Your girlfriend is pregnant, and you have to tell your parents.
It is important to include your family members in the biggest event in your life. How can they support you if they don’t know what’s going on? That doesn’t mean telling them is comfortable or painless. You might be dreading your parents' initial reaction. It’s easy to feel unprepared to break the news, but you’re reading this article which shows initiative! Use these tips (with examples!) as you prepare to tell your parents.
Don’t go through this time alone. The first thing you need to do is seek support. It’s important to prepare yourself for your parents' reaction. There are plenty of resources available for you.
Find a close friend you’re on good terms with to talk to. Ask them to keep this unplanned pregnancy a surprise until you communicate with your family. If your privacy settings are strong, reach out on social media to find support groups to join. Remember you’re not the only one going through this. Unintended pregnancies represent 40% of all pregnancies in the United States (1).
If you feel uncomfortable reaching out on social media, confide in staff at your local pregnancy resource center. Scratching off lottery tickets isn’t the right way to provide for your family. Pregnancy centers will help you access financial programs. They also have programs in place that will help you find good jobs. Reassuring your parents with your intention to support your girlfriend and child will help gain their support (2).
Gathering resources is an important step in presenting yourself as a capable father. Taking responsibility for your family will help your parents become more receptive to your situation.
Check out our article about how to respond to your girlfriend’s pregnancy.
You’re going to need to decide your next steps with your girlfriend. To prepare, educate yourself about your pregnancy options. This way you’ll have answers to your parents’ questions. They may ask:
- How far along is your girlfriend, and when is she due?
- Are you going to keep the baby?
- If you are, how can you afford child support?
- Are you planning to put the baby up for adoption?
Discuss these questions with your girlfriend before you tell your parents. This way, you will be prepared with answers. You need to present your big news in a way that shows you’ve been thinking about your future (3).
Do these questions bring up more questions?
Learn about parenting, adoption and abortion from Pearson Place.
Everything is confidential at Pearson Place. There are plenty of other resources at the center for you to use, as well. With the help of the center’s prenatal care, you will have medical advice that will help your girlfriend.
You need to be in a calm headspace before you are able to speak with your parents (4). Telling them is the right thing to do. But you need to wait for the right time to break the news, which is not while you are still panicking about the positive pregnancy test. Consider these questions when deciding the right time to tell your parents:
- When are they most likely to be in a good mood?
- When are you typically the most relaxed?
- Do you have a good relationship with an older sibling? It may be a good idea to involve them in determining a good time and method for delivering the news.
The timing of your conversation is important. Dropping the big news during a family game night is probably not the best thing to do. A relaxed atmosphere will help create a more supportive environment. Decide beforehand if you are going to have your girlfriend present for the conversation. This could change the dynamic of the exchange. Having your girlfriend present for the conversation is ideal. This shows that you’re both willing to take responsibility for the situation.
Another thing to consider is the other parental figures in both your lives. Has she told her parents yet? Waiting too long to break the news to your parents could cause unnecessary friction.
You should also decide when you intend to break the news to your grandparents. You may want to wait to tell them until after you initially tell your parents. This leaves room for your parents to process their emotions. Be sure to tell your parents you’d prefer to tell your grandparents yourself. That will keep your parents from spreading the news before you’re ready.
There are millions of articles about fun and creative ways to break the pregnancy news to parents. But, if you’re younger, especially under eighteen years old, your situation is a little different than that of an established couple. Because of your set of circumstances, you need to present yourself as a prepared adult. This will help create a supportive environment for you to present the news. So put away those funny pregnancy announcements and prepare to break the news the right way.
This is going to be hard, but you need to tell them in person. Shooting off a quick text may seem easier. However, you can’t control the environment your parents read the text in. If telling them in person isn’t an option, video-calling is the next best thing.
Take a deep breath before you tell your parents about your girlfriend’s unplanned pregnancy. You have to present yourself in a calm manner, even as your parents’ emotions rise and fall. Be prepared for their shock, and take a break from the conversation if you need to.
Consider preparing and practicing a script. This helps you clarify key points to discuss with your girlfriend before you have the big conversation. Approach your parents in as relaxed a manner as possible. Talk to them during the time you planned.
Use a Setup Phrase + The Facts + Your Plans.
The Setup asks your parents to listen. Also, it allows you to signal if you want advice. (Even if you just want them to listen and support you, they might express their care and concern by telling you what to do.)
The Facts are your situation. You’ve just gotta tell them.
Your Plans start to answer your parent’s questions.
- “Can I talk to you guys? I have something I need to tell you. I got my girlfriend pregnant. We want to keep the baby, and I'm already looking for a job.”
- “Mom, can we sit down and talk? Something big has happened and I need your help and advice. [Girlfriend's name] is going to have a baby in September. We are still weighing our options, but we learned the local pregnancy resource center has baby supplies, financial resources and more.”
- “Grandma, I have something important I need to tell you, and I need you to hear me out. I was irresponsible, but now I want to make it right. I accidentally got my girlfriend pregnant. We're both young, so we feel placing the baby for adoption is the best option.”
Imagine what relief you’ll feel! Afterwards, give your parents space to process the news. If they’re super quiet, let it rest then pick another good time to talk again. However, be sure to tell them how they can support you. This gives them an opportunity to be there for you through this difficult time.
Telling your parents your girlfriend is pregnant is not going to be easy. But it will be worth it. The guidance of your family through this process will make a world of difference. But the first step to achieving their support is to break the news. Speak to them with a plan, at the right time, with a calm demeanor. Everything is going to be okay. Good luck!
Need help finding support?
View our article “HELP! Unplanned Pregnancy Support for Fathers”
1. Sawhill, Isabel V., and Guyot, Katherine. (2019, June 24). Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy: Lessons from the States. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/research/preventing-unplanned-pregnancy-lessons-from-the-states/
2. First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center. Making a Decision. https://www.firstchoiceprc.org/deciding
3. TAC Admin. (2022, March 1). How to Tell Your Parents That You are Pregnant at 16. Texas Adoption Center. https://www.texasadoptioncenter.org/blog/how-to-tell-your-parents-that-you-are-pregnant-at-16/
4. Devani, Michelle. How to Tell Your Mother Your Girlfriend is Pregnant. Love Devani. https://lovedevani.com/how-to-tell-your-mother-your-girlfriend-is-pregnant