tell her I love her.
So What Happened?™
Thanks to all who responded to my question. I might need to add that my daughter chose to move out of state with her dad. He called me on Monday and came and got her on Friday. I encouraged her to stay and finish the school year. Me and my other 2 children didnt have time to process what was going on before she left. My 12 year old didnt even know her sister was pregnant as my 17 would not tell her. I have read all the post and have retained some useful information. As much as I would love to tell her to come home I feel she probably needs to stay with her dad and step mom as they have the financial means to support her where I do not. My other concern is my daughter being back in the same town with the babies father. He is bi polar and has a bad reputation in our town as a player and unfortunately sleeps around with a lot of young girls and has moved on. My daughter was provided with birth control and she chose not
to take it and ended up pregnant . I think she felt this would trap this guy . I think she feels if she moves back they ca be a happy little family. Dont get me wrong about this guy, its not that I dont like him I just feel he will not be there for her and with him being bi polar I fear for her safety. I am afraid of what he is capable of doing.tI/ I will continue to give her words of love and encouragement but until she has a plan it may be best for her to stay with her dad.
thank you all again for your suggestions and concern.
M.R. answers from Chicago on May 03, 2011
I don't know, I think you did the right thing. You probably, in your heart, know that you cannot support another child both financially and emotionally. She made the decision to be sexually active and as a result became pregnant which means she now has to grow up and be a big girl and take responsibility for the choices she made, which include financially and emotionally supporting her child. She has made the choice to keep her baby - you weren't telling her she had to get an abortion; you told her that if she made the decision to keep the baby that you were unable to support it.
Her dad and her step mom are saying this is all your fault because they are the ones who are now providing her the free ride and they're resenting it. Her issue has now become their issue, too and their life, free of your daughter's impending pregnancy up until now, is something they have to deal with.
Continue to tell her that you love her as you've been doing. But, remember that your two other children need you, too. I don't think you've done anything wrong. *She* is the one who made the decision to be sexually active and put herself at risk for unmarried, teenage pregnancy. *She* is on the one who made the decision to keep the baby, knowing that you would not be able to support another child in the house. *She* is making choices that have benefits and consequences, so she is the one who will have to live with them.
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D.B. answers from Charlotte on May 04, 2011
L., your daughter is almost an adult. She made this mistake on her own, getting herself pregnant. She needs to woman up to her responsibility. That means that she works out whatever situation she needs to work out to take care of the baby.
You are not able to support this additional child. You are not supposed to have to do it. You did not send her away. She has choices, L.. She could give the baby up for adoption to a loving family who cannot have their own children. She can go live with her father and step-mom who hopefully will require her to take care of her own child and not coddle her.
Just keep the communication lines open. Tell her you love her, but she made a decision that just doesn't work for your household. Your other children come first. She has to grow up fast now into adulthood - don't let her make you feel guilty for HER mistake. Make her be responsible for it. That is all you can do.
By the way, your ex and his wife are blaming you because THEY don't want her with them either, and it's very easy to blame you instead of her. Ignore them. You aren't married anymore to that guy, and his opinion doesn't matter. (He's a jerk, by the way.) That "nagging feeling" you have is because your family is trying to manipulate you into taking over this problem. You, the single mom with kids still at home, and them, married with a home and the wherewithal to handle this. And that man is HER FATHER, not some stranger. Where does the "playbook" say that only the mother should be responsible for this? Why can't the father? It's his turn to step up. I totally disagree with the idea that your nagging feeling is God telling you that you are wrong, as one poster suggested.
The other thing to remember is that your other children will be watching this scenario play out with their sister. Undoubtedly you have taught them about the birds and the bees - the last thing you want is for them to think it is okay and fine to get pregnant as a teen because they see you doing everything for your daughter, including supporting a baby she wasn't supposed to have. That's another good reason for her to stay with her father, so that your kids are learning the lesson that if they have sex before they grow up, there are consequences, which include having to grow up and leave home.
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Y.W. answers from Athens on May 04, 2011
I know you must feel guilty that your daughter had to move in with her dad because of the pregancy. If the truth is, that you can not support a baby, than that is it. It is prefectly OK for her dad to step in and help. It is his daughter too. You can help and support her by giving her advice if that is all you have to give.
Just let her know that you meant her no harm, you just don't have the resorces to care for her child. This is something she should have thought about before she decided to keep it. If she and the baby's father don't have the money to a baby, they need to start getting a plan. You had to when you had her and so does every other parent. She needs to grow up now since she will be a mother soon.
Her baby isn't your responsiblity. Should you decide to do what you can, that is YOUR choice. Don't feel quilty because you can't. Her dad seems to have the means to help her.
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M.P. answers from Portland on May 03, 2011
sounds like that you told her what to do instead of talking with her about possible solutions. You did send her away.
Now, I'd tell her that you feel that you made a mistake and that you'd welcome her to come back home, if that is what you're feeling. Tell her that you will try to find a way to make that happen.
What are your options besides her living with her father? There is state aid. Can the babies father/family pay child support? She could go to work. Why couldn't her father help his daughter financially while she lives with you?
It may not be possible to have her at home. What is important is letting her know that you'd like her to live it home IF it were possible.
Or are you asking how to rebuild a loving relationship with her so that she doesn't feel that you sent her away and thus you don't love her. I'd start by telling her that you realize that you did send her away and you would do it differently if you could do it over. Apologize sincerely and with warmth.
How could you have done it differently? First, you could've told her that you cannot support a baby but would still like to figure out a way so that could still stay with you. Explore options. Find and talk with resources in your community. Then if there was no way to make it work suggest she could live with her father. Then let her be the one to decide. Lead her in such a way that she's involved in the decision.
Then let her decide, based on the reality of the situation which includes other resources where she's going to live.
Her father and step-mother say it's all your fault? What is your fault? That you're estranged from you daughter? Yes, you are estranged because of the way you handled this. Sounds like you didn't give her choices. You told her what to do.
I suggest that it's nearly always possible to pay for family necessities. I'm guessing she feels that having enough money is more important to you then taking care of her and her baby. That you didn't look past the financial issue. She'd like to hear you say, even tho I don't know how we'll do it, we will find a way.
At this point, all you can do is openly tell her that you're sorry and that you very much love her and want to be involved with her and her baby, your grandchild. Then show an interest in what is happening with her. Make frequent phone calls, e-mail or snail mail. Be understanding of her pain. Sympathize with her. Admit you hurt her tho that wasn't your intent. And don't try to talk her out of the way she feels. Don't defend yourself. Be calm, warm and loving.
Expect that it may take a long time for her to come around. Don't give up. Keep in telling her you love her and will help in any way that you can.
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G.T. answers from Modesto on May 03, 2011
Did you send her away because you were pissed off or did you send her away because her dad is financially set to help her raise the baby?
I would think that you and her dad and smom need to talk to each other so you are all on the same page as to what is best for your daughter and the grandchild.
It sounds like you kinda freaked out and sent her away because you were to frustrated and NOW you are calmer and probably realize your daughter should be with you and you should be helping her learn how to rear a baby? Sometimes we make decisions too quickly especially when they are life changing circumstances involved. If you sent your daughter to your ex to punish him for your daughter getting pregnant, you definitely all could use some group counseling so your daughter feels safe and secure after the baby is born. You have 4 short months to get the train back on the right track. Surely your daughter could apply for public assistance for the baby, finish school and such couldnt she?
You might want to apologize and try to explain that your own motherly hormones went a little crazy because this was an unexpected surprise. You don't want this baby to be born with the adjective "burden" attached to him/her, the baby doesnt deserve that.
You say you feel that your daughter thinks you sent her away, if your daughter hasnt said anything to that affect, I think your own guilt is getting to you. You either decide to adjust your budget and time to make room for your daughter and her baby or you allow dad and stepmom to be the ones your daughter is going to rely on. She needs to feel wanted in both homes, not banished or shamed from either.
I hope you can fix it.
I'm pretty sure you can if you try.
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S.W. answers from Amarillo on May 04, 2011
Sometimes we do and say things in the heat of the moment. But if your finances are strapped as you say, you did the right thing. She does have a dad that she should know even though the timing might be off. She made the decision and now has to live with the consequences. Babies change many dynamics in family life.
You have two other children at home that need you and our your main responsibility.
Yes life does suck now and then but we all learn from it. Helping a person is one thing but bringing up another child is another. You are almost through parenting only to be brought back into when your life should be free to do somethings that you have waited to do.
Sorry to all the folks that want you bring her back into the fold. If she can do this and come home she will have to live in her own place and do all of the raising of the child and not have her siblings be responsible in any way. This is why many older moms say I have raised my kids and I am not raising yours.
Don't ever feel guilty about the decisions you make. In time you will see that you were right to do what you had to do. Call and talk with her and love her from afar if necessary but just let her know that is still loved.
Good luck to you and your emotional and financial health.
The other S.
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A.A. answers from Philadelphia on May 03, 2011
Dear L., reach out to her in any way possible- yes, I am sure that financially you cannot deal with this, it is a lot to ask of you. In the end, it will all work out and your daughter needs you- true, it is not fair for her siblings, but they must understand you would do the same for them. Life is too short, years from now, you will all be together as family. I wish you the best!!!
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B.Z. answers from Minneapolis on May 04, 2011
I don't know about sending her away. She made a mistake and it is what it is. I understand the "tough love" thing, I have two daughters myself, but really if you are feeling like it is wrong then it probably is. I don't know your daughter and don't know whether she is easygoing 17 year old or really rebellious still. I think if she can be talked to and will actually listen sit her down and tell her what you need to say. She probably is very scared right now, even if she doesn't show it. I don't know about having her live with you, it can be a nightmare to have a teen trying to raise a baby and living with you. I wish you the best of luck. What I do know is I would try to not burn any bridges with her.
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